The Only Day We All Talk About Ads

The Super Bowl just happened. This is really the only time of the year when we all collectively talk, however briefly, about commercials. So let’s get to that task. Here are my quick thoughts after watching the game and all of its advertising extravagance.

Best Overall Ad: Google, "Parisian Love." Google is an outsider to TV advertising, but they showed everyone else how it’s done with this beautiful ad. It was simple, told a great story, and reinforced why Google is probably the most important brand of my generation. We literally live our lives by it.

Worst Overall Ad: Anything by GoDaddy.com. I almost regret that I have registered domain names with them.

Most Needlessly Controversial Ad: Tebow/Focus on the Family. There was no mention of abortion, pro-life, or anything remotely controversial (unless you think “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.” is an offensive sentiment).

Worst Attempt to Capitalize on Zeitgeist: Bud Lightautotune / T-Pain spot. But a close second goes to the Bridgestone “Now that was a bachelor party” ad with the whale, which clearly originated from some suggestion to “Do something Hangover-esque. That movie was HUGE!”

Best Movie Trailer: Shutter Island or Robin Hood.

Worst Movie Trailer: Alice in Wonderland or that horrible M. Night Shyamalan kids movie.

Best Ad for a Product I’ve Never Heard of: Flo TV – “My Generation.” I loved this ad. Utilized a song by The Who, tons of great archival footage, and made a good point: Live TV can be unforgettable and no one wants to miss out on the “Where were you then?” type moments. So get a mobile TV!

Worst Ad for CBS Show: That NCIS head slapping one.

Best (i.e. the Only Good) Ad for CBS Show: TheDave Letterman / Oprah / Leno spot.

Best Car Ad: Audi – “Green Police.” Mainly for how well it knows the Super Bowl audience (largely skeptical of the overzealous “green” proponents), while staying true to the Audi brand (yuppie, clean, eco-friendly).

Most Unexpected Ad: The Best in Show actors doing an ad for the Census Bureau.

Best Attempt to Capture the Sentiment of the Iconic Late 90s Monster.com ad “When I Grow Up”: Cars.com – “Timothy Richman.”

Worst Micro-Trend: Pantless men. As seen in the back-to-back Careerbuilder and Dockers ads.

Best Micro-Trend: Indie bands lending music to ads. It’s ok to sell out! I hope Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear pocketed plenty of money for their respective ads (NFL and VW).

Best Use of Zoom: Dodge Charger – “Man’s Last Stand.” (0:30-0:47). They also get points for the “Vampire TV Shows” line. Brilliant.