On most days, we television lovers speed by commercials like highway mile markers. But on one day — on Super Bowl Sunday — we celebrate the ad. On this one day, when 30-second spots cost $3 million, we not only tolerate being sold corporate swill, we welcome it. We analyze which mega-corporation has the most entertaining spot and we honor the Madison Avenue mad men who put the ads together.
As for best and worst, it’s a completely subjective exercise. Some people love talking dogs and crotch shots. I’m not one of them. But far be it from me to yuck your yum. Below I’ll list my top five and bottom five Super Bowl commercials of 2011. Agree, disagree, plead the 5th. I’m good with wherever you stand. Hey, if we all had the exact same taste, there would only be one flavor of Four Loko.
So here we go. If anyone knows how to make a spot in 30 seconds or less, it’s this guy. Hold on kids. It’s time to honor capitalism with Part 1 of my one-part annual series:
Lee Russakoff’s Best and Worst Super Bowl Ads
(Editor’s Note: I’m disqualifying Xfinity’s iPad App spot for obvious conflict of interest reasons.)
1. Volkswagen: The Force
A good commercial makes you laugh and tugs a little at your heartstrings. Lil’ Vader was the star of the night for me. Sure, Aaron Rodgers was pretty good, but the Packers QB doesn’t know the power of the dark side.
2. Audi: Release the Hounds
Something about Kenny G being self-aware enough to make fun of himself and his music makes me smile.
3. Doritos: The Best Part
See? I’m not all high-brow. I like man-on-man finger sucking as much as the next red-blooded American. Mmmmmm. Cheese.
4. Bridgestone: Reply All
Why do they put the “Reply” button and the “Reply All” button so close together? It’s a conspiracy.
5. Teleflora: Nice Rack
Faith Hill knows what’s truly at the bottom of a man’s heart. Or, well, she does now.
1. Bud Light: Dog Sitter
Oh, those silly smart dogs. They spin records, they wait tables, they do dishes … if only they made me laugh. What’s shocking to me is this tied for the top spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter. It’s the end of the world folks. Get out while you can.
2. Budweiser: Wild West
Nothing says American beer like Gaear from Fargo singing “Tiny Dancer” in a western saloon. Whoever ideated this one needs a demotion. Whoever casted it needs to find a new line of work.
3. Go Daddy: New Go Daddy Girl
Go Daddy knew it’s schtick was getting old. So it changed it up with Joan Rivers. Unfortunately, no one alive today is rushing to a website to learn more about Joan Rivers. That still leaves the deceased market though.
4. Best Buy: Ozzie vs. Bieber
There were so many places to go with this pairing. To just make fun of Ozzy’s age and underutilize Bieber’s charisma was such a waste. Star power does not automatically equal ad power. You still gotta bring the funny.
5. HomeAway: Smush
I’m sorry. But test baby or not, smashing an infant against a glass wall is not as hilarious as you might think.