Super Bowl Ads – Intriguing, Appalling & Disappointing


February 7, 2011

The Super Bowl is always a frustrating experience for me. Each year I find myself in the maddening conundrum of being unable to walk away from the TV and into the kitchen to enjoy the nice spread of carb-heavy snacks – because I’m both a football fan and an ad guy. But the game, and the games between the game, must go on, so I sacrifice my living room and endure the prospect of salsa and cheese stains on the carpet (not to mention my favorite sweatshirt). Considering all this, is it so wrong of me to expect to be “wowed” by the commercials? Don’t I have a right to be thoroughly entertained, pleasantly surprised, and even have an audible chuckle invoked? So what happened this year? While the game managed to live up to the hype, I think the ads missed the grade by a mile. In fact, I give them collectively a C-minus.


E-trade needs a new shtick. The talking baby is old and boring. Please, please, please don’t insult me by thinking you can still make this concept funny. I quit listening with the baby’s first over-baked comment.

Pepsi Max could not have offended me more with their “sleep with me” spot. The “adult” nature of this silly and predictable script had me changing the channel to prevent perversion of my eight-year-old football fan. How dare they intrude on my family tradition!

Go-Daddy turned me off in an attempt at turning me on (also way too adult for a family audience). Come up with something new or get out of my Super Bowl. And please don’t disgust me with one of the most annoying B-list celebs in the book!


Volkswagen Passat Darth Vader wins the “Best Ad” award in my book – a great combination of cinematic parody, storytelling, nostalgia and endearment. This spot was a home run alignment with the whole Super Bowl audience. And how about the early release Internet and social media strategy? The 60-second version of the spot had well over 11 Million views before the game even started! Smart. Effective.

Other than a few other notables, it was a whole lot of silly, predictable, ill-humored, dingy-gray disappointment this year. Thank goodness my living room came out unscathed, otherwise I would have been really mad. – Mark