Super Bowl Ads Post-Mortem: Chrysler and Volkswagen Drive Away On Top
They say everyone's an ad critic, especially when it comes to Super Bowl ads. This morning, I checked USA Today's Ad Meter, mainly because it's part of my job. I long ago gave up on the meter as a proper representation of what most viewers like and dislike.
Bud Light's "Dog Sitter" was number 1 overall? This was by far my least favorite Bud commercial. I thought "Hack Job" and "Wild West" were much funnier. Even "Product Placement" was better, but, then again, I work in the industry and might find this more amusing than others, so I won't count it.
This, I can overlook. What really put me over the edge was seeing my favorite ad of the evening ranked #44 out of 61, bested even by Groupon. Groupon, people.
Chrysler blew me away with "Born of Fire," a two-minute ad promoting the Chrysler 200 and the city of Detroit. For starters, a 120-second Super Bowl ad is a first -- and, if you do the math, not cheap, either. I'm getting emotional thinking about it, from the factory skyline, beautiful and rundown buildings, the powerful voiceover, the beginning beat of Eminem's "Lose Yourself," the choir singing, realizing that Detroit resident Eminem himself is driving the Chrysler shown in the ad, up until he joins the choir onstage, saying: "This is the Motor City. And this is what we do." My favorite line from the voiceover: "This isn't New York City, or the windy city, or sin city, and we're certainly no one's emerald city."
Anyone who's ever had to overcome any obstacle in life can't help but relate and gravitate towards this ad. Kudos, Wieden+Kennedy.
It also redeemed Eminem in my eyes. Did you see his claymation-self shill for Brisk iced tea?
Audi did a great job with "Release the Hounds," and who didn't love watching the re-captured criminal get serenaded by Kenny G? The ad also touched upon the idea of redefining luxury, as did Chrysler's spot.
How can I go this far without mentioning my second favorite ad, Volkswagen's "The Force"? You can feel this kid's emotion, despite never seeing his face. A great job by Deutsch LA.
Grey created my third favorite ad, NFL's "American Family." Classic and recent TV clips are woven together with precision. I loved that Betty White made her second Super Bowl ad appearance in as many years and Alf wore a Carolina Panthers shirt. Fans of the TV series might remember Alf's fondness for eating cats on his home planet.
I also loved a Fox ad promoting "House." Dr. House, aka Hugh Laurie, recreates Coca-Cola's famous Mean Joe Green ad from 1979. A young boy, who plays Cody on "Dexter," tells House that he's the best. House agrees. The boy offers House his churro and House replies: "My patient just died. You think a Spanish, deep fried snack is going to make things better?" Feeling guilty, House turns to offer the boy a memento: his cane, which clocks the boy square in the head.
I'm a sucker for a love story, so I thought Motorola did a great job with "Empower the People," its homage to Apple's "1984" ad.
Personally, I could go on all day. What were your best and worst Super Bowl ads?