If you told me last week that my favorite Super Bowl ads would come from a luxury automobile that I don't plan on ever owning and a brick-and-mortar store that I haven't set foot in since the 1990s, I would have called you crazy, right before I ate a bowl of queso made from Velveeta and RoTel.
No one brand really stood out in my mind this year. It's a combination of both the quality of the ads and the fact that a simple visit to YouTube the week before the big game offered armchair ad critics at least half of the ads in advance.
For the first time, a Super Bowl ad drove me to the Internet. All those years of GoDaddy postings too hot for TV versions of their ads never motivated me to jump online. Not even adorable Coca-Cola polar bears piqued my interest. But a U2 ad offering a free song download -- and with each free download, Bank of America would donate money to this year's (Red) campaign? I'm in.
Just because there's a big-name celebrity in your ad doesn't mean it will be a hit. I'm talking to you, Bud Light, Ford Fusion, Honda and Kia.
M&M wins the award for having a better Super Bowl teaser than Super Bowl ad.
Budweiser continues to churn out wonderfully emotional ads that involve Clydesdales, puppies and happy military homecomings.
And I was pleasantly surprised by Chevy Silverado's ad for its 2015 truck that focused more on the romantic life of one lucky bull than it did the vehicle itself. The young stud and his prospective sweethearts size each other up to the tune of Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing," which didn't hurt either.
I enjoyed the ad for Maserati Ghibli, with its David vs. Goliath imagery, coupled with the pint-sized Quvenzhane Wallis talking about keeping her head down, working hard and waiting for the giants to fall asleep, then coming out of the dark to attack. "We have prepared. Now we strike," closes the ad. Not the attitude I would expect from an expensive luxury car manufacturer that's undoubtedly targeting a niche audience. But I like it.
Nostalgia has a way of resonating with everyone, and that's why Radio Shack was my favorite ad. The brand had no problem poking fun at itself as a store employee takes a phone call. It's the 1980s, and they want their store back. That's when all '80s breaks loose: Loverboy is playing on the sound system, as Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Erik Estrada, "Cheers"' Cliff Clavin, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Mary Lou Retton, Kid n Play, Alf, Chuckie and the California Raisins ransack the store to make room for modern-day products.
Radio Shack wasn't the only brand to get all nostalgic on us. Oikos reunited the actors from "Full House," CarMax featured a cameo by Sean Astin as "Rudy," and Quiet Riot's "Come On Feel the Noise" was used in GoldieBlox's ad.