The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the XLVII Super Bowl Commercials

February 3, 2013

Ever since getting into design, I began to look at the advertising world differently. Before I could watch TV and simply enjoy a good commercial as simply an advertisement for a product or service. Now, I can’t help but try to imagine the brainstorming, pitching and everything else that went into concepting and making an ad—trying to determine in my mind if they were successful or not based on their target audience, probable goals, etc. I imagine the agency sitting around brainstorming “the next big idea,” the lone creative that stands up and says, “You know what, I have an idea…,” the filming and production and everything else that went into the ad that I would never even think about.

There is no doubt that there is no single TV event that is better for this than the Super Bowl, where 30 second ads ran $4 million a piece. I can only imagine what Anheuser Busch, Coca-Cola and the other big hitters spent on not only the ad time, but also the production of the ads. With such great amounts of money being thrown around, it is fun to see which ones truly excel and which ones seem to fall short. Here are my thoughts from tonight’s main event, the commercials.

The Good

M&M’S “Love Ballad”
This one was early on in the game and was a classic. Definitely one of the funniest commercials of the night, in my opinion.


Taco Bell “Viva Young”
Totally unexpected. Totally awesome.


Kia Sorento “Space Babies”
Maybe I’m partial because my wife is pregnant and we just bought a Kia Sorento. Okay, I’m partial.


Jeep® “Whole Again”
This and the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial made my wife cry this year. Not sure if it was that good, but it did pull at the heart stings and a nice change of pace from many of the other commercials. Also, well played with the use of Gotham.


OREO “Whisper Fight”
Nothing special, just thought this one was pretty funny.


Prudential “Stickers”
This one was a bit different than the other commercials, which is why I thought it was so effective. It wasn’t funny or over the top, but I think it did a good job at accomplishing what it was meant to do.

Other brands that I thought did pretty well that aren’t listed above were Audi, Best Buy and Gildan.

The Bad

Budweiser “Black Crown | Celebration”
As a craft beer lover and home brewer, I am not a huge supporter of Budweiser. That said, I usually can count on a good laugh from their commercials at the Super Bowl. This year I was wholly disappointed. Not sure what angle they were going for with the two Black Crown commercials, but I don’t think it worked. Also, as a friend of mine mentioned during the game, does it bug you that they named their golden ale “Black Crown”? Really Budweiser, really?


Bud Light “Lucky Chair”
I really enjoyed the “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work” campaign this past fall, but the two commercials during the Super Bowl I thought were awful. Not nearly as good as the other ones in the campaign.


Doritos® “Fashionista Daddy”
I expected more out of Doritos. They have had some great ones in the past, but this one was just dumb.


The Ugly

Go Daddy  “Perfect Match”
As usual, Go Daddy’s commercial was pretty tasteless. I take every opportunity I can to share this: If you have a website, domain, etc. with GoDaddy—change companies. They are a terrible company for more reasons than I could list here (terrible user experience, bad support, shady marketing, supported SOPA, etc.)

Calvin Klein “Concept”
Hey guys, I have a great way to spend $4 million dollars. Get a mostly naked man and show him from all different angles for 30 seconds. Wow. Not good.

Overall, I thought the commercial crop this year was pretty good. Nothing that stood out as amazing or revolutionary, but pretty good. I would love to hear what you thought were the best!

Andrew Pautler