Welcome to the 2012 Super Bowl Ad Awards For The Non-Poetic! Super Bowl XLVI is in the books, the New York media is breathlessly trying to turn Eli Manning into the second coming of Tim Tebow, and it’s time to reveal our judging panel’s (me and Office Dog) favorites from this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads. Note that while everyone has their opinions of the best and worst, funniest and failures, award winners and money wasters, noteworthy and not worthy, our honors may stray wildly from the standard Super Bowl advertising award fare. Our goal is to recognize the ads that stuck, the ads that sucked, and the ads resonated with the guy or gal who watched the game first, the commercials second, and had a beer or two while actually enjoying the entire show (from the viewpoint of an advertising guy who worked Super Bowl promotions in bars for 15 years). So, without further non-poetry…
Best Spot Seen Only By Canadians Eh, Award
Canadians love their hockey (as does your faithful Non-Poet), so it’s perfectly natural that Budweiser Canada’s Super Bowl spot glorifies hockey, not football. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, adults who aren’t professionals but still want to play hockey play in “recreational leagues,” “rec leagues,” or as they’re most commonly known, “beer leagues,” in that you’re only playing for the love of the game and the beers with the guys afterwards. To my hockey loving eye, though predictable, a little heavy handed, and borderline cliché, this ad still sells the joy of spending time with friends and a couple beers far more than Clydesdales or babes in bikinis and ranks up there as one of the top ten beer ads I’ve ever seen. That I didn’t see it in an edited form during the game today (like all the others previewed on YouTube before the game) only made me appreciate the full spot more (though it still didn’t make me want to actually drink a Budweiser). h/t Greg Wyshinski/Puck Daddy
The Office Dog Honors Award
VW Dog Strikes Back
It seems dogs are the new monkeys in Super Bowl advertising and the many canine appearances in this year’s ads (I think I counted at least six) had Office Dog foaming at the mouth (it was either that or the queso dip he got into in the 3rd quarter). So, at his insistence, this award recognizes the Volkswagen Dog Strikes Back ad as the best Super Bowl spot with a dog or dogs. And, while there were plenty of dogs to choose from this year, I’m thinking Office Dog was swayed by the teaser that VW put online about two weeks before the Super Bowl…
Skechers, Go Run
The A For Execution But…Award
Chrysler Imported From Detroit
I really liked this spot but had several problems with it. I thought it tried just a little too hard, as it was in many ways a rehash of last year’s spot and I thought it sold “America” far more than it sold Chryslers. Obviously it failed in my eyes to make the connection between Detroit, Chrysler, and America. Now, had they gotten Clint Eastwood for last year’s spot instead of Eminem, we might not be having this conversation today…
The WTF Award
MetLife I Can Do This
Here’s another one where I really like the spot but, in this case, I’m not sure how it’s gonna sell life insurance. Given the cartoon overload, it would be a candidate for a Thank God For The Internet Award, so one could try to catch all the cartoon characters but, otherwise this spot was far more nostalgic than notable. And what the hell was Daphne doing getting out of a limo when Scooby, Shaggy, and the Mystery Machine had already arrived on the scene?
The Hell Yeah! Award
Audi Vampire Party
This is the one that scored big with every man who’s seen his wife sucked into the 14-year old girl vampire lit/TV show/movie trend. Honestly, what man in the above category (including your faithful Non-Poet) didn’t say “Hell yeah!” seeing all the vampires vaporized? I don’t think it will sell Audis (especially since very few people buy a car for its headlights) and the fact that it ran in the first quarter meant it was lost in the shuffle however, it certainly got the attention of the gals and ultimately scored with the guys. The soundtrack by Echo and The Bunnymen and the hashtag at the end were nice touches too.
Please, For The Love of God, Go Away Award
We have our first three-time winner! Congrats go once again to GoDaddy.com for airing sleazy, condescendingly sexist spots that use titillating imagery and the lure of x-rated content on the web in the name of selling web hosting. You’d think after a year of generally bad publicity, a flip-flop on supporting the controversial SOPA legislation and record numbers of lost domains, the Wal-Mart of web hosts might actually try a new approach. But no, they continued down the same tired path that grew stale within seconds after it’s first use several years ago with not one, but two spots in SB 46. And for that, GoDaddy.com becomes the first three-time Super Bowl Ad Award For The Non-Poetic winner…
The I Love Football Award
Plain and simple, I just loved this spot. Granted, I love football so this was an easy sell, but this spot was beautifully done and it definitely scored with everyone who appreciates the game like I do…
The Water Cooler Winner
While I don’t think this is the strongest concept to sell a car, I have to admit, this is the ad people will most likely be talking about at the water cooler on Monday morning. The fact that Ferris Beuller’s Day Off was/is such a touchstone movie for so many people tells me that, for whatever faults the spot may have, it resonated with enough people who hold the movie dear to generate plenty of talk and buzz well beyond the Super Bowl. That it was released online in extended form prior to the game may mute some of that buzz, but I’m sticking with my gut reaction…
Doritos, Sling Baby
So, there ya go…my take on the the ads from Super Bowl 46. Some good, some bad, some creative, some cliché. Feel free to leave your thoughts, picks, pans, favorites and failures in the comments. And, until then, when does the 2012 football season start?