Super Bowl XLIV – Great Ads or Just Hype?

new orleans saints Super Bowl XLIV has crowned a new champion in the New Orleans Saints creating pure mayhem in the French Quarter and while Drew Brees and the gang are headed to Mardi Gras, advertisers are watching CBS head to the bank. The Super Bowl is a football game that for die hard fans is when we go into morning and resort to long naps on Sundays until September, a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate the end of a season to discuss how we’ll get em next year and watch what has been the Oscars for advertisers.

This year major advertisers in the past shied away from advertising to focus on social  media marketing efforts. Smart move?  Well, if you consider that Twitter was so overloaded that there were more failed whales than there were advertisers, I would say that the only ones to not disappoint were the Saints.  Beer, food, cars, entertainment, careers, clothing, phones, TV,  internet and a newbie (Home Away) provided a nice range of industries to give marketers a chance to pick the best from an industry and not the overall best of the best spot. Here are a few that stood out.


Snickers gets the nod here as the spot with Betty White was creative, entertaining and focused on the emotional and immediate benefits and not the love of chocolate (despite Valentines’ Day looming).


Letterman stayed under the radar and was a nice surprise.  Yes this was done before with Oprah on the same set/couch but the addition of Jay Leno added that “game on” for late night.


The spot, from a creative standpoint being excellent and also targeting the masses, was the Audi Green Police. Men, women and children can relate to the efforts to go green and they pretty much got people to think.


Google  – easily was the best here. The simplicity was sensational but yet we were wondering what will be searched for next. We followed a story that hit the emotional side to remember our first date with a spouse, for some the challenges to be together and the language barrier and how it comes together to be one and  start a family.

The GoDaddy ads were the same version of what has been.  Oooh a woman opening up her shirt to expose a GoDaddy tank.  None of the GoDaddy spots were well received as they were the same old song and dance.  Nothing new so nothing gained but a lot lost.


The most intense ad was the Michelob Light with Lance Armstrong.  The stare into the camera while riding was just enough to have an impact.  Not sure if many believe that Lance is slugging down some Michelobs while training so the association with a celebrity to a brand is probably lost here.

Doritos was unveiling the winners of their contest which for many the little boy giving the date the business about his mom and his chips seemed to hit home.  I may be biased as a single parent but nonetheless it seemed to be the best of the contest winners.

Overall, the spots were just OK.  The men in underwear was overdone and while Dove tried to put aside the manliness for good skin, the overabundance of men in underwear was kind of targeting women in that it was saying that men do not wear the pants.  Took a bit to get there but and I am not sure if everyone did.  At first it seemed like a man knows no boundaries, not even women and can do without them but the inclusion of “no pants” steers that message.

Ultimately, there was more that could have been done especially from a social  media standpoint. Sure, Neil Patrick Harris in character as Barney Stinson did attempt to involve viewers with a phone number (you want me to get up and grab my phone or switch from the app I am in??).

photo credit:

Think about if this was asking people to Tweet or sending them to a FB Fan Page, the ROI that advertisers beg for could probably have been easily measured (depending upon what they wished to accomplish). The opportunity was missed to bring in social media as whether you were on your laptop, desktop or phone to manually dial a number in 2010 during an event almost archaic whereas tweeting or posting a message to a fan page would have had us all talking.  There is hope for next year, right?

Congrats to the Saints, the fans and the entire City of New Orleans.  Mardi Gras will be never be the same.

What were your favorites?  Do you think that the game was better than the ads?

photo credit: Kyle Tsui

  • Suzanne, My favorite was the Doritos.. The little boy telling the date how it was going to play out! Gotta love kids.
    Agree on the Godaddy…Seriously they sell domains!
    Loved Betty White, thanks for showing that one, I missed it.
    I think Budweiser spent entirely too much money to get us to drink their product. I think they were taking over the ads that Pepsi would normally run!
    Kudos to Pepsi for not giving into peer pressure. I think they made a statement by not participating.

    I was at my computer the whole time sorta watching the game, and paying way too much attention to the twitter group that was formed #brandbowl. It was fun to watch the comments roll in.

  • MB

    At 3 ML for 60 sec commercial, most I thought were not effective. Many were very entertaining and to me seemed a way for many creatives in agency biz to release their latent movie director aspirations. But minutes after they appeared, I forgot the company they were trying to brand or pitch. Google was the best. Simple and to the point with the name always featured. It made the biggest impression on me.

  • Nick Albert

    I really liked one that was not mentioned. Doritos had one with the dog bark collar… it made me laugh out loud. Thanks for posting some of the commercials!

  • I agree with the google ad. I had viewed it on Saturday and immediately thought it was a great spot. Simplicity wins here.

    Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

  • Nick

    The dog collar one was a good one as well. I think I went more to the emotional side and being biased as a single parent to like the little boy one. I'd be curious to see if they run the contest again next year or if they will follow Pepsi and not run.