Arguably, for only the second time in a decade (thanks to Super Bowl XLII), the game was actually the most entertaining part of the Super Bowl. Of course, the torturously bad halftime helped to make the nail biter of a game that much more interesting. But, the mostly lackluster Super Bowl commercials are what truly made the game the best part of the night.
In all honesty, the American public has become spoiled by Super Bowl commercials. Ever since Super Bowl XXI and Macintosh’s brilliant 1984 commercial, Super Bowl ads have become more outlandish and impressive in almost every year. The expectations for Super Bowl ads have become almost impossibly high. But, these expectations are simply a part of the event and any company that doesn’t live up should be aware of the consequences.
This year, the overall selection of commercials was varied, but mostly unimpressive. Few commercials were actually terrible, but many were only barely acceptable for a Super Bowl commercial. Despite the modest commercials, a few truly stood out and lived up to the quality that is expected for the Super Bowl. The following are the best Super Bowl commercials for Super Bowl XLV.
Bud Light: Product Placement – Unlike in many past years, Bud Light did not blow away the competition. Most of the Bud Light commercials ranged from slightly memorable to rather pathetic. One stood out, though. Riffing on the prevalence of product placement in movies, this commercial simply pushed the exaggeration to the extreme. The result was a well-paced joke that never stopped ramping up until the commercial ended.
Pepsi Max: First Date – Pepsi Max showcased three commercials that all were slightly entertaining, but only one truly finished on a high note. “First Date”, despite starting as the most subtle of the three commercials, nailed the joke, not once, but twice. First it nailed the joke when it switched the guy’s thoughts and then again with the final line of the commercial.
Snickers: Lumberjack – The first 20 seconds of this commercial is actually quite uninteresting. The Snickers joke, which was hilarious last year, is becoming rather overdone. But, it isn’t completely dead, and the last 10 seconds of this commercial proves it. The inclusion of Roseanne was inspired and belly achingly funny.
Coca Cola: Dragon – Coca Cola commercials this year weren’t quite as funny as many past examples, but they were very inspiring and surprisingly cerebral, while still being entertaining. The dragon commercial was the slightly more impressive of the two, but the border patrol commercial was also solid.
Volkswagen: Darth Vader – Even more than 30 years after Star Wars was first released, kids still want to be Darth Vader and use the force. This inspired Volkswagen commercial fulfills one kid’s fantasy in a way that is funny and heart warming.
NFL: Brand American – It is appropriate that one of the best Super Bowl commercials was actually created by the NFL. By editing old television clips, the NFL created a stellar Super Bowl commercial for the NFL. The true capstone moment is a not to be missed clip from The Brady Bunch.
Doritos: Healing Chips – There is absolutely no question that Doritos won the Super Bowl commercial war for Super Bowl XLV. The weakest of the three commercials was still better than almost every other commercial aired. And, both “Pug” and “Best for Last” would hold up to competition from previous years. “Healing Chips”, though, was simply the hands down best commercial of the year. Pushing the envelope beyond belief, the final image is touching, disturbing, and outstanding all at the same time.