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Get Ready to Vote for Your Favorites: Hulu’s AdZone Returns for the Big Game

February 4th, 2011 by Nathan Alexander Video Editor

Grab a seat and get ready to dip your nachos into a big heapin’ bowlful of new Super Bowl ads. This Sunday, you’ll be treated to the most entertaining and memorable ads that America’s advertisers have to offer, and you can rank them here on Hulu’s AdZone, where the polls will open as soon as the first commercials hit Hulu during the Big Game. We’ll announce the winners a few hours after Sunday’s game, but what’s in store for viewers in 2011? Let’s look back at Hulu’s 2010 AdZone for a recap of the ads that worked, and the ones that didn’t.

THE HITS

Snickers: You’re Not You When You’re Hungry
The big success story of the 2010 AdZone was the Snickers ad featuring Betty White. It was a fantastic comeback for Snickers after their unpopular 2007 SuperBowl entry, which featured mechanics ripping out clumps of their own chest hair. Disturbing. The Snickers ad also brought another layer of fan appeal to Betty White, who saw a dramatic rise in popularity in 2010. Following the Snickers ad, a successful Facebook petition made Betty the oldest person ever to host SNL. Will Betty make a return appearance during this year’s big game?

Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl
Since its launch in 2007, Doritos’ annual fan-made Super Bowl ad contest has produced some of the game’s most popular and entertaining ads. The big hits of 2010 included “House Rules” featuring a little man laying down the law, and “Snack Attack Samurai“, a tale of a man who really, really, really loves his Doritos. The “Crash the Super Bowl” ads aren’t always great, but Doritos has found a formula that resonates with viewers and the American can-do spirit. And it’s true: when we see these commercials, we can’t help but think that maybe next year, we’ll produce the winning spot.

Google: Search On
Google won our hearts with a simple story told through the Google search bar. A young man’s journey to Paris and romance with a French girl plays out in a series of Google searches, with accompanying music and sound effects, beginning with “study abroad paris”, progressing through “impress a french girl” and culminating in “how to assemble a crib”. It’s the first time a search engine made me cry… in a good way.

E*Trade: Girlfriend
Although they used the same old talking baby gimmick for third year in a row, E*Trade managed to make headlines with their “milka-what?” commercial last year, turning the fake word “milkawhat” into a catchphrase and even prompting a lawsuit from troubled actress Lindsay Lohan. (The suit was withdrawn from court in September.) And while the dialogue was cute and the ad ranked No. 3 among Hulu users last year, we’ll go ahead and admit it: We’re tired of the talking babies premise. After all, none of us are lining up to see Look Who’s Talking 9, and Baby Bob isn’t dominating prime time in its 11th season. Yes, the ads have been a hit in the past, and we’ll see more of the talking tots during this year’s game, but we say it’s time to move away from the blank-faced babies.

THE MISSES
The Super Bowl Movie Curse

2010 saw the return of the Super Bowl movie curse, where movies advertised during the Super Bowl often end up among the lowest-grossing films of the year. Of the six films advertised during last year’s game, three (Prince of Persia, The Wolfman, and Robin Hood) actually lost money. According to box office site the-numbers.com, The Wolfman ranks among the 10 biggest money-losers in the history of cinema. Previous box-office flops advertised during the big game include Sahara (also a top-10 money-loser), Drillbit Taylor, Leatherheads, Poseidon and 16 Blocks. At the other end of the spectrum, however, animation giant Pixar has historically premiered a movie trailer during the Super Bowl, and their titles always have a good run in theaters. Expect to see one or two ads for movies that will take the top box office in 2011 (Pirates of the Caribbean, Rango), and about seven trailers for movies nobody will see.

HomeAway: Hotel Hell Vacation
Ranking very low in our AdZone was an ad for HomeAway. A year later, we still don’t know what this business is. The commercial that aired during the Super Bowl was a 30-second “trailer” for the full-length ad, a 13-minute film featuring National Lampoon’s Vacation stars Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

It’s possible HomeAway was hoping to achieve the success of fellow Super Bowl advertiser GoDaddy.com, whose sexy ads tease the viewer with promises of an “uncensored” spot on the company website. (Spoiler alert: we checked, and it’s strictly PG.) But while GoDaddy’s ads leave you wanting more, HomeAway’s ad made us wonder what we just saw.

Which commercials will make us laugh, cry and wince this Sunday? Be sure to vote, share your comments and review this year’s ads in Hulu’s AdZone.

Nathan Alexander
Hulu Video Editor

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