Game over, man. The Packers are going to Disney World, and you’re vacuuming tortilla chips out of your couch.
So which ads delivered and which ones fell short? You cast your votes in Hulu’s AdZone during the big game, with Volkswagen and Bridgestone taking top honors, but below is our take on some of this year’s strongest — and weakest — contenders.
Volkswagen: The Force
The big story of the night was Volkswagen’s nostalgic ad for the new Passat. Strategically leaked onto the Internet four days ago, it was an instant viral success. Cleverly appealing to people who like Star Wars, people who like cute things, and people who used to be kids, Volkswagen managed to grab our attention as a child dressed as Darth Vader attempted to use “the Force” to move objects around the house, to no avail. With a little help from dad, however, Little Vader managed to start the family car. It’s no surprise that Volkswagen’s commercial ranks at the top of Hulu’s 2011 AdZone. After all, how many of us believed in the Force after we saw Star Wars the first (and yes, even ninth) time?
Doritos: Crash the Superbowl
Now in its fifth year, the Doritos “Crash the Superbowl” contest has expanded to include ads for Pepsi’s no-calorie PepsiMax. The acting is a little off, the editing a little strange, and the sets are a little bare, but hey, these are ads submitted by regular folks. The Doritos ads (including “House Sitting,” “The Best Part,” and let’s not forget “Pug Attack“) were better than ever, and the Pepsi ads… well, let’s say there’s room for improvement in next year’s contest. Which ones were your favorite?
Chrysler: Imported from Detroit
This two-minute ad for the new Chrysler 200 filled an entire ad break on its own, and sparked a lot of conversation. It both acknowledged and challenged stereotypes about Detroit, and portrayed it as a hardworking, persevering community. The spot also confronted the negative press surrounding the recent bailouts of the auto industry, and the recent downturn in the economy. Featuring Eminem, one of Detroit’s most famous exports, it closed with the clever tagline “imported from Detroit,” a clever twist on the conventional wisdom that the finest luxury cars have to be imported.
Bridgestone is no stranger to the Super Bowl, having won us over with 2008’s screaming squirrel spot. This year’s ad takes us back to that familiar scenario: a driver expertly swerves to avoid flattening a woodland creature. The creature this time, a beaver, is able to return the favor by chewing down a tree, which blocks the driver’s path, sparing him from certain disaster. Bridgestone’s vision of automotive karma, or “carma,” spent the night rotating between first and second place in the AdZone leaderboard, competing fiercely with VW’s “The Force”.
Stella Artois: Crying Jean
Hanging around the bottom of our AdZone leaderboard is this moody ad featuring Adrien Brody as a lounge singer with a French accent. We couldn’t understand the lyrics very well (did he say zat-zat-zat?) but we’re pretty sure he was singing to a glass of beer. This is the first time Anheuser-Busch chose to advertise Stella during the big game. While the brewing giant typically focuses its efforts on its Bud Light and Budweiser brands, its famous Clydesdale horses only made an appearance hauling a delivery wagon in “Wild West“), so perhaps the Stella ad was Anheuser-Busch’s “highbrow” ad of the evening. Whatever it was, it didn’t quite work.
Animated ads usually play well during the big game. This year, Lipton Brisk‘s ad featured an animated Eminem. Chatter.com‘s little celebrities, meanwhile, weren’t quite as recognizable in animated form. (Two of those Black Eyed Peas, we wouldn’t recognize if they were sitting on our desks.) Also unrecognizable were the buzzwords and markety-sounding phrases tossed around in this ad, which failed to make an impression on viewers. The two ads ranked at the very bottom of our AdZone leaderboard.
Skechers: Kim Kardashian
Sometimes we’re surprised about which ads fall into the bottom of the AdZone. This steamy Skechers ad, shot like a Hollywood love scene and featuring half-naked people in amazing physical condition, got more thumbs down than thumbs up. One thing we realized: the more we watched this ad (several viewings were necessary for a proper review), the more we love Nasim Pedrad’s spot-on impression of the curvy Kardashian on SNL. It’s perfect!
Hulu’s Video Editor