Super Bowl XLV – Armchair Advertiser

I am not a football fan — or a sports enthusiast of any kind for that matter. Yet, I look forward to the Super Bowl every year.  Who doesn’t love an event that involves consuming your weight in chips and dip and other heart-healthy bar food? 

Given that I am not a football fan, I only take breaks from grazing during the commercials.  I — like most viewers — love to critique the ads, and I fancy myself an “expert,” given my past experience in advertising.  Now, thanks to today’s technology. I can share my thoughts with a broader audience – isn’t technology grand!  So here is my take on the most important part of Super Bowl XLV: The commercials.

Overall, I thought the commercials were good (not great.)

None of the ads felt iconic or breakthrough enough to be water cooler fodder for weeks to come. I longed for the unexpected surprise that we enjoyed with last year’s “Betty White” Snickers’ spot. 

Many of the advertisers continued with their existing successful campaign such as E-Trade with their popular baby ads and Career Builder with their monkeys.  Both were enjoyable but formulaic.  

There are many sites that will tell you who “won” the Super Bowl commercial showdown. USA Today’s “Ad Meter” had Doritos’ “Pug Attack” and Bud Lite’s “Dog Sitting” tied for first place.  These canine-oriented spots were entertaining — and as any advertiser will tell you it is hard to go wrong with babies and animals — however, from my assessment I would say the car companies took the spotlight last night. 

 My favorite ads included:

Chrysler 200’s "Detroit"

I loved the unfaltering American spirit in “Detroit.” It made me want to buy a Chrysler to show my support for Detroit and American products in general.  

Volkswagen’s "The Force"

“The Force” captured my heart with little Darth Vader trying to command his universe — and Dad giving him an unexpected hand.  That said, I can’t tell you what type of car they were promoting. Nor could I name any particular feature other than an electric starter, which is nice but wouldn’t be the motivating factor in my buying decision.

Chevy Camaro’s "Miss Evelyn"

Lastly I liked the way the Camaro ad kept me guessing what was going to happen next while showcasing the product. I also enjoyed the unexpected twist of “Miss Evelyn” being a teacher – proving to children everywhere that teachers are cool. 

 With every winner there is a loser. For me, the biggest loser (pun intended) of the night was Go Daddy’s “The Contract.”  Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels have the rare opportunity to be such powerful, positive role models for young girls but have chosen this path instead.  From my vantage point, this ad does nothing for the product or the women involved.

So, although I believe there were a few solid contenders in this year’s Super Bowl of Commercials, sadly I think the action on the field was more compelling. 

I guess I’ll have to wait until next year to see what the big-league advertisers dream up. In the meantime, I’ll be trying to work off the chips and dip!"

Sarah Landrum is a former brand manager with one of America's largest credit card companies. What's in your wallet?