Super Bowl XLV aired Sunday night on Fox, with audiences tuning in as much for the Steelers vs. Packers match-up as they were for television’s biggest night in ads. Check out B&C Editor-in-Chief Ben Grossman’s winners and losers for the night and see below for more reviews of the Super Bowl’s commercials from TV critics around the Web.
If there’s an opposite of most-improved, Anheuser-Busch would take home the prize. It’s almost as if there’s no clear marketing leader over there. It was enough to make me long for the days of Bud Bowl. But thanks to the aforementioned saviors, and some solid efforts from Anomaly and Motorola, Amalgamated and CarMax, and Tyler Max and Doritos, the night wasn’t a complete loss. - Ken Wheaton, Advertising Age
“The single most provocative ad in this dismal company was Motorola taking on Apple’s iconic 1984 ad with its futuristic look at a society of white-cloaked earbud-wearing Apple drones, the exception being the lovestruck owner of a Xoom tablet - which I initially thought was an iPad, which of course was the point.” - Matt Roush, TV Guide
“For Anheuser-Busch, which has watched its brands’ images and market share erode in recent years, it was a return to glory. A-B used to win Ad Meters the way Vince Lombardi won football games. A-B won 10 consecutive Ad Meters from 1999 through 2008.” - Bruce Horovitz, USA Today
“Super Bowl’s commercials - upon which so much of the cultural zeitgeist hangs its hopes - mostly failed to score big. There were a few highlights here and there, beginning and ending for most viewers with a satisfyingly cute Volkswagen ad.” - Hank Stuever, The Washington Post
“Groupon: To be fair, if this ad was actually made as a covert attempt to satirize consumerism and the frivolity of capitalist society, then well done, comrades! The problem is not just, as many have said, that it was offensive for making fun of Tibet’s suffering. It was also obnoxious in a way that was directly related to the use of the product, making Groupon’s own customers complicit in the commercial’s own d-baggery. But who knows? Maybe the ad will help Groupon seal a trade deal with the Chinese government.” - James Poniewozik, TIME
“Darth Vader starts Volkswagen — Cute, smart and nobody is licking anyone else’s fingers in this one. This is the kind of ad that can crack a smile on just about anyone, especially all of those Star Wars fans.” - Austin Knoblauch, Los Angeles Times
“The road to revitalizing Detroit goes through Eminem. Or so says this ad for the new Chrysler 200 luxury series that stars the rapper…Not sure if there’s enough emotional heft here to carry the somewhat laughable tagline “Imported from Detroit.” But perhaps there’s another ad coming in which Kanye or Diddy trades in a Bugatti or Porsche for a Chrysler.” - Jason Rehel, National Post