Super Bowl Ads – Winners and Losers

Over the years, the commercials on Super Bowl Sunday have become almost as big a story as the game itself.  After the game ends, people love to write and argue about which ones were the best and which were the worst.  So, I figured that I should get in on the conversation too!  Here are my picks for “Winners” and “Losers” in the Super Bowl advertising game, and I’m basing my decisions on more than just which were the funniest.


  • Coke Zero and Troy Polamalu:  The idea of modernizing an old favorite with a new twist is a perfect fit with Coke Zero’s value proposition compared to classic Coca-Cola.
  • Doritos Crystal Ball: This was a fan created spot, and it was definitely one of the funnier commercials.  It also had good focus on the product with the vending machine.
  •  Their ads aren’t anything special anymore, but they do have a gift for driving millions of visitors back to their website, which in their business will directly lead to revenue.
  • Denny’s Thugs: The ad wasn’t that funny, but they decided to make their ad part of a bigger campaign by using the spot to promote a free breakfast for everyone on Tuesday. This ad will drive consumers into restaurants, and that make its successful.
  • Hyundai “Bosses”: Hyundai knows that many other car companies are struggling, so why not take the opportunity to show off the success of your product in direct comparison to the competition.  This ad isn’t funny at all, but I think the angle and message are effective.


  • eTrade Baby: The cute, clever baby was a great idea last year, but its getting old and repetitive. I don’t see them generating new interest my just changing up the punchline this year.
  • GE Scarecrow: What exactly was GE’s goal with this ad?  I guess they just wanted to improve their brand image, but I didn’t see any clear benefit to be gained from their ad.
  • Pepsi and PepSuber (MacGruber): This spot was played the night before as a skit on Saturday Night Live, so it just seems like a waste of money to rerun it the next night.  It wasn’t very funny either, and it’s a little too self-mocking by Pepsi.
  • Coca-Cola Avatars: This commercial does not seem to connect with the brand. Its just a guy walking around past a bunch of cartoon/video-game characters, with a pleasant soundtrack. How does this sell Coke?
  • Castrol Grease Monkeys: This is a pun gone bad.  Very cheesy, not funny, and does little for the brand.

Please leave your comments and let me know which commercials you liked the best or hated the most.  You can view all of the commercials on YouTube’s AdBlitz page.

5 thoughts on “Super Bowl Ads – Winners and Losers

  • February 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    I agree with much of your list, and think that Doritos and Denny’s were the big winners.

    I think it’s interesting that many people seemed to hate the Troy Polamalu spot. I thought it was really smart and funny. I guess you either like the law-suit Coke series of ads or you don’t, I personally like them.


  • February 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Nice list. I also really liked NBC’s LMAO ad

  • February 5, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I almost added the LMAO commercial to my Winners list. I thought it was entertaining, but NBC generally does a good job regularly promoting their shows, so it didn’t stand out as much.

  • February 5, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Interesting you had many similar spots on your list that I had on mine. I actually still love the E-trade ones, even if they are continuing the same concept. Didn’t get the coke avatars one at all either.

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