Rating the Super Bowl Commercials (2nd Quarter)

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It’s time for the Super Bowl (playing on NBC), and advertisers pay very, very steeply to wave their wares in front of 100 million viewers.

Who enlisted A-list talent? (And who shopped a bargain with B-listers and below?) Who went for laughs? Who tugged at heartstrings? And who whipped out the always-reliable S-E-X?

Here is our quick take on the commercials from the 2nd Quarter of Super Bowl XLVI. (Refresh for updates.) Sound off on your favorites in Comments!

Super Bowl Commercials, 1st Quarter: Vampire Killers, Elton John
Goes to Court, the New M&M and an Apocalypse-Surviving Chevy

Budweiser | After spending the 1st quarter hawking their new hi-tech platinum brew, the folks at Anheuser-Busch return to their old-timey charming roots with a retro piece in which the delivery truck, complete with dalmatian mascot, overjoys a town with some fresh suds.

Doritos | Dad finds cat’s grave. Dog looks suspicious. Dog bribes Dad with Doritos to keep quiet. A bit dark, more than a bit funny.

Chevy Camaro | Kid thinks the ‘rents just gifted him with some hot wheels, when in fact it’s just a dorm fridge. The little touches (e.g. the domino effect of events that quickly follow, including marriage plans for the grad) kick it up a notch.

TaxACT.com | Young kid, spurred on by lawn sprinklers and the like, races out of pool to hit the potty, to no avail. Ultimately, he leaves himself “free” to just go ahead and do it… in the pool. And TaxACT.com is “free,” etcetera.

VW, “The Dog Strikes Back” | Ostensibly it’s about a dog who whips himself into shape in order to fit through the pet door and chase a shiny new Bug — and he does. But then, after you think it’s over, we cut to the Star Wars cantina, where one of the regulars gets duly choked by Darth Vader for deeming the new ad funnier than the one the Dark Lord starred in last year.  Matt never met a meta ad he didn’t love!

America’s Got Talent | The summertime series signals the arrival of Howard Stern by having the new judge blast dopey acts straight off the stage with a firehose. Effective, makes the point.

H&M | Admit it, ladies, they had you at “David Beckham in $15 briefs.” Here, watch it some more:

John Carter | Civil War soldier Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) gets transported to another planet where he gets mixed up in a whole other kind of battle. It looks to be rather wink-winky and not take itself seriously, which is a big plus in my book.

Coca-Cola | Again? At least it’s a pool-out. But still, fine, call me a polar bearist, but the fact is, these were “big” when that sorta CGI was so shiny and gee-whiz new. Now we have dinosaurs starring on a weekly TV show.

Chevy Sonic | The opening title card promises “100% Real Stunts” that should not be tried at home — and then the titular car goes goes on to skydive, bungee-jump, do a kick-flip and engage in other edgy antics. I’m sorry, what’s the point? If you want me to consider a Chevy coupe, try harder.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, in 3D | What should be an exciting announcement — the Star Wars films being re-released, now in aftermarket 3-D — instead comes off as a threat, since they’re leading off with Episode I. Sigh.

Teleflora | “Valentine’s Day is not that complicated,” Adriana Lima purrs, after slow-slow-slowly pulling up black stockings and zipping herself into an LBD, all while looking with appreciation at a just-delivered floral arrangement. “Give and you shall receive.” Oh, were it so easy, Ade. But great commercial.

Avengers | Iron Man? Good. Captain America? Good. Beef? Good. Seriously, this movie cant come out soon enough. The “circling” shot showing the whole team in defense formation was hot. Here’s the EXTENDED VERSION:

Doritos | Grandma gets back at brat being stingy with his Doritos by sling-shotting his baby bro into the treeh ouse to snatch the snack, then pulling him back. On par with the “Dog Killed Cat” predecessor from 1st Quarter.

E*TRADE | One of the more clever of the “E*TRADE Baby” I’ve seen, largely because of the witty banter. (“That’ll cost you upwards of [whistle]“). Plus, funny kicker with his buddy Bobby “speed-dating” in the nursery.

Skechers | Pug in Skechers wins dog race by many lengths, then rubs it in by stopping to moonwalk across the finish line. Very cute (if not directly applicable to the humans who will actually buy/wear the shoes).

Cars.com | Customer at auto dealership questions price tags, with counsel from his kinda-creepy “Confidence” — aka a second head jutting out from his, like, shoulder blades. Nope.

Hulu Plus, “Huluboratory” | The always-entertaining, never-serious Will Arnett takes us deep into the Men in Black-like Huluboratory where they’ve been developing Hulu Plus, a new service designed to deliver even more TV in more ways and plays, making your brain extra “mushy mushy.” There’s never any arguing with more access to TV!



Comments (24)

  • Vader made that ad.

    Comment by Jess N – February 5, 2012 04:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Sorry, have to disagree with you on the Dorito commercial. Maybe it’s because I have both Great Danes and cats…and I’m usually on board with dark humor, but there was none. I was so-so on the VW commercial. The rest are just boring me. Are we jaded or are they just not as good this year?

    Comment by TaMara – February 5, 2012 04:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree with you. Just viewed this commercial during the SuperBowl. I have both dogs and cats, and I love and protect both species. However, the pain one feels when your beloved cat goes missing is intolerable. How can a commercial make light of the pain of losing a pet?
      I’ve bought Doritos for years. NEVER AGAIN WILL I BUY A PRODUCT FROM THIS COMPANY. This commercial was totally distasteful and the PR people who put this together must have royal screws loose, to be sure. I mean, why alienate cat lovers across the country for the sake of some stupid commercial?
      Dorritos should fire those idiots and make up for the distaste all the cat owners in this country felt upon viewing this stupid, senseless, and offensive video. I hope they are forced to open a cat shelter or do something to make up for this totally distateful commercial.

      Comment by Joe Yennetti – February 5, 2012 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, it was made quite clear that this commercial was one of several ‘fan-made’ commercials, so there were really no PR people involved. I’d love to see how you intend to fire someone who doesn’t work for the company.
        Oh, and I don’t believe for a minute that you’ll never buy a Frito-Lay product again since I imagine you probably have no clue how truly expansive their product line is.

        Comment by Shane – February 6, 2012 03:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Seriously?! It’s. A. Commercial!! As an animal lover, I have proudly had both cats & dogs throughout my life; but, while in reality I’d never stand to see one hurt, I still found it hilarious (especially after having multiple pets in the house & seeing how much they loved to aggravate each other). This was not a joke about people losing beloved pets! Like hundreds of other books, movies, commercials, etc, they were simply making use of the long-running joke about dog-cat animosity…and they did a terrific job with it!!!! It was one my favorites of the night.

        Comment by Lyndsey – February 6, 2012 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not that I have any objections to the David Beckham commercial, but don’t most men buy their own underwear? Not sure they’re targeting the right audience there.

    Comment by Daisyj – February 5, 2012 04:35 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • …only when they’re having an affair.

      Comment by Me – February 5, 2012 07:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Budweiser: now we know how Boardwalk Empire ends.

    Comment by Gabilu – February 5, 2012 04:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Doritos commercial was very unfunny to me. TaxAct.com has been the best thus far. H&M was completely mistargeted. And I don’t care, I always love the Coke commercials. He made a touchdown. C’mon! Much better than that Pepsi crapfest.

    Comment by Michael – February 5, 2012 04:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Call me old fashioned, but I enjoy the Polar Bear ads

    Comment by Diane – February 5, 2012 04:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Dog Strikes Back was best. Avengers and Telefora were good, too.

    Comment by LOL – February 5, 2012 04:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved the Coca Cola Polar Bears. I also enjoyed the VW commercial and TaxAct.com. I appreciated the clydesdales but am hoping there’s a better Bud commercial in the second half.

    Comment by ronda – February 5, 2012 04:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Avennnnngerrrsssss

    Comment by Sally – February 5, 2012 04:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just saw the Friends reference, oh Matt <3

    Comment by Gaby – February 5, 2012 04:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • BEST BUY! Did no one else see that one?

    Comment by TJ – February 5, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved the Chevy commercials LOL and the Howard Stern one!

    Comment by Tre – February 5, 2012 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The Doritos one was hilarious.

    Comment by eve – February 5, 2012 05:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It wasn’t a pug. It was a French Bulldog.

    Comment by Tw – February 5, 2012 05:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Beckham was best so far! Pepsi with Elton John second best. :)

    Comment by Grace – February 5, 2012 05:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • H&M not mistargeted at all. It was a commercial for a department store with an almost naked D. Beckham and sure guys aren’t gonna be into that but their wives and girlfriends are. Overall how many women are watching with their husbands and boyfriends? How many women stopped to oogle while their guys noticed? Women go shop at H&M to grab those underwear for him and how many more items for themselves and guys go pick some up to impress the ladies. H&M double win!!

    Comment by Gets It – February 5, 2012 05:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Not sure either women OR heterosexual men were the target audience for the H&M commercial…

    Comment by Isaac – February 5, 2012 05:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My 2 favorites: Doritos & Teleflora

    Comment by Georgia – February 6, 2012 10:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ignoring everything else just for now, I must say…
    … loved the “Friends” reference :) “Beef? GOOD!”

    Comment by Eryn – February 6, 2012 11:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mr. Quiggly is NOT a pug.. he is a french bulldog :)

    Comment by Danielle h – February 6, 2012 03:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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