2011 Super Bowl Commercials Reviewed


When there are no New York football teams in the Super Bowl, personally, all I can ask for is an entertaining event.  A good game that comes down to the end, check.  Covering my spread and winning a few prop bets, check.  Good food and a healthy supply of booze, check. Commercials that have the legs to go viral and make me excited to discuss with my office the following day, not so much.  As the head of a marketing agency, seeing experts in the field put their most important work on display for the world to see, representing some of the most influential brands in the world, is an exciting time.  This year, I will simply say, I am not impressed. Come on guys, this is the freaking Super Bowl.  Step your game up!  There were some winners though, here are my grades.


I liked Mercedes Benz and Diddy teaming up. I feel that a relationship between those 2 brands makes sense for both parties.  Mercedes is the symbol of luxury and success, and Diddy represents those same principles.  There was obviously intense competition from the automotive industry to create successful Super Bowl spots and I felt Mercedes made a good decision.

Doritos and Pepsi had the most effective marketing strategy in regards to their commercial spots in the Super Bowl.  Their viral approach to launching an open contest to create their Super Bowl ads with prizes, online voting, and interactive promotion, was a full service engagement campaign that resulted in a successful branding strategy for the two brands.  The winning commercial and my personal favorite of the day was the lick-your-fingers Doritos commercial.  During a day where humor was rather limited (except during Christina Aguilera’s botched National Anthem), this spot stood out.

Bridgestone nailed the commercials, but lacked brand identity. I loved both of Bridgestone’s spots during the Super Bowl.  My problem was that later on in the day when my friends and I were discussing the commercials, nobody remembered whose commercial it was that did the “reply to all spot” or the “beaver pound” spot.  That’s a bit of a problem.  But it was a nice attempt.


If you’re a Twitter addict like myself, you probably noticed that the most buzz during the #brandbowl was allocated to Groupon. I put Groupon in the winner/loser category.  I thought it was a fantastic idea for Groupon to step outside of their comfort zone, and try their hand with a few Super Bowl TV spots.  They are the fastest growing company of all time, yet there is still a large portion of the country who doesn’t know what the company does.  So putting themselves on the grandest stage of all makes sense. My problem lies with their approach.  Groupon decided to make a humorous situation out of what is going on in Tibet.  In light of the Twitter fiasco with Kenneth Cole, this was probably not the best idea.  According to #BrandBowl on Twitter, Groupon received the most negative brand rating for their presence during the big game.  According to Groupon’s blog, their reasoning behind their ad campaign strategy was to poke fun at themselves, “Since we grew out of a collective action and philanthropy site ( and ended up selling coupons, we loved the idea of poking fun at ourselves by talking about discounts as a noble cause.”  Problem is, earlier in the blog post entry, they stated they wanted to do these ads because they, too, felt most of the country is unaware of their brand.  Not only did these brands not really shed light on what they do, they pissed people off in the process.


Chevy Cruze, are you really trying to sell a car by having it read Facebook wall posts?  Imagine what would happen in real life…you would have to get through like 15 posts about Farmville and your friends checking on Foursquare before you ever heard anything of any relevance.  Come on Chevy, you’re better than that.  Grow up Peter Pan. Count Chocula.

Cars.Com and its talking cars commercial was simply tired. How did that advertisement make me any more interested in your site or your company?  Shit’s been done.  They have made cartoon movies about talking cars.

E-Trade and their talking baby commercials are generally one of my favorite TV ad campaigns. I expected them to take it to the next level this year.  Every time the commercial came on, I quieted everyone around me so we could listen in….Each time, crickets and an overwhelming “ehhhh” came from the crowd.

Overall, as I watch these commercials over again, I am sure some will grow on me.  The overall sentiment I have seen on Twitter and amongst friends and colleagues has been that this was a forgettable year for Super Bowl commercials.

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