Oh, the Super Bowl. Sure, it was a great game and a great triumph for the Saints, but I was watching it for the commercials. Every year, America’s great corporations spend quizillions (that’s Quiznos millions) on spots during the big game, realizing that it’s their best chance to grab as many eyeballs as they humanly can. Some succeed. Some fail. The following list is my picks for the best and worst Super Bowl commercials of 2010.
Snickers – Betty White is the owningest old lady on Earth right now, and her willingness to take a tackle into a mud puddle for Snickers is just more proof. Special guest appearance: Abe Vigoda!
Google – The company’s first ever Super Bowl ad owned, period. The “Parisian Love” clip perfectly demonstrated Google’s position in the market: if you want to know something, you Google it. Sure, it’s a little corny, but I can’t think of a clip that summed up an advertiser more accurately.
The Late Show – The ad that had everybody talking, this ten-second clip added fuel to the dying late night wars by putting Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman together on a couch. Where was Conan? He was the couch all along!
Coca-Cola – Hard Times may piss off old-school Simpsons fans who hate seeing their beloved characters shill for all kinds of products, and to be frank the creepily realistic Coke bottles look weird in those four-fingered yellow hands, but the ad is a riot anyways.
Doritos – In a fine example of crowdsourcing, the chip magnate let fans make the ads this year, and most of them did a better job than Madison Avenue could. My personal favorite was “Underdog,” which took a classic concept and executed it with aplomb.
Bud Light – A hilariously absurd concept taken to the extreme, the House of Bud Light delivered in each and every frame.
Focus On The Family – There was plenty of gas passed on both sides about the appropriateness of this ad, starring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam, but when it aired it turned out to be a pallid knockoff of Reebok’s Terry Tate campaign. It would have been funnier if he’d come up from the tackle holding a newborn baby.
GoDaddy – Remember when everybody talked about GoDaddy’s Super Bowl ads because they had hot broads in them sort of becoming a variety of almost naked? Their two ads this year showed that even T&A doesn’t work forever. Step it up, dudes!