It’s SuperBowl. And it may not have been the creamiest crop ever, but it’s always interesting to see what people roll out when they’re playing (or paying) in the big league. What would you be willing to show to 200 million people? Given that you’re side-by-side with Madonna and one of the biggest sports events in the world (one of – I’m not forgetting the World Cup!), what’s worthy of that multi-million dollar media spend?

Well, there were some real shockers this year – some as a result of resorting to cleavage without applying an idea… and some just being too average for an ad event this big. But these stood out for me…

1. VW’s Dog Ad (Bolt) – I wasn’t sure when I first saw it that I liked the whole “was the dog better than little Darth?” ending – it just felt so detached from the rest of the ad… but it grows on you – try watching it a couple of times and see how you feel about it. It’s a nice parody of the situation they were in.

2. Budweiser’s Dog Ad (Weego) – It’s simple, sweet and does the whole ‘beers at a party’ with a twist, which beats a lot of the other spots that focus more on the soundtrack and visuals of people partying.

3. Chevrolet Sonic “Stunt Anthem” – The Brits will reference Qashqai Car Games, but this is bigger and more glorious, thanks to the budget. And it works – way to catch a lot of attention and then do something with that attention. Although I’m surprised they didn’t make it more obvious that the URL was worth visiting?

4. Chevy Silverado “2012” – Epic apocalypse piece, but if you’re going to try and make an age-old claim (the longest-lasting, most dependable truck on the road), then put down your competition at the same time, you better wrap it up damn well. This does it – blatant product ad, very well disguised.

5. Chrysler “Halftime in America” – I know that it’s going to polarise people, but don’t dismiss it. It’s not humorous, clever or shocking. It’s that most difficult of things – two minutes of pure copy-writing genius. Something that stirs the soul. And that’s not easy to do. Normally, it just ends up sounding like a hard-sell that would only get the internal audience to sit up. But this brings a tear to the eye and makes you want Detroit to live up to the promise. Lovely.

So, basically, some great car work – and some great dog ads. Not bad, all in all.

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