Every year there are lists of the best and worst ads from the Super Bowl – and usually I look at them with frustration because they have nothing to do with advertising effectiveness … just pure entertainment.  Entertainment is fine, but it’s hard to imagine that any of the advertisers in the Super Bowl will truly realize a financial benefit from their advertising based on entertainment alone.  The best ads, in my opinion, are the ones that no one else could have done.  They reflect some insight.  They use a company’s uniqueness.  They represent an idea no competitor could have pulled off.  To that end, here’s my list of the best and worst of the Super Bowl commercials:

  1. Aleve’s Arthritis Spot with Leonard Nimoy – Just the image of Spock attending a Star Trek convention without being able to do that "live long and prosper" sign with his hands cracks me up.  A perfect articulation of how arthritis could affect your life, and how Aleve solves the problem.
  2. Disney’s "I’m going to Disney World" Spot – Images of players from both teams rehearsing how they are going to repeat Phil Simms famous promise to go to Disney World after winning the Super Bowl.  Funny, believable … and unique to Disney.
  3. Dove’s Campaign for Beauty – You have to appreciate a CPG company taking their huge ad spend during the Super Bowl and dedicating it to a charitable and emotional message about a foundation it supports.  Ok, this was O&M (our sister agency) that did this … but I would love it even if we had nothing to do with it.

And a couple of losers:

  1. Every Automotive Ad – Don’t they all just look the same?  Cars rising out of water, driving through tunnels, getting tossed around and coming out ok … does this stuff really work?  The Hummer Dinosaur ad was original – but got groans at the end when people realized it was for a Hummer. 
  2. Full Throttle Ads – Coke would have been better off just putting out ads for Coke or Diet Coke instead of promoting this new crappy addition to the already crowded beverage market.  Every ad for this "energy drink" elicted a "huh?" reaction from our crowd.  Oh, and nice choice showing Red Bull – their main competitor in the ad.  Red Bull should send them a bunch of flowers.  You can’t buy that kind of PR.

Check out The Adbowl for a list of all the spots and a chance to vote for the best and worst.