My Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials for 2011

I know the Super Bowl XLV is over since more than a full week and most of you must have been thinking in the last few days about the Valentine’s day or the Arcade Fire Grammy Award instead! I spent the last week grading some MBA projects so I was on a grading/rating mode and this is why I decided that selecting and rating the best Super Bowl commercials of 2011 could be a great idea for a post. So let’s get back to February 6th 2011, the day I was one of the lucky Canadians to be exposed to Super Bowl local commercials, which means that instead of watching the super commercials, I had the opportunity to see commercials from the FTQ, TD Bank and BMO, which were correct, as well as the ultra-silly CTV commercials on FOX of programs such as Flashpoint and The Listener. As listed by Adage, there have been 53 different commercials during the Superbowl XLV.

Super Bowl XLV Logo
Super Bowl XLV Logo

After having watched each of these 53 commercials, even the Groupon advertising related to Tibet, my top 10 of these commercials is based on ratings related to four components: (1) buzz potential, (2) originality, (3) brand awareness pumper, and (4) call-to-action; the first two components being related more to the emotional appeal while the last two are more related to rational appeal. Here are the definitions associated to each of the four components, as well as an “overall” component.

“Buzz potential” (BUZ) – Potential of the commercial to be shared across the Internet.
“Originality” (ORI) – Broadly answering how original is this commercial?
“Brand Awareness Pumper” (BAP) – How much it makes you “additionally” aware of the product?
“Call-to-action” (CTA) – How it influences you to know more about the product or to buy it?
“Overall” (OVR) – Summation of the four components score on 40.

So here is my top 10 from 10 to 1 as well as my ratings and my 2 cents about each of these commercials. Enjoy!

10 – BMW – Defying Logic

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 5
ORI – 5
BAP – 10
CTA – 9
OVR – 29

My 2 cents: One of many Super Bowl commercials related to the car industry. It is a great commercial in terms of the rational appeal with a solid call-to-action. However, it has relatively low potential for buzz. Furthermore, the main storyline is brilliant, especially to counter-attack the reviving American pride movement in the car industry.

9 – Cars.com – Go First

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 9
ORI – 7
BAP – 6
CTA – 8
OVR – 30

My 2 cents: A funny video with important buzz upside. However, even though the call-to-action is well-presented at the end, the product advertised is only identifiable at the end.

8 – Career Builder – Parking Lot

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 7
ORI – 8
BAP – 7
CTA – 8
OVR – 30

My 2 cents: As a follow-up to last year commercial, Career Builder proposed a great metaphor, “being stuck in a dead-end in an organization”. The metaphor is well-implemented, but maybe too much second degree for some customers drinking beer during the Super Bowl.

7 – Bud Light – Hack Job

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 8
ORI – 8
BAP – 7
CTA – 9
OVR – 32

My 2 cents: My favorite Budweiser-related commercial. It is a great parody of the house makeover shows accompanied by a great call-to-action to the Bud Light product.

6 – Pepsi Max – Love Hurts

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 9
ORI – 8
BAP – 8
CTA – 8
OVR – 33

My 2 cents: The best Pepsi Max commercial of the Super Bowl, it is childish and reminds me of The Simpson’s Ball in the nuts episode but it works well.

5 – Bridgestone – Carma

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 7
ORI – 8
BAP – 9
CTA – 9
OVR – 33

My 2 cents: A simple but intelligent commercial, targeted mainly to women or boys who like sweet animals.

4 – Chevy – Status

Length: 30 seconds

BUZ – 9
ORI – 6
BAP – 10
CTA – 8
OVR – 33

My 2 cents: Sweet mix of romance and technology related to Facebook news update. Plugging a new Chevy feature in a cheesy story near Valentine’s day, what a shot!

3 – Chrysler – Born of Fire

Length: 120 seconds

BUZ – 6
ORI – 9
BAP – 10
CTA – 10
OVR – 35

My 2 cents: The longest commercial of the Super Bowl but also one of the clearest in terms of the message. The portray of both Detroit and the Chrysler 200 build with hard work and local pride embellished with the tagline “Imported from Detroit” is a slap in the face to the BMW commercial as seen on position #10.

2 – Volkswagen – The Force

Length: 60 seconds

BUZ – 10
ORI – 8
BAP – 9
CTA – 9
OVR – 36

My 2 cents: Voted by many as the best commercial of the Super Bowl, both simple and original at the same time.

1 – Motorola – Empower the People

Length: 60 seconds

BUZ – 8
ORI – 8
BAP – 10
CTA – 10
OVR – 36

My 2 cents: Based on George Orwell book entitled “1984” metaphor, this commercial is both a critique of Apple, as well as a “grand coup” to advertise the highly-anticipated Motorola Xoom tablet.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Super Bowl XLV hasn’t been a great year in terms of Superbowl commercials, but each of these top 10 commercials has a least a “little something” to either make you smile or to make you think about your customer consideration set. So which one of these Super Bowl XLV commercials is your favorite? And why? Hope you enjoyed it!

Have fun!

Jean-Francois Belisle

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5 thoughts on “My Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials for 2011”

  1. Hi J-F,

    Interesting listing.
    Personnaly I think the best commercial of the Superbowl was the one of Verizon, which slaps AT&T in the face with its “I can hear you now”.

    Thought on you number one, I don’t find it powerful as was 1984 by Apple, and I don’t think it hurts so much Apple. It’s seems that it could be apply to everything with the globalization of trends in our society today. Too bad Apple make such great product 🙂

    Good day

  2. Thanks for enlightening the discussion with your comment Cyril. I admit Verizon isn’t a bad commercial, its quite simple and the message is clear. However, I must admit I didn’t include this commercial since I didn’t see it before as it was surely the #53 missing commercial on the Huffington Post website I visited to watch each commercials and was at the time not available . It may have taken a spot between 5 to 10 in the ranking.

    Concerning my #1, I must agree with you that it should not really impact Apple and similarly as you, I must admit that the 1984 Apple Macintosh (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8) was a heavy slap in the face back in the days and that my #1 pick is not at all as good and as timely as the Apple commercial was.

  3. I loved the Star Wars Volkswagen commercial!!
    Actually, I haven’t watch the Super Bowl at all. It was a little bit too late for me in Paris. But the next morning, first thing I did was to go on twitter to find a post about the best and the worst Super Bowl Commercial.
    I notice you haven’t wrote anything since the 15th! I am waiting for fresh news.

    Vicki

  4. Thanks Vicki. I think that more and more people prefer to watch the Super Bowl ads rather than the Super Bowl. Concerning the Volkswagen commercial, I think that many people ranked it as their number 1, by the way I don’t know if you have seen the parody of this ad applied to Toyota : http://youtu.be/1jtH4beRWAo :-).

    Concerning my slowness to post something new, it ended this morning. However, for sure I will post a little less since I changed the formula of my blog to biweekly posting and focus on developing the rest of my website as well as my online presence.

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