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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Video And Commentary On Sunday's Ads

Reviewing the best, the worst, and the weirdest of Super Bowl 45 commercials.

More: Super Bowl 2012 coverage.

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Worst Super Bowl Commercials: Groupon, HomeAway, Pepsi Max Rate Low

More: Super Bowl Commercials 2012.

Playtime's over, wayward advertising agencies: We've dispensed with our exalting of 2011's best Super Bowl commercials, and now it's time to visit the other end of the barrel and decry the year's worst ads. Where most of our favorite commercials during Super Bowl 45 involved cars, nearly all the ones we hated concerned websites. Stop making the internet look bad, all of you! We're trying to work here!

In ascending order of terribility, the most abysmal ads of Super Bowl XLV:

1-3. Groupon.com. All of them.
Way to take a useful service that lots of people use and like and turn it into an after-party joke, using just a trio of laughably ill-conceived ads! Our staffers were torn between "confusing and reprehensible" when trying to categorize the campaign, which, believe it or not, was intended to highlight some of the charitable works Groupon's been doing, but instead ended up being the wrong kind of punchline. Here's the worst offender, featuring the plight of the Tibetan people and Timothy Hutton in his worst career move since The Golden Spiders: A Nero Wolfe Mystery:




4. Homeaway.com, "Dept. of Detourism."

Our own Spencer Hall summed it up nicely: "If your Super Bowl 2011 commercial leaves the lingering taste of "maimed baby" in my mouth, can I gently suggest you've just swindled your client out of money and harmed their brand simultaneously?"

T-5. Pepsi Max. All of them.
Our Coca-Cola-loving brethren at SB Nation Atlanta pilloried these last night for their utter inability to measure up to the well-received Coke Dragon ad. All we have to add is this: Before yesterday, we had no idea what Pepsi Max was. Today, we have no idea what Pepsi Max is, but the idea vaguely repulses us. Excellent work, sirs.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: VW's 'Darth Vader' Ad Among Night's Best

More: Super Bowl Commercials 2012.

Like every other red-blooded American, we paid just as much attention (if not more) to last night's Super Bowl commercials as to Super Bowl XLV itself. Which ads won the night in the SB Nation newsroom? Curiously, they all had to do with cars:

1. Volkswagen, "The Force."


The acclaim for this ad was so strong in the week leading up to the Super Bowl that, this being the internet, a vicious backlash is almost inevitable. If it's coming, however, it's not here yet. Even the truncated version that was broadcast during the game had grown men giggling and cooing. Top score to our Super Bowl winners: VW, Deutsch LA, and that pint-sized Darth Vader who stormed into America's hearts.

2. Chrysler, "Imported From Detroit" featuring Eminem


At least one of our editors had this one tagged as the year's best. He's not alone: This morning, the Chysler 200 is sitting pretty atop Google Trends.

3. Audi, "Release The Hounds."

We can't believe anything featuring Kenny G is this high on our list, but Kenny G as a psychological weapon is something we'd never considered. Bravo, Audi. Bonus points to Kenny himself for a cameo at the end.

4. VW, "Black Beetle."


The use of insects is always a tricky line to toe, particularly when they're not cutesy to begin with, but VW's use of an actual beetle to stand in for the car is an inspired touch.

5. Kia, "One Epic Ride."

Here's a high-budget, big-spectacle ad that somehow doesn't come off as obnoxious or pretentious in the least. Truly an astonishing feat.

Over to you, dear readers: What was your favorite ad of Super Bowl 45? One of these, or did we miss out on a sleeper? Cast your vote in the comments below.

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