Super Bowl XLV: Best and worst commercials?

Presenting… Your Super Bowl Commercials of 2011, brought to you by Eminem. He LOST HIMSELF in not one but two major ad campaigns this year. During the first quarter, Claymation Eminem quenched his thirst with a refreshing Brisk iced tea; then just before halftime, super-intense human Eminem delivered a cross between a eulogy and a giant “eff you, pay attention” on behalf of the city of Detroit. And you thought he didn’t do commercials.

Meanwhile, Ozzy Osbourne finally had to find out what a Bieber was, Adrien Brody serenaded some crying/orgasmic women (Stella Artois), Faith Hill’s rack is huge (Teleflora), Timothy Hutton is really, really into Tibetan fish curry (, and Kim Kardashian’s ass (Shape-Ups) is ass usual. Plus, so many movie trailers, including J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg’s Super 8, Terra Nova, Thor, Cowboys & Aliens — starring Danny Craig and Indy Ford — Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and a first look at Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. My five favorite commercials, after the break.

Chrysler, “Imported from Detroit” I liked the mystery of this. Was it about effort? American values? People were lifting things and there was figure skating, so it had to be something about drive and determination. Turns out: All of the above. It was about a CAR. Was anyone else getting antsy during the list of cities? “Now we’re from America. But this isn’t New York City, or the Windy City, or the Sin City… and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City. Oh my God, what city is it? Tellllll meeeeeeeeee. And as the suspenseful pause was lifted, Eminem ran up onstage like a regular ol’ guest star on Glee and told us. “This is the Motor City. And this is what we do.”

VW Passat: The “Mini Darth Vader” kid got The Force to open the car… from his adorable dad’s keys! The “whizzing beetle” one for the New Beetle was good, too. Good commercials should never say anything about the product; otherwise, how would we know the product was cool?

Motorola Xoom: In the words of Lucille Bluth, “I don’t know what that is, and I don’t care to find out.” But I’d watch this 1984-inspired, beautifully shot commercial again and again. Four times. Maybe. Whatever, the girl looked like Buffy.

NFL’s “Best Fans Ever”: For the “who cares about football; I just wanna watch good TV” voice in all of us… best brought to life by South Park‘s Eric Cartman: “We can’t miss the commercials!”

House: Fox was really going for it with the House promos, likely because The Chicago Code premieres tomorrow right after it. Subbing in Hugh Laurie’s cane of snark for a “Mean” Joe Green’s jersey was a genius way to update the Super Bowl commercial we all remember even if we weren’t alive. “Want a churro?”

Also worth mentioning:’s talking (internet-commenting, no less) cars, The X Factor‘s ridiculous yet kiiiiiiind of amazing “pieces of Simon Cowell coming back together” spot set to “O Fortuna,” Kenny G.’s willingness to play the punchline again for Audi (Joan Rivers for GoDaddy was somewhat less of a surprise), Chevy’s wise targeting of Baby Boomers with its old folks’ home and Lassie-inspired spots, and Budweiser’s “Tiny Dancer” commercial, alternatively titled No Country for Almost Famous Men.

Burning questions:
–The Coke polar bears have evolved into (or from)………???
–Roseanne gets smacked with a log: So funny you forgot to laugh? (Snickers)
–Richard Lewis? (Snickers)
–Creepier baby: E-Trade talking baby or’s disgusting TEST BABY?
–“Cruze.” Really, Chevy?!

And here’s a handy tool: Check out this year’s Super Bowl commercials streaming on EW here after they air during the game.

What were the best and worst Super Bowl commercials? Name yours in the comments.

Read more:
Xtina vs. Lea: One flubbed her lines, but who did better?
Super Bowl Commercials: See ‘Em Here!
EW’s counter-programming guide
Puppy Bowl VII: Going to dogs?
20 Top Post-Super Bowl Shows
Super Bowl: 10 Halftime Classics
12 Best Super Bowl Ads Ever
16 NFL Stars in Movies

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Comments (397 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    Annie, I think I can out awesome you: I was supposed to go to a Super Bowl party at my friend’s sorority, but that party got canceled, so instead I’m pigging out on pizza roles. Yeah….

    • LOL

      Faith Hill “rack” commercial was the best of the first half.

      • Bluto

        BY FAR.

      • Ktct

        That was the best. Love Glee, but the chevy Glee ad was the worst (yeah, I know it aired during Glee, but it was really bad).

      • JRE

        Yep, it was funny.

        BUT, as a mom sitting between her 6 and 8 year olds I really wish it was on later in the game. I’m not overly prudish, but having to try to explain “a rack” to my kids wasn’t want I was expecting to do on a Sunday night.

      • Mike

        Really the Glee commercial was one of the best. You have to look back at the old commericals from the 40s and 50s –perhaps it was the 60s. They are trying to bring back the hey-day of the company. Good luck to them — thought it was great.

      • P. Williamson

        the ad was terrible. what an insult. Is Faith out of work? out of options? Why would someone like her lower herself. It wasn’t even funny. The kid looked under-age.

    • Bluto

      As of the 3rd Q: 1) Faith Hill, 2) Timothy Hutton, 3) Justin Beiber 4) Doritos #2

      • Dino

        The Groupon ad was offensively bad.

      • Jean

        I agree that the Groupon ads are offensive and tasteless. I imagine they were going for this reaction — any publicity is good publicity, right? — which makes the spots all the more reprehensible.

      • Tony

        I’m sorry, I have to admit that I thought the Timothy Hutton Groupon add was hilarious. Yes, real suffering and oppression is awful and is not funny, but this was not taking a shot at Tibetan people.

    • Tim

      Best: Vader, Bieber, Detroit, Faith Hill, Doritos finger guy.
      Worst: Groupon, GoDaddy, Richard Lewis Snickers, LivingSocial

      • CJ


    • JPX

      It’s not “pizza roles”, unless they’re starring in a movie, it’s “pizza rolls”.

      • diane

        thank you. i am amazedd

    • Jason

      Bridgestone Tires one with the Beaver was funny, but my favorite was Darth Vader kid.

  • Annie Barrett

    Not cool McDonald’s — I wanted the entire population to be bears, a la Berenstain.

    • tracy bluth

      Yeah, that was lame.

      • Rob

        that ad isn’t new, it’s been playing for months

  • Kana

    That McDonald’s ad was disturbing. Bears like humans, not french fries.

  • tracy bluth

    I like the blue team. Because of the sweaters.

  • Annie Barrett

    Did that focusrally commercial just say “Clayton’s bladder is the size of a Snooki?” So Snooki is like a weight/measure now

    • jcarla


      • Annie Barrett

        Oh, sad.

        I am not looking even anywhere close to the TV screen during this weird game part.

      • tracy bluth

        I’m spending the actual game part writing my paper on Chekov. Classy or lame?

      • Annie Barrett

        I’m pretty sure you are spending the actual game part commenting on PopWatch, and that is definitely classy.

    • frencht

      @Annie – “the size of a snowpea” though Snookie would’ve worked too.

    • LP

      aaaaaaaaaahahaha, the size of a Snooki!! I like yours better Annie.

  • sara

    my ears are still bleeding from the sound of Xtina strangling that cat.

    • Annie Barrett

      Seriously. What was that song? Is it like famous?

    • LP

      I hear she messed up the lyrics… I missed it! What did she flub?

      • jcarla

        Our national anthem

      • LP

        haha, I figured that much! I mean, what part (parts?) of the anthem? Or are there just too many to recall?

      • sara

        well she left out the entire second verse. And then it was just a hot mess. Or should I say “meh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh eh essssss…… eh eh esssssss”

      • @Sara

        LOL! That was fantastic!

      • @Sara pt2

        Well done!

  • frencht

    Ok…the Audi commercial was funny, ONLY because KENNY G showed up.

    • Annie Barrett

      yeah. Kenny G: “the confines of old luxury”

    • ChristineOH

      Loved the Audi commercial. Actually worked as a commercial. Some are funny, but then you have no idea what they’re trying to sell you.

    • laylagalise

      I think that this and the beaver commercial were the best of the night by far.

    • Allison

      I have to give Kenny G props for showing up.

    • waya

      The Audi commercial with the old guys escaping was the only thing I really laughed at, but I did like mini-Darth vader. Doritos dud sucking crumbs was the worst, just pervy.

  • jcarla

    “Hack Job” just made fun of all my hours watching HGTV and DIY.

  • Walrus

    These Doritos commercials just…….don’t work.

    • MOVIEgeek

      I loved the one with the dog though. The finger-licking one was strange though.

      • Liz Lemon

        I thought the finger licking one was hilarious.

  • Kristina

    Are the Dorritos commercials supposed to be funny?

    • Marla

      It was disturbing. Does not make me want to buy or eat Dorito’s.

    • Annie Barrett

      Sociopaths probably love them. Wait a minute, I love Doritos too…

    • Heather P

      I liked the Housesitting Doritos one. The finger sucking…yeah, creepy.

      • Betty

        That one was my favorite too.

  • Annie Barrett

    It’s Pepsi MAX? Oh, great, then it IS okay to suffer continuous abuse from my controlling wife!

    • darclyte

      I laughed pretty good at that. The other Pepsi Max was decent too, but the shot to the crotch was seen coming from a mile away, while beaning the jogger wasn’t.

      • LHhung

        Beaning the jogger? I can’t believe that commercial even made it past the first round. It was terrible, racist and offensive. Just think for a minute…. white 40ish people, same commercial, a cute, little african-american girl, same concept, gets decked in the head with the can. Al Sharpton would be on every cable news show demanding we boycott Pepsi.

  • frencht

    the Doritos and Pepsi commercials are all done by independent film and commercial-makers, right?

    • CJ

      yes. I believe of the 5 spots, there were 4 diff. agencies (marketing class assignment)

  • frencht

    so, did Bud Light take a page from Morgan Spurlock?

  • tracy bluth

    Chevy commercial was my favorite so far.

    • LP

      Agreed. I loved the “where did he get a balloon?” part.

      • Jackie

        Ha ha ha, DEFINITELY my favorite so far!! “I didn’t know we lived in a state with a volcano…”

    • Annie Barrett

      I wonder if stressing the “HD” part of “Chevy Silverado HD” has anything to do with them wanting to attract people who are ambivalent about cars but are very into HD televisions. Those can be heavy duty too.

    • ChristineOH

      Yeah, it was cute.

  • Crystal

    The Rock? Vin Diesel? Paula Walker? Cars? Yes, I I’ll be there.

    • Liz Lemon

      I always say I’m not going to watch the next one…but I do…and I shall be watching Fast Five. Even though the title is dumb.

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