Classy Super Bowl spots won the night

With dozens of advertisers crowding TV's biggest night of the year, Bud and Tide stood out, while GoDaddy lost big.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 4, 2013 11:29AM

While the Baltimore Ravens battled the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, another fight played out in front of millions of viewers: the annual Super Bowl of advertising.

Among the commercials emerging as the night's victors are Anheuser-Busch's (BUD) tear-jerking Budweiser commercial and Tide's humorous "Miracle Stain" spot. The winning ads shared the power to reinforce their brands' messages while avoiding cheap humor. 

For marketers, the game offered heady stakes: 30 seconds (or in Chrysler's case, 2 minutes) to reach out to the biggest TV audience of the year. The companies have shelled out millions alone on air time -- this year's game reached a record $3.8 million per 30 seconds -- while also spending millions on special effects, celebrity appearances and production. The marketers need to tell a story that will make viewers cry or laugh, and want to buy their products.

Budweiser's "Brotherhood" succeeded in tugging at viewers' heartstrings with its 60-second story of a Clydesdale and its owner. It took the top spot in this year's USA Today Ad Meter, which has rated Super Bowl ads for 25 years. The spot (seen here) shows a Clydesdale as he's raised from foal to horse, when he leaves to join Budweiser's famed team. The pair later have an emotional reunion, with the horse nuzzling his former owner. Image: Couple on sofa watching television together -- Blend Images, Hill Street Studios, the Agency Collection, Getty Images

"This year the horses return to their rightful role as stars. Weepy, sentimental, nostalgic. I don't care. This is everything I want from a Budweiser Super Bowl spot," writes Ken Wheaton at Advertising Age. 

For the Kellogg School of Management, which ranks Super Bowl ads according to how effectively they support their brands, the winner was Tide's "Miracle Stain" commercial (seen here.) 

The humorous spot shows a man who drips salsa on his shirt, leaving behind a "miracle stain" depicting famed quarterback Joe Montana. 

"Tide really broke through the clutter with a very engaging spot," said Tim Calkins, a professor at the Northwestern's Kellogg School, in a statement emailed to MSN Money. 

Several of the top spots were advertisements that had been kept under wraps until the game. M&Ms, ranked by Kellogg as the No. 2 commercial of the night, wasn't released prior to the game (to see the candy spot, click here), nor was Chrysler's two-minute long commercial for Ram, which was USA Today's No. 3 spot. 

Longer commercials were in vogue this year, as illustrated by the Ram commercial, a paean to American farmers that featured the voice of radio broadcast legend Paul Harvey. (To see the commercial, click here.)

One advertiser widely considered to have lost the Super Bowl was, whose "Perfect Match" advertisement was about as far from classy as one can get. It featured model Bar Rafaeli kissing a geek in an attempt to show how the website domain registrar mixes "sexy" and "smart." (To see it, click here.) 

The ad came in dead last in USA Today's Ad Meter results, and was only one of six commercials to receive a "D" rating from the Kellogg school. 

More on moneyNOW
Feb 4, 2013 2:16PM

The Chrysler-Dodge commercial "The Farmer" was THE BEST commercial of the Super Bowl, and one of the best and most moving commercials we've seen in YEARS ...  and that was the opinion of about 25+ people at the gathering we were at ...


It was LIGHT YEARS ahead of the other goofy dreck that was aired ... 90% of these ads are not even worth watching ONCE ...  Some are simply awful, painful to watch ... WHAT are they thinking ??? 

Too bad these companies can't put all the MILLIONS they invest in the stupid, tacky SB ads into ACTUALLY IMPROVING THEIR PRODUCTS !!!???

Feb 4, 2013 3:24PM
Godaddy should be banned from further advertising... anywhere!!
Feb 4, 2013 1:34PM
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