Super Bowl

Ad Wrap: Sex and sentiment sell cars, snacks at Super Bowl

Posted February 3, 2013
Updated February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday is the day to give the DVR a rest and carefully plan your breaks from food and friends. It is the one day each year when Americans willingly, even eagerly, watch television commercials.

Major brands have traditionally used the Super Bowl's massive captive audience to pitch new products, boost an existing brand or tease a summer blockbuster. This year was no different as sexy women, cute animals and a surprising number of celebrities endeavored to sell beer, cars and much more throughout the more than four hours of game time.

The stakes are high, with 30-second spots going for as much as $4 million this year. And more than more than 111 million viewers are expected to tune in. 

Memorable Super Bowl ad moments

Wheat Thins debuted a spot where a man dons night-vision glasses to protect his snack chips. In the end, Bigfoot and his neighbor conspire to get them.

Hyundai's first of several commercials, aired right after the coin toss, was the "Epic Playdate." In it, The Flaming Lips provide the soundtrack for a day of family fun that includes crashing a museum diorama. In another spot, an SUV is big enough for the team needed for one boy to back down some bullies. 

The first Doritos spot to air featured a chip-chomping goat who eventually drives his owner to desperate measures. The ad leaves the outcome of their showdown in doubt.

Best of 2013 Super Bowl commercials

Oreo and M&Ms were two brands who bucked the trend to early ad releases. Both debuted ads during the first quarter using humor to tout their sweet snacks.

The red M&M employed Meatloaf's "I' Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" ballad to decline the efforts of a beautiful woman to lick him and back him into a cookie.

In the Oreo ad, the argument over which part of an Oreo is better – cookie or cream – take lace in whispered tones in a library but ends in almost total destruction and an arrest. The whispered, "You have to stop fighting, we're the police," caps the chaos. 

Kayley Cuoco of "The Big Bang Theory," who has been starring in Priceline ads recently with William Shatner, appeared as the Wish Genie for the Toyota RAV4. She grants a mother unlimited need for chocolate, turns her daughter into a princess and her son into an astronaut. In the end, the father who wishes to "lose the old spare tire" is shown running behind the vehicle.

There was eye candy for the ladies, too. Calvin Klein advertised Concept briefs with a simple concept – a sculpted male model and pounding bass. added drama to an otherwise uneventful purchase by putting a car buyer between a wolf and her pup. The point? transactions are less scary and tense than the norm.

Go Daddy uses a universe of accents to demonstrate that even a seeming-unique idea needs a brand and a web presence. A half dozen couples discuss their great idea before the final guy says, "It's a good thing I put it online first," then laughs with his wife on their private plane. The internet hosting service's first commercial, "Perfect Match," allegedly required dozens of takes for a wet kiss between a supermodel and nerd.

Volkswagen's "Get Happy" ad, which used a Jamaican accent to suggest a man's unquenchable joy at Beetle ownership, took some flack when it premiered online, but appeared to hit a chord with viewers.

Sketchers used the example of a cheetah's speed to show the advantage of new GoRun2 sneakers.

Just after Beyonce's halftime show, Jeep tugged at the heartstrings with a commercial featuring military men and women returning from deployments.

When power went out at the Superdome midway through the third quarter, CBS filled the break with ads for E*Trade and the new Blackberry. Claiming, "In 30 seconds, it's easier to show you what it can't do," Blackberry gives a man elephant legs and shows him walking down the street while his clothing burns.

The E*Trade baby offers smart investors ways to spend some of the cash they save on broker fees. A quick slideshow of still images shows the baby at the horse track and, in a Baby Bjorn, running with the bulls.

Bud Light continued the theme of sports superstitions with a new commercial entry, "Lucky Chair Journey," which aired multiple times during the game. In it, a pair of friends take a recliner to a voodoo princess who add her special touch.

Tracy Morgan made his appearance in a third-quarter ad for Mio Fit Water enhancer, proclaiming that change is what keeps America great. "We didn't like the shape of chicken, so we changed it to nuggets," the comedian says.

Kia demanded "Respect the Tech," demonstrating how an enraged female robot gets revenge, delivers wedgies and tosses a man who doesn't give the new Forte its due. In the same break, Psy turned his "Gangnam Style" viral hit into a pistachio anthem.

Those who stuck it out to see the 49ers close the gap in the third quarter were rewarded with the highly anticipated Budweiser "Brotherhood" commercial. A farmer raises a Clydesdale from a colt only to see it go off with the brewer's famous draught team. The reunion of the two after a parade years later is enough to choke up even the most hardcore fan.

Deion Sanders, in a commercial for NFL Network, shows he can still run and jump with the youngsters. When a woman shows doubt that he ever played football, Sanders, in disguise as Leon Sandcastle, makes a name for himself at the NFL Combine and then is picked first in the 2013 draft.

Dodge employed Paul Harvey's "God Made A Farmer" to enumerate the qualities of selfless hard work they hope that viewers will associate with the Ram pickup truck.

Tide proved the winner in a showdown between a male 49ers fan and his wife. The man is riding high on the celebrity of a salsa stain in the shape of Joe Montana on his white jersey, appearing on talk shows and selling merchandise until his wife, in a Ravens jersey does the laundry.

Mercedes-Benz saved its "Soul" ad for late in the fourth quarter, but it was one of the better concepts. Willem Dafoe as the devil offers a man a car "and everything that comes with it" in exchange for his soul. The man considers the perks – screaming women, fame and speed – before he sees the $29,900 list price and shrugs off the deal. 

Through it all, armchair analysts provided an instant critique via social media.


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  • NotUrTypicalAmerican Feb 5, 2013

    The chick slobbering all over the fat nerd was disgusting. I've never seen so many people cringe and turn away from the TV at once. Yuck.

  • carrboroyouth Feb 4, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I think I could come up with a more clever commercial for 3.8 million dollars! Let me give it a shot ;]

  • VT1994Hokie Feb 4, 2013

    It's hard to believe that all of these companies spend 3.8 million for 30 seconds. It doesn't influence me in the least to see the Doritos deal. If I want them, I can buy them. Total waste of money and time. But. Isn't this typical of how the great USA has changed over the years.

  • ellengraham5660 Feb 4, 2013

    I guess it's all about selling because it sure had NOTHING else to offer.....were it up to me, not one red cent would go to any of these colossal nitwits.

  • Terkel Feb 4, 2013

    Thanks, offthegrid! I watched it twice. It was very touching and rang true.

  • eoms Feb 4, 2013

    "you mean like using sex to sell a half time show or Obama using children to push his gun agenda, or the "poor" to push obama care."

    Yup, all of that and all of the above.

  • OGE Feb 4, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Are you that ignorant to think she was lipsyncing?

  • OGE Feb 4, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Yeah my wife and mother in law comented how the half time show was about nothing but sex....yet they LOVED the CK ad.

    The funniest by far was Doritos and the football playing Dads.

    The Jeep ad would have been much better if they would not have felt the need to show us the vehicles(we know what their overpriced Gas Guzzlers look like). If you want to thank the military then thank the military.

  • Coach K is still GREAT Feb 4, 2013

    View quoted thread


  • tayled Feb 4, 2013

    Oreos in the Library was the best. The Paul Harvey Farmer commercial was the most touching.




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