It’s always tough to compile “Best/Worst” lists of Super Bowl ads because they’re all so different. We’re lumping in brands from various categories, with various target audiences and brand values, so to call something the “best” is a tricky exercise. Instead, let’s take a cue from the Oscars and  hand out some awards in various categories. Because that’s far less subjective, right? Hypocrisy aside, a few disclaimers:

  • This year’s Budweiser Clydesdale spot  has been left off the list because they do one every year and we all say “awwww” and  their brand grows a little bit stronger and I’m tired of talking about it.
  • If your favorite spot was left off this list, then feel free to submit your angry letters to

Most Fun: Bud Light’s “Up for Whatever”

This wasn’t a year for outright laughs, but this spot created its own category for just making me smile. Ian Rappaport, an average guy, gets taken on the night of his life by agreeing to let this girl throw him into a stretch limo. An event as big as the Super Bowl deserves a spectacle like this one, and this spot was the perfect way for Bud Light to launch their new “Up for Whatever” positioning.

Most American: Chrysler’s “America’s Import” with Bob Dylan

Several brands tried to “out-America” each other, but Chrysler won the patriotism contest with the 3rd straight “Imported from Detroit” spot. Coca-Cola and Jeep also tried the Americana-montage approach with very forgettable results. That’s because they didn’t have Bob Dylan, great music, or a killer script. Clint Eastwood, Eminem, Bob Dylan, who’s next?

Most Improved: Go Daddy’s “BodyBuilders”

After years of being unapologetically low-brow, Go Daddy finally makes a spot that’s clearly about the product they make. Well done.

Most Dissappointing: Audi’s “Doberhuaha”

I thought all of the luxury car brands made pretty good spots this year (I especially liked Jaguar’s “Born to be Bad”), but this one was pretty appalling. My kids didn’t even laugh at this one.

Most Heartwarming: Microsoft’s “Empowering”

Microsoft has had some image problems in the last few years, but this was a very authentic look at some of the cutting-edge ways they are helping people. It’s not about their consumer products, but it’s good for their brand image.