Our Super Bowl Faves: Doritos, Cash4Gold, Pedigree, CareerBuilder


For the first time in many years, the ad blogs didn't live blog the Super Bowl. The reason for the change? Simple. One word: Twitter. With at least four different hashtags (words that let you follow a particular Twitter stream), a cascading waterfall of real-time opinion flooded through for all to see. Thousands of people could live tweet their thoughts in 140 character bits instead of a few attempting to type 3,000 words a minute to publish three stories per ad break.


The Twitter stream we arranged along with AdFreak, AgencySpy and Adland was #superads09. It was near impossible to read every tweet but some information did bubble up. People liked the CareerBuilder spot. They liked the Pedigree ad. They liked the Hulu ad. The like all three Doritos ads. They liked Pepsi's Bob Dylan spot.

They hated both GoDaddy commercials. They hated H&R Block. They hated SoBe Life Water. They hated Toyota's Faces. There was debate over the Teleflora ad which not so subtly made fun of, shall we say, less that beautiful people and just how much backlash that spot might generate.


A service called Thummit asked Twitter users to give each ad a thumbs up or a thumbs down and tallied the results here. Oddly, Bridgestone topped the Thumbs Up list with its Hot Item spot. That was followed by the Doritos remote control spot, Coke's Heist and Monster.

Topping the Thummit Thumbs Down list were, no surprise, GoDaddy's Shower and and Baseball commercials. They were followed by Toyota Faces, H&R Block's Death and Taxes and Cheetos Chester the Cheetah.

Over at the USA Today Ad Meter, Doritos topped the list with Free Doritos (Crystal Ball) followed by Budweiser's Circus, Budweiser's Stick, Bridgestone's Potato Heads, Doritos' Power of the Crunch and Car's.com.


And at Advertising Age, Bob Garfield, while he didn't like it, dubbed the Cash4Gold spot the best since he figures it will have the best ROI with the assumption the economy sucks and everyone will, in fact, send their gold to Cash4Gold for cash. We actually liked that spot purely for it's dramatic difference from your average, run-of-the-mill Super Bowl spot. It stood out and that's half the battle.


Our favorites, in no particular order were CareeBuilder, Doritos Power of the Crunch, Cash4Gold, Hulu, Doritos Snow Globe, Pepsi's Pepsuber, Pedigree, Pepsi Max I'm Good, Coke Heist and, yes, we admit it, the SoBe commercial. The Conan O'Brien Bud Light commercial was funny but the joke is about ten years old. Monster.com just left us with a big whatev.

The GE Scarcrow commercial showed promise until it was bogged down with typical big utility voiceover ruining what could have been a quaint and memorable commercial.


A lot of people liked the Denny's commercial but the stereotypical goomba joke is tired and old and was played out before anyone had ever heard of The Sopranos. Another receiving a fair amount of love was the Mean Joe Green remake for Coke Zero featuring Troy Troy Polamalu. The original spot is a classic. The new spot brings back the Coke brand managers. However, the original ran in 1980 and, classic as it is, not too many people under the age of 35 are going to remember it. That said, it does do OK as a standalone shtick.


The Budweiser Clydesdales were a let down this year. The Clydesdales have become a symbol of pride for both Anheiser-Busch and for America. They are proud, hard working and, in a way, symbolic of American life. To have turned them into silly jokes is just sad and wrong. Remember, these are the same horses that gallantly cantered their way to the New York skyline post-9/11 and bowed in honor of lost America lives.


This year's theme? Getting run over by a bus. Both Jack in the Box and the guy in the Doritos Power of the Crunch get run down by a bus at the end of each of their commercials. Hey, two makes a trend, right?

All in all it wasn't a bad year. It wasn't a standout year either but those are few so we can't complain.

You can see all the ads at Adland, Advertising Age or CastTV.

Let us know your thoughts in comments.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 2-09   Click to Comment   
Topic: Creative Commentary, Opinion, Super Bowl 2009   

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Steve, after using it a few times I am quite certain that the twitter stream was #superads09 and not #superads08 :-)

Posted by: Herbert on February 2, 2009 7:52 AM

Steve, thanks for the mention of Thummit. In addition to updates sent to us, we filtered and analyzed thousands of tweets for positive and negative sentiments.

What will be interesting is to compare these results, which are based on people's first impressions, with subsequent polls & analysis done later.

Also interesting to note that some ads (e.g. Cash4Gold) evoked strong sentiments on either end. People either loved it or hated it

Posted by: Sean Greene on February 2, 2009 10:30 AM

excellent post Steve! Thank you for all the superbowl ad links! Interesting summary based on twitter data!

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Posted by: arthur barbato on February 2, 2009 11:21 AM

The Audi spot:
It's not thinking big unless the creative minds are super small. Creative is too defensive. Too self conscience. Certainly not a leadership message. Technology innovation gets lost. Not sure who the audience is; car thieves, hipsters, urban? This comment is coming from a person who is on her fourth Audi.

Audi advertising in the past few years has become very generic. Audi has become very defensive with its position against BMW, Mercedes, and other high end marques, when it's absolutely not necessary.

The beauty of Audi is its high performance technology and its understated elegance. This advertising will never make me want to buy another Audi.

Posted by: Lisa Larson on February 2, 2009 11:54 AM

No one is talking about Hyundai? I thought they did a great job positioning themselves

Posted by: Paula on February 2, 2009 1:30 PM

Wow, am so glad I wasn't the only one that liked the Doritos spots. The first thing I read this morning hated them:


Posted by: Clay on February 2, 2009 1:49 PM

Bob Garfield has to hate ads like that, It's in his contract:)

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 2, 2009 2:02 PM

I hated it too, and am not paid to do so -- it's "Ow, My Balls!" come to life, and it's very, very sad. What a witless piece of crap; more sad by far is that people seem to like it. If at least it were FUNNY, in a Three Stooges kind of way, but it's just moronic in a dull way.

Posted by: B on February 2, 2009 10:03 PM

Good stuff.

Do you think you're taking those horses a bit too seriously? Bud needed to lighten things up with everything going on right now in America. I didn't like the commercials, but at least they made an attempt to brighten the mood.

Posted by: Bill Tamminga on February 2, 2009 11:21 PM