Best and Worst Super Bowl Commercials – 2012

Welcome to the sixth annual wrap-up of the best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Here are the five best (and five honorable mentions) and worst ads, picked by yours truly. To see each ad in its entirety, click the linked title on each review (thanks to Hulu.).

Epic Successes.

1. Bud Light, “Rescue Dog”. Each time someone yells “here we go”, a dog fetches a Bud Light. Now that’s a rescue dog! (nice plug at the end to help save dogs.)

2. Met Life, “Everyone”. Most of the Peanuts gang were featured in this ad – plus, a lot of Saturday morning stars from the ’60’s, ’70’s and ’80’s. Awesome.

3. Teleflora, “Give and Receive” The night’s sexiest ad with Adriana Lima. Rrrr…

4. Volkswagen, “Dog Strikes Back” Another great dog ad, with a surprise appearance from last year’s Super Bowl Ad star, ‘Lil Darth Vader!

5. Chrysler, “Halftime In America”. When Clint Eastwood speaks to America, you better listen. He says America needs to get back to work. We better do as he says or he’ll “make our day”.

And the rest… 6. “Stunt Anthem”(Chevy/GM); 7. “King’s Court” (Pepsi); 8. “Just My Shell” (M&Ms); 9. “Eternal Optimism” (Budweiser); 10. “Happy Grad” (Camaro/Chevy/GM)

Epic Fails:

1. Go Daddy, “Body Paint” and 2. “Cloud”. A perennial chart-topper in the Worst Super Bowl ad category. The money wasted on these two garbage ads would have been better spent explaining why you guys supported the Stop Online Piracy Act and how you lost a lot of business by doing so.

3. Acura, “Transactions”. Jerry Seinfeld gets screwed over by Jay Leno, a feeling David Letterman and Conan O’Brien know all too well. Only wish Howard Stern was there to give Leno the hose.

4. TaxACT, “Feel The Free”. What does a kid trying to per has to do with selling tax software? This felt like one of those long Family Guy cutaways.

5. Doritos, “Sling Baby”. A little bit too predictable.

Halftime Show: This year’s halftime show featured Madonna, who gave a rather decent performance, even though she mostly lip-synched through her songs (Grade: C+.)  But it was British rapper M.I.A. that stole the show with a not-too-subtle middle finger during the presentation. You can bet this will dominate media industry headlines in the next few days and you’ll hear from the usual suspects (The PTC, Rev. Michael Pflager, etc.)


If you noticed, this year’s Super Bowl ads featured a lot of animals, babes, and sex appeal. Women liked H&M’s David Beckam ad, but the guys countered with Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima – twice (she also appeared in an ad for Kia’s Optima.)

Please. No more Go Daddy, E*Trade, or Career Builder ads with chimps. These weren’t funny the first time around.

This year’s batch of Super Bowl Ads were actually better this year – outside for the five worst I listed and Career Builder, most of the ads were decent. At least nobody got hit in the crotch or got hit with Pepsi Max cans.

John Stamos wished he was chosen to join the cast of Two And A Half Men. Instead, he does a commercial for a past-its-prime yogurt. What a step down.

Further reading/viewing:

– What Super Bowl Ads are the most popular? Check out USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter, now in its 24th year. Remember – the ranking is clearly based on popularity (usually animals and kids), not quality. Case in point: the fifth worst-rated Super Bowl ad on T Dog Media is currently topping the Ad Meter. Gah.

For the sixth year in a row, YouTube is rating the Super Bowl Ads with Ad Blitz and this time, in conjunction with NBC Sports. You can vote, watch, and share your favorite Super Bowl Commercials.

Advertising Age has a page on its site dedicated to Super Bowl Ad coverage.

As usual, there’s always someone bitching about the ads, Super Bowl halftime performance, or anything not related to the game. This year’s crank is Baltimore Sun “TV critic” (and I use that term loosely) David Zurawik, and he explains why the ads and the halftime show sucked, with his Jay Mariotti-like approach (the Sun is owned by the Tribune Co., which explains why Zurawik is always so grouchy in his columns – you’d be too if you had Sam Zell as your boss.)

Looking for past Best and Worst Super Bowl commercial reviews from T Dog Media? I’ve got ’em right here from 2007 (best), 2007 (worst), 2008, 2009, 2010, and from 2011.

And if you want to look at Super Bowl Commercials from years earlier than those, the Museum of Broadcast Communications has a tribute page featuring Mean Joe Greene, the Apple runner with the sledgehammer, Betty White, and more.