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Superbowl XLVI Ads: Winners and Losers

Over dinner tonight with three colleagues, the conversation quickly made its way to the commercial breaks at yesterday’s Superbowl. We agreed on handful of favorites: Both Doritos spots (Man’s Best Friend and Slingshot Baby), the debut of Ms Brown for M&Ms, Clint Eastwood’s Halftime in America for Chrysler, and Matthew Broderick’s day off with a Honda CR-V. We could agree that GoDaddy’s ads were the worst. But in between there was no consensus. So I thought I’d seek out a scientific approach.

Facebook and USA Today teamed up on the Ad Meter, a broad-based poll that’s still collecting votes as well as a panel of viewers who logged their preferences as they watched. The Ad Meter’s top 5: Doritos (Slingshot Baby), Kia, Bud Light (Weego), M&Ms and Doritos (Man’s Best Friend). The worst 5 included two GoDaddy spots and two Bud Light Platinum spots.

Ace Metrix, a company that specializes in research on TV ads, applied a numerical score to each Superbowl ad. I can’t vouch for its methodology, but the company’s website says they “defined the concept of Creative Lifecycle Management” (with a trademark TM), which sounds impressive. Doritos, Clint Eastwood, Ms Brown and Matthew Broderick all took top spots — with those boring if mildly cute Coke polar bears also grabbing two of the top 10 spots. Among the worst 10, according to Ace, were three from Budweiser, one from Bud Light (Platinum), H&M (David Beckham), and that odd Century 21 spot that seemed to imply Donald Trump is one of the world’s smartest people.

The Boston.com / Mullen Advertising collaboration called Brand Bowl 2012 measured the twitter buzz. While the Doritos ads racked up the biggest numbers, Ms Brown won the sentiment contest, with more than 41% of tweets about her spot saying something favorable. (If you’re a size-matters type of person, David Beckham’s spot for H&M finished second after Doritos in total number of tweets.)

Michael Learmonth at Ad Age pursued a different angle. Forget about the in-the-moment indicators such as buzz and tweets. Which ads did we like so much that we sought them out online to watch them again? If that’s the measure of success, Honda blew Doritos away. And the much-hyped VW’s Dog Strikes Back — which landed 14 spots down on the Ace survey, and #6 by Ad Meter — heads into the online competition in the #2 position, spitting distance from the trophy.

Teaser Ads for Honda, JCPenney, Century 21

I love Matthew Broderick and all, and it’s a fun idea for Honda to bring back Ferris Bueller (now driving a CR-V instead of his friend’s dad’s Ferrari), but is it such a good commercial that I want it to be two-and-a-half minutes long? Not really. But what’s length matter, I guess, if the teaser and leaked commercial attract a few million viewers on the web in advance of its Superbowl debut.

Speaking of teaser ads, what’s up with the new JCPenney campaign?! A brand new CEO plucked from the senior ranks of Apple and the company screams at us for 30 seconds? Oh dear. (More here.)

And this one from Century 21 featuring Deion Sanders. I can hardly wait for the third quarter.

200 Brands With the Largest Ad Budgets

Would you have guessed that Chevy spends more than Ford or Toyota? Or that Macy’s spends more than Target? Other rankings that surprised me: Arm & Hammer spends more than Gatorade, Kia spends more than Volkswagen, and Ashley Furniture spends more than Ikea.

Check out this great infographic that ranks the top 200 brands by the size of their 2009 and 2010 ad budgets.

Top Auto Ad Spenders

The top two in each category (first, second):

Auto: Chevy, Ford
Retail: Walmart, Macy’s
Apparel: Skechers, Nike
Telecom: AT&T, Verizon
Restaurants: McDonald’s, Subway
Food and Beverage: Coke, Campbell
Beer: Budweiser, Miller
Cleaning Products: Tide, Clorox
Financial Services: American Express, Chase
Beauty and Personal Care: L’Oreal Paris, Olay
Insurance: Geico, Progressive
Consumer Electronics: Microsoft, Apple
Media: DirecTV, Dish Network
Drugs: Lipitor, Cialis

Cadbury Tumbles: So Good They Break Even the Best Rube Goldberg Machine

A Rube Goldberg machine in a commercial certainly isn’t a novel idea (see Honda’s), but I give Cadbury credit for delivering one that fails.

Boing Boing Explains How Publications Take Ads Without Compromising Editorial

Coinciding with the launch of a new sponsorship program on Boing Boing (Microsoft’s sponsorship of mobile posts), Boing Boing founder and editor Mark Frauenfelder explains how his site can accept ads without corrupting the site’s editorial integrity. Turns out, the approach at Boing Boing is a lot like the approach at NY Times, the BBC and CNN.

Mark Frauenfelder Explains

Honda Targets Ads to Tag Clouds

As part of their “Power of Dreams” campaign, Honda has roadblocked pages of Boing Boing that are tagged innovation, environment, and safety. It lets Boing Boing do what it’s always done — create a quirky “directory of wonderful things” — while connecting the Honda brand with an authentic conversation about themes core to its identity.

Boing Honda

Make is part of the fun, too.