Looking Back: Best (and Worst) Super Bowl Commercials of 2013

Blackout on the blog today — check back in about 34 minutes.

Just kidding. What a crazy thing to happen during a Super Bowl, right? Not only did the blackout in the Superdome allow the 49ers to recharge a little, it — and this is of paramount importance if you tuned in for the pop culture references more than the game itself — messed with the ads.

During the half-hour blackout, when not filling time with vamping broadcasters, “CBS seemed to repeat commercials that had already aired,” reports Advertising Age.

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“No doubt a fair amount of people — thinking the game pretty much decided, and not knowing how long the outage might last — departed Super Bowl parties at this point and drove home, or just flipped over to another channel,” Slate speculates. (Slate has an amazing rundown of the Super Bowl ads, by the way.) The power outage caused just as much of a delay in advertising action as the suspension of the game — one that might have been irreparable for advertisers.

Then again, smart companies know that Twitter knows no outages. Both Advertising Age and New York Magazine noted how Oreo was able to respond to the situation within minutes with a Twitter ad that said, “You can still dunk in the dark.” New York reports it got 10,000 retweets in its first hour. Tide had a pretty cute Twitter ad up as well.

So, what about those old-school, broadcast-on-TV-for-millions-of-dollars ads? Is it just me, or was there more of a sweeter, heartwarming vein to them than in years past? I mean sure, there are still gross Go Daddy ads and car commercials where everyone from teens to seniors are behaving badly (again, consult Slate’s rundown for more), but I think there was definitely a thread in there designed to pull at the heartstrings.

I mean, the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial is set to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac! You can’t tell me that wasn’t meant to make you feel some kind of non-sports-related emotion.

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And you’d have to be made of stone not to be stirred by Jeep’s “Whole Again” spot:

And don’t forget about the country’s hard-working farmers:

I like this trend. I’d rather see baby horses and trainers and families reuniting than people registering Web sites and making deals with the devil to hang out with supermodels. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to hang out with a supermodel. I’ve just seen enough of those kinds of commercials that they’re lost on me now.

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And that’s not to say that there were no funny spots. I genuinely appreciated this one, which features the Rock (and there’s nary a supermodel in sight):

What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Let me know below.

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