The Brands of “The Bowl”

A huge percentage of Americans watch the Super Bowl solely to experience the incredible commercials. Companies make giant investments in both time and money in an effort to launch campaigns that will catch people’s attention and keep them talking. Plug. live tweeted our opinions on the commercials that ran during the Super Bowl this year, and here are our more elaborate opinions about the ads that were able to break through the clutter.

Chrysler “Born of Fire”

Chrysler took a huge financial risk and ran the first ever two-minute Super Bowl advertisement. The ad tells an inspiring story through its beautiful art direction that hasn’t failed to give me chills even after several viewings.

American car manufacturers have attempted to conjure up patriotic feelings before, but this ad’s resilient undertone coupled with its terrific narration stirs the audience in a new way. The message was tough, focusing on hope and redemption by highlighting a non-polarizing patriotism that would appeal to a widespread audience. The idea of the city as an “underdog” ran through the commercial as a central theme, and featuring Eminem was just the right touch to add the element of beating the odds. The ironic tagline, “Imported from Detroit,” takes a final dig at other manufacturers and evokes a sense of national pride and confidence. An overall success, the message is timely and relevant to the economic recession the country has just experienced, and the ad successfully establishes the essence of Chrysler.

Volkswagen “The Force”

Volkswagen was on fire in regards to their advertising decisions during the game. VW’s first spot focused on a child dressed as Darth Vader, which was heart-warming in a way that wasn’t too cutesy, and concluded with a humorous punch as the boy’s father helped turn on the car with a remote control. This sweet, funny commercial perfectly suits the targeted demographic—families. Young fathers will identify with the Star Wars theme and mothers will love the sweet little boy playing dress-up. The iconic Darth Vader costume and clips from the Star Wars musical score were recognizable enough to catch the audience’s attention and hold it from beginning to end. The ad highlights a benefit of the Volkswagen Passat while associating it with a funny, relatable moment. Overall, this was one of the most memorable commercials from the night.

Volkswagen “Black Beetle”

VW’s second spot made a clever connection between the shape of the new Beetle and the shape of the animal it is named after, keeping this clever link a secret until the “ah-ha” moment at the end. It’s extremely difficult for cars to differentiate themselves in their advertising, especially with so many companies auto companies fighting to advertise during the Super Bowl. This spot impressively stood out from other car commercials, never showing the actual vehicle and only hinting at its shape near the end of a black beetle’s racing trip.

Motorola “Empower the People”

Although Plug. is a team of Mac people, we appreciated the shot that Motorola took at Apple as a market leader without ever explicitly mentioning their competitor.

While Apple has built itself on messages of individuality, Motorola’s ad claims that “iEverything” technology has made Apple users all the same. Motorola successfully positions its tablet as a valuable and unique alternative to the iPad, emphasizing its unique benefits while effectively targeting a competitor. Utilizing the absence dialogue and refusing to clearly spell out their Apple reference, the ad engaged their audience by speaking to them as equals and appealing to their elevated intelligence. Assuming that their audience would understand their reference further emphasized the ad’s key message—break away and think for yourself. The delicate balance between a jab at a competitor and a clear message is beautifully handled in this spot.

Budweiser “Wild West”

Year after year, people love Budweiser commercials. While this year’s spots were not as impressive as those from years past, this ad was unquestionably in sync with their intended target audience—young men. Although the Western theme was overly prevalent in commercials this year, this Budweiser spot was one of the Westerns that was able to break through the clutter. An outlaw shows up to the saloon and asks for a Budweiser, but the saloon has run out. The iconic Clydesdales deliver just in time, and there is a moment of tension relieved by a spontaneous music outburst of “Tiny Dancer.” The song choice is one that will resonate with the target market, hopefully sparking the audience to recall similar laughable times with their friends. The tag, “Grab Some Buds,” is the perfect fit with the rest of the spot’s message: Budweiser is for the man who likes to drink beer and have a good time.

Audi “Release the Hounds”

In this spot, Audi immerses you in a world where the old definition of luxury is a series of prison cells. The ad sets forth a very distinct message about the brand: Audi isn’t a dated luxury automobile. Audi is fresh, new, and yet still uniquely luxurious. Kenny G and the release of the hounds are the perfect finishing touches to the humorous image of old luxury. Audi drives their message home at the end of the spot, presenting the car’s getaway and stating that “luxury has progressed.” Strategically sound and humorously engaging, this spot was true to the essence of Audi.



  1. #1 by Digidave on February 15, 2011 - 2:16 am

    What did you all think of the Groupon ad. I believe that played on the Superbowl too, no


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