ARLINGTON TX - FEBRUARY 05: A Green Bay Packers fan videos the outside of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

2011 Super Bowl Commercials: A Look At The Highs And Lows

The best part about the Super Bowl may just be the commercials, an event in itself. Volkswagen may have already won the award with its Darth Vader kid commercial, leaked earlier in the week.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Groupon Pulls Controversial Ads After Negative Feedback

During the Super Bowl, Groupon, a discount company that relies on participation benchmarks to trigger coupons, aired a few controversial ads making light of hot-button issues such as Tibet. The backlash they received, however, forced the company to pull the ads on Friday while apologizing for the controversy created. The Super Bowl commercials were meant to draw attention to causes Groupon was raising money for, but instead left many offended, wondering what the point of the ads was.

CEO Andrew Mason released a statement on his blog on Friday, apologizing for the confusion and vowing to pull the ads immediately.

We've listened to your feedback, and since we don't see the point in continuing to anger people, we're pulling the ads (a few may run again tomorrow - pulling ads immediately is sometimes impossible). We will run something less polarizing instead. We thought we were poking fun at ourselves, but clearly the execution was off and the joke didn't come through. I personally take responsibility; although we worked with a professional ad agency, in the end, it was my decision to run the ads.

The Tibet ad, which came under fire almost immediately, can be seen below. Is it controversial and in poor taste, or is there a deeper meaning to the commercial, meant to plug Groupon's discount while attempting to raise awareness about Tibet?

The commercial raised $500,000 for the cause, making it somewhat of a success, at least. The American public will still use Groupon and, perhaps, knows more about Tibet because of the commercials. The latter is debatable, but the issues, spurned on by the Super Bowl commercials, were a hot topic of conversation on the Monday after the big game. That has to count for something.

Groupon becomes the second company to yank commercials that debuted during the Super Bowl, joining HomeAway's "Test Baby" spot.

For more on Sunday's ads, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: Eminem, Chrysler May Have Budding Relationship

The Chrysler 200 Super Bowl commercial was an unmitigated success on Sunday in its one and only showing. Now, though, Chrysler is looking to capitalize on the success, bringing in Eminem, star of the commercial, for a meeting to discuss future options. Eminem made a brief appearance in the commercial, though his music was a big part, yet stole the show, with much of the buzz centered on the rapper on Sunday and Monday.

The Detroit Free Press reported the meeting, set to take place on Thursday.

The Detroit Bureau, an automotive industry news Web site, is reporting that Chrysler’s top brand executive and Eminem will meet today and might discuss the possibility of additional commercials in the future.

Eminem was the surprise celebrity star of Chrysler’s well-received two-minute Super Bowl commercial for the Chrysler brand and its Chrysler 200 sedan.

The Super Bowl commercial was a one-shot deal, with the ad only airing during the game and never again. Chrysler, however, had already planned to use Eminem’s music in future commercials, but all that could change. Instead, the Detroit rapper could be making cameos after his successful venture into the commercial foray with Chrysler during the Super Bowl.

It works for both Chrysler and Eminem, who each stand to benefit from a business relationship. Eminem was a big part of Chrysler’s success during the Super Bowl, and is also in line to receive a nice paycheck should he parlay that success into a longer-term deal.

As you can see, a successful Super Bowl commercial can have an effect long after the game ends and buzz dies down for both stars of the commercials and the companies themselves. Those ad dollars can pay off quickly when a commercial hits the big-time, which plenty did this past weekend.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Bud Light, Doritos Win USA Today Ad Meter Rankings Again

The masses said one thing on Sunday, but USA Today's Ad Meter said another about the Super Bowl commercials. While the Chrysler 200, Volkswagen Darth Vader and Volkswagen Black Beetle commercials all generated significant buzz and increased traffic to each car manufactures website, it was the same old story as far as winners go according to USA Today. Once again, the lowest common-denominator rules, with Bud Light, Pepsi Max and Doritos generating the most positive feedback.

According to the Ad Meter survey, the Doritos pug commercial and Bud Light dog sitter spot brough in the best ratings during the survey, unofficially making each winners. You can see the ads here and marvel at the genius of them all -- if there were anything redeeming about either commercial.

So which wins? The same, tired commercials from Bud Light and others or the car commercials that didn't stoop to low-levels for cheap laughs? After a while, there has to be a point where the same types of Super Bowl commercials get old and the public gets tired of the same brands dominating the landscape with the same commercials. To me, this year felt like that point.

For more on the ad campaigns, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Homeaway Apologizes For 'Test Baby' Commercial

It’s not a Super Bowl, apparently, until a company is forced to apologize for a commercial that goes too far. Taken aback by the backlash triggered by it’s “Test Baby” commercial, Howeaway issues a formal apology on Monday. The ad featured a flying, life-like doll that splatters against a window before sliding to the floor. It was more shock-value than substance, and ended up a loser in the commercial wars.

The apology, passes along by SB Nation, is almost laughable just because of the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

We do not believe the ad will result in an increase in violence towards babies, just as last year’s Super Bowl ad featuring Betty White didn’t lead to an increase in elderly women being tackled in parks. However, we feel we made a mistake in judgment, and for that all of us at HomeAway are truly sorry.

So it’s not actually an apology, but it is publicity — and that’s always good. There’s no way Homeaway believed a commercial featuring a flying baby would result in toddler-related violence, but here we are. If nothing else, people are still talking about the company, and commercial, likely making this a net win, no matter how much Homeaway has to apologize.

For more on Sunday’s ads, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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Super Bowl Commecials 2011: Ralph Wiggum Loves The Seahawks And We Weep

The NFL rolled out its own Super Bowl commercial on Sunday, connecting various sitcom characters to NFL teams -- well, except one. From the Simpsons to 90210 to South Park, almost all of America's favorite TV shows of past and present make an appearance. Of course, the Seattle Seahawks were represented, but not exactly in the most flattering way.

Take a look at the commercial and see if you can spot the Seahawks fan. Pay close attention around the 49-second mark.

Did you find it? Lost in the shuffle of Simpsons characters is the Seahawks fan. Yes, it's Ralph Wiggum, of course. The NFL decided to represent the Seahawks with the paste-eating, "me fail English, that's unpossible" kid. After making the playoffs with a losing record and upsetting the New Orleans Saints in the first round, it's clear the NFL isn't thrilled with our team, solidified by the choice of characters here.

SB Nation Bay Area put together a full list of characters and their corresponding teams if you'd like to take a look at the connections between each. I don't know that it means anything, but it is kind of funny that the Seahawks get the Ralph Wiggum treatment.

For the best and brightest ads from Sunday, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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Darth Vader Super Bowl Commercial: Behind The Scenes Video As Hilarious As The Ad

Volkswagen hit a home run with its Darth Vadar Super Bowl commercial, a video that's gone viral on Youtube to the tune of over 14 million views in the last week. The commercial featured an adorable kid dressed as Darth Vader, trying to use the force around the house on normal, everyday items. A quick keystroke on the Volkswagen Passat's keyring starts the engine and poof, mission accomplished.

The star of the show was Max Page, the kid dressed as Darth Vader. His story, which was released after the Super Bowl, was as outstanding as the commercial itself. And now, Volkswagen released the behind-the-scenes footage and outtakes, which rival the polished commercial on the cute-comedy scale (via Darren Rovell on Twitter).

Volkswagen knocked this out of the park in every way. From leaking the commercial early to picking not only a great actor, but a great story to releasing the behind-the-scenes footage to keep the buzz going, it's been a huge success.

That and it's just well-made and highly-entertaining. I can't stop watching the commercial and, now, the outtakes.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Darth Vader Kid Max Page Has A Heart-Warming Story

Many wondered who the kid was in the Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial last week and today we got our answer. Not only was the Volkswagen commercial great, but the story behind it was even better. You see, the kid playing Darth Vader -- and doing a dang good job of it, if I may say so myself -- is actually a heart patient. Max Page was diagnosed with a heart defect early in life, but appears to be on his way to a normal life -- one that just got a bit more famous.

SB Nation had the story behind the ad earlier on Monday, and it makes the whole commercial and everything about the ad campaign perfect.

Totally cute, right? Well, it gets even cuter: The boy who plays little Darth is six-year-old Max Page, who is a heart patient at the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. Max was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot - a heart defect - at four months old. His doctor says his long-term prognosis is good. "He can essentially have normal activity and with careful care, a full life is a reasonable expectation

Amazing, right? You bet it is. Max does an excellent job pretending to be Darth Vader, right down to the "punchline," if you will, when the car starts and startles him. Without saying a word, Max steals the show with his exaggerated motions and ability to mime Vader.

And, of course, it's always worth another watch.

Based on the whole package -- the great commercial, the great child actor and the story behind it -- Volkswagen comes out a big winner

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Doritos Super Bowl Commercial Funny For A Second Before Going Overboard

The first Doritos Super Bowl commercial took a standard chip-based joke and went so far overboard, it killed the ad. Licking the chip residue off ones fingers is something everyone can understand and laugh at, but by the end of the Doritos ad, it was so creepy, it left many shaking their head while feeling squeamish. For that, the ad fails, and does so in spectacular fashion.

If the commercial were to stop right after the "mmmmm, cheese" part, it might have been fine. Instead, though, Doritos went for shock value with pants-sniffing, and whiffed -- literally.

No dice, Doritos. We saw with the Chrysler 200 commercial, one that was universally praised, that it doesn't take shock to put together a solid Super Bowl commercial. Simply put, it's all about execution over excess that makes a great commercial, and Doritos went way to far into excess.

Like the Pepsi Max ad, the Doritos commercial falls into the loser category, destined to be forgot.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Pepsi Max Super Bowl Commercial Misses The Mark

We've seen the good Super Bowl commercials, with Chrysler, Volkswagen and Audi hitting the mark during Sunday's big game. But, as usual, there were plenty of commercials that swung and missed, offending the masses or just missing the mark in general. Among the subpar was the Pepsi Max Super Bowl commercial, a foray into domestic violence and physical comedy that, well, just wasn't good at all.

Here's the commercial, which begins with a wife beating her spouse and ends with a Pepsi Max can used as a projectile to injure an attractive jogger.

Overall, it's just "meh." There isn't many redeeming qualities to it at all. Between the domestic violence, the racial undertones and the way it ends, there's just nothing good about it all. The commercial drifts from terrible to abysmal with the stereotypes reinforced, as pointed out by SB Nation Atlanta, and was an ad better left on the cutting room floor.

Nice try, Pepsi, but this one is going to take a major cleanup effort to recover from.

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: Chrysler 200, Kenny G Round Out Car Commecial Winners

While Volkswagen unveiled strong and creative commercials, it wasn't the only car company to wow viewers during Super Bowl XLV. Chrysler 200's impressive Detroit-themed commercial and Audi's excellent "Release The Hounds" ad were both stars of the show, as well. While the two commercials did it in different ways -- one with comedy, the other with cinematic grace -- each accomplished its goal in the Super Bowl, coming out winners in the ad-wars.

Chrysler killed it with their commercial featuring some of the best of Detroit, including rapper Eminem. The narrative, music and cinematic skill displayed in the Chrysler 200 commercial were superb, making it a winner this year.

Rounding out the top-flight commercials was Audi's "Release The Hounds" spot, featuring Seattle's own Kenny G. Nothing beats the smooth sounds of Kenny G, and when combined with a hilarious spot, you've got an easy winner.

Car manufactures brought the thunder during Super Bowl XLV, and it paid off. From Volkswagen to the two listed above, it was an all-around effort, and the car genre was a clear-winner in the Super Bowl commercial battle, beating out Bud Light and other staples of Super Bowls past. A job well-done to each for creative, classy andwell-made commercials during the 2011 Super Bowl.

For more on the ads, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Volkswagen Black Beetle, Darth Vader Ads Winners

It was the year of the car company in 2011 as car manufacturers stole the show in the Super Bowl. Volkswagen led the way, with two excellent spots, one of which stole the show all week long. From its Darth Vader spot that went viral to its wildly successful Black Beetle commercial, Volkswagen crashed a Super Bowl party typically reserved for Bud Light, Pepsi and Doritos commercials.

Volkswagen not only stole the show in the Super Bowl; they stole the show all week. With an early release of its Darth Vader commercial, Volkswagen generated all kinds of buzz as the Youtube video of the Super Bowl commercial went viral. The end result was a simple, yet successful commercial.

But Volkswagen wasn't done. Following up on the Darth Vader commercial's success was its Black Beetle ad, another huge hit during the Super Bowl. The commercial never featured the car itself, instead using a speedy black beetle to announce the newest line of Volkswagen Beetles, debuting later this year. Again, it was creative and well-done, a trend for Volkswagen in the Super Bowl.

We'll see how it translates to sales, but for one day, Volkswagen was the story. With plenty of buzz about its products and well-done commercials, Volkswagen came out a winner in a big way in the 2011 Super Bowl.

For more on the commercials, check out our 2011 Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Chrysler 200, Volkswagen Darth Vader Commercials Among The Winners

What does it take to "win" the Super Bowl commercial wars? Is it about being the most creative commercial? Does humor go along way in capturing the attention of the viewing audience? It's tough to pick a winner out of all the Super Bowl ads, many of which elicited laughs and left lasting impressions. Considering how much each 30-second spot cost -- in the millions of dollars -- the Super Bowl gives us a chance to see the best many companies and ad agencies have to offer.

Chrysler 200 was among the no-brainer winners with a Detroit-themed ad. From the beautiful narrative to Eminem playing in the background, the ad was perfectly Detroit and beautifully done. Check out the video below, from SB Nation's Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

Nailed it. The Chrysler commercial was dead-on and easily among the best the Super Bowl had to offer.

Another car company, Volkswagen, came out a winner, both in the Super Bowl ad-wars and Super Bowl week. Volkswagen left little mystery to their Super Bowl commercial, leaking it early of the week in a brilliant campaign. The video went viral, with tens of millions of views before the Super Bowl even began.

I'm not sure it'll ever get old. Between capturing an American classic -- Star Wars -- and using an adorable Darth Vader wannabe, Volkswagen put together an amazing commercial that generated a significant amount of buzz all week. It was tasteful, classy and executed well.

Which other commercials stood out for the right reasons? Which left lasting impressions and accomplished the goal of every Super Bowl ad?

We'll be back with some of the forgettable ads later in our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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2011 Super Bowl Commericals: Bieber And Ozzy Steal The Show

Does anyone else think it's ironic that Best Buy is doing their biggest spot of the year complaining about how technology moves too fast. Don't bite the hand that feeds you guys...

Odd couple commercials always seem to work out. The Letterman and Leno commercial last year was great, and I can't stand Leno. What better odd couple is there in music than Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne

This coupling come off of the famous Ozzy Osbourne interview where he claimed he had no idea who the teen age heartthrob was.

I'm posting this ad for multiple reasons. The first of which is that I thought it was a very good commercial. The second reason is because I know that if I put Justin Bieber in any post, it's like a page hit goldmine. Those Googlers love Justin Bieber. The third reason is because I am a huge Ozzy fan (And I might be a closet Bieber Believer... Just don't tell anyone).

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: How Does Snickers Replace Betty White? With Roseanne Of Course

Snickers has always been know for great commercials, and last year's Betty White and Abe Vigoda ad took the cake. 

This year they went a little bit of a different route. Instead of really old actors, they went with just plain old comedians. Richard Lewis, of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, kicked us off and then Roseanne took it home.

Personally, I think that any commercial that prominently features famously annoying actress/comedian Roseanne Barr getting nailed in the face with a giant log is a winner. If a Snickers will stop her from... Well... Being her, she should have a life time supply of them.

For more on the big game, check out our 2011 Super Bowl StoryStream throughout the game. From commercials to scoring drives to the halftime entertainment, we've got all your needs covered. Of course, for more commercials from the biggest day in commercials, stay tuned to this story stream right here.

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: Audi Commercial Features Kenny G, Seattle Native

Unofficially, Kenny G is the first Seattle celebrity to make an appearance in a Super Bowl commercial. Officially, however, he was the first Seattleite to appear in a commercial during Super Bowl XLV, making a cameo in an Audi commercial that aired early in the first quarter. The smooth sounds of Kenny G serenade a upscale prison during a jailbreak attempt as the perfect plan unfolds. Nothing stops the elderly faster than Kenny G.

Of course, he doesn't actually appear in the video until the very end, but his unmistakable music makes the commercial so very Seattle (via SB Nation)

Was the commercial good, great, the best-ever or just so-so? Does it stack up to the Budweiser commercials that have ruled the show? Or the Doritos commercial that left America shuddering after watching a grown man lick the chip residue off another crown man's hands?

For more on the ads from throughout the game, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream. For running commentary on the commercials, jump on over to SB Nation.

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Super Bowl Commercials: Washington State Cougars Gameday Flag Featured In Local Spot

I'm going to assume this isn't a national Super Bowl commercial, but it's still pretty awesome. Undefeated Fans put together a Super Bowl commerical based on the Washington State Cougars never-ending quest to get ESPN's College Gameday to come to Pullman. Fans trek the Cougar flag across the country each and every week during football season, waving the flag on the set of College Gameday. This past season, the tradition reached 100 consecutive shows, a truly impressive milestone.

Check out the commercial, posted on Undefeated Fans' Youtube channel (H/T Rory Pitts).

Not a bad behind the scenes look at what goes on when the Cougar flag takes a trip to Gameday. The tradition has morphed into an event Washington State fans take pride in, waking early every Saturday to see Ol' Crimson flown in the background of Gameday. It's a one-of-a-kind event.

For more ads, check out our Super Bowl commercials StoryStream.

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: Flying Babies, Driving Monkeys Among Early Ad Leaks

Super Bowl commercials are beginning to leak out early, with companies working to get a head-start on the ad-wars that always take place this time of year. Volkswagen already stole the show with its Darth Vader commercial, but plenty of other companies are still vying for the public's attention on Super Bowl Sunday.

First up, the flying test baby from HomeAway. What happens when a real-looking doll goes airborne, smashing into a glass wall before sliding to the floor? Hilarity, of course! (via Jon Bois)

Next up: driving monkeys. CareerBuilder.com went with monkeys again, this time putting them behind the wheel. What's cuter than monkeys dressed like people, crashing cars and going to work with their little monkey briefcases in their little monkey suits? The answer, of course, is nothing (via Jon Bois, as well).

If the early returns are any indication, we're in for a great round of commercials throughout the Super Bowl.

For more of the best ads, check out SB Nation's Super Bowl commercials StoryStream. For more on the game, check out our Super Bowl XLV StoryStream.

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2011 Super Bowl Commercials: Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid Already Wins The Week

Almost as big as the Super Bowl itself are the commercials that pair with the game. Instead of using the break in the action to grab a drink, go to the bathroom or walk away from the TV, the Super Bowl is a rare event where viewers stick around solely for the commercials. With 30-second spots costing companies millions, they get one chance to blow viewers socks off, leading to incredible creativity.

One company has already won the day before it begins, putting out a creative spot and leaking it well before the game itself. The ad, which many have already seen comes from Volkswagen, and features an adorable Darth Vader kid looking to show of the force.

Observe and be amazed (via Rob Neyer at SB Nation)

As someone, I believe it was CNBC's Darren Rovell, said on Twitter, it's one thing to win the Super Bowl ad-war, it's another to win the whole week. Volkswagen did just that, destroying the competition by running a one-minute version of the Super Bowl commercial on Youtube early in the week.

The result was a viral video with over 11 million views before the game even begins. It was brilliant marketing and execution that was incredibly well-received by the public.

Will it translate into sales? That much is unknown, but it has put Volkswagen's name out there and generated a ton of buzz before the multi-million dollar spot airs on Sunday. In that respect, it's mission accomplished -- and accomplished to perfection.

For more a sneak-peek at Sunday's ads, check out SB Nation's Super Bowl commercial StoryStream.

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