A mini Darth Vader, the E*Trade talking baby and Bieber Fever scored points during Sunday night’s Super Bowl in a game where commercial time largely lacked the laugh level of past years.
Advertisers also had plenty of fumbles. The ad time was dominated by auto makers and film studios, which generally create dull advertising. Several star-studded ads flopped, at least among Madison Avenue peers, including a spot for Snickers featuring Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis that failed to live up to the buzz of last year’s Betty White ad.
Some ads featuring Super Bowl ad icons, such as CareerBuilder’s chimpanzees and the GoDaddy.com girls, felt stale, ad executives said. And fast-growing Internet firm Groupon Inc. stirred controversy for an ad depicting Tibet.
Volkswagen AG was one of the few auto advertisers able to break the mold for the often dull car category. It had a “Star Wars”-themed spot in which a little boy dressed in a Darth Vader costume thinks he has discovered the “Force” to start a 2012 Passat in the driveway.
The ad, which captured pregame buzz with more than 12 million views and more than 10,000 comments online before kickoff, was one of two spots for Volkswagen AG’s VW created by Interpublic Group of Cos.’s Deutsch LA.
Sunday night’s game featured ads from more than eight companies in the auto category, including General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet brand, Volkswagen’s Audi luxury brand,Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, BMW of North America, and South Korea’s Kia Motors Corp. and sister car maker Hyundai Motor Co.
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