Flashback: 2013's Super Ads

Check out some big-game commercials worth yet another look – including every geek’s Bar Refaeli fantasy.

Advertisers paid more than $133,000 per second for Super Bowl spots, money that was well spent – at least for those of us watching at home. While the commercial lineup wasn’t as strong as in recent years, a good chunk of the ads proved memorable – even if we already saw many online before Super Sunday. But whether we’ll remember – or buy – any of the products pitched is a whole other ballgame.

For all the creativity and attempts at uniqueness that went into the spots, we noticed some recurring themes. Check out some Super Sunday commercials worth yet another look:
Kiss Off
While Beyoncé generated a pre-game lip-syncing controversy, a couple of the night’s best commercials embraced lip service. Bar Refaeli’s passionate “sexy meets smart” smooch with a nerd while Danica Patrick watched extended Go Daddy’s streak of buzz-worthy spots. Audi’s prom-themed fantasy also deftly combined laughs and lips.
Gimmicks Galore

Part of the pre-game ad build-up involved attempts at social media-driven audience participation. Coke asked the public to pick the winner of its desert race spot, while Oreo wants voters to weigh in – nonviolently – on whether the cookie or the cream is better. And, oh yeah: Axe plans to send a contest winner into space.

Animal Planet
Budweiser's latest Clydesdale spot is a sentimental gem, and is in keeping with the public’s affinity for scene-stealing four-legged creatures. We were treated to ads with dogs, cats, wolves, cheetahs and gazelles (oh, my!). The Doritos-loving goat spot offered a worthy follow-up to the snack company’s homicidal dog ad from last year.

 Kid Stuff

The annoying E*TRADE baby aside, children played a role in a couple of the night's funnier ads, including a Doritos dress-up spot and Kia's look at where babies come from.

Music Videos
Volkswagen inexplicably didn't run its “C’mon Get Happy” spot with reggae Jimmy Cliff, instead going with the lame and borderline offensive Midwestern reggae dude. Still, other ads got toes tapping. PSY brought some "Gangnam Style" to pistachios and a singing M&M got laughs by channeling Meatloaf. Meanwhile, Stevie Wonder twice showed the power of “Superstition” in New Orleans – all in the name of Bud Light.
Celebrity Silliness
Amy Poehler annoyed a BestBuy clerk. Tracy Morgan riffed in a "Patton"-eque ad for Mio Fit. Willem Dafoe teamed with Kate Upton and Usher in a devilishly funny Mercedes-Benz commercial. Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen and LeBron James made fun of Super Bowl ads in Samsung's Super Bowl ad.
Celebrity Seriousness

Oprah Winfrey’s voice cracks with emotion in Jeep’s salute to U.S. military personnel – a spot that puts the Super Bowl hoopla into sober perspective. “We’re more than a family,” Winfrey intones. “We are a nation.”

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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