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The best of the 2010 Super Bowl commercials

Shane Steinberg | Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Commercials, normally just money-making breathers that more often than not go unnoticed except for the occasional talking gecko, are as much the life-blood of the Super Bowl as are touchdowns and fourth quarter nail-biters.

Chips and six different kinds of dip neatly laid out on the table, we all sit there, our eyes glued to the television screen, as millions and millions of dollars are (wisely or unwisely?) spent for the mere chance to capture the widest television audience of the year. And it’s that golden chance to not merely advertise but have a lasting effect on consumers that pushes companies to create elaborate, interesting, innovative, altogether entertaining commercials — the same commercials that we’ve now made a hobby of watching.

It’s the game that we care about, yes, but it’s the commercials that we stop all else for as we watch in anticipatory silence for our next favorite of the night. And it’s those favorites that we talk about and go on to remember not only in the moments after, but years later.
I still remember my favorite commercials from Super Bowls past, and it’s those standouts, like those from this year’s crop, that justify our infatuation.

With Sunday’s pickings still vivid, here are 10 commercials that stood out from the rest during the triumphant Saints win (sorry Colts fans, had to rub it in).

E-Trade Baby (girlfriend)
E-trade has quickly become one of the staple ad campaigns of the Super Bowl with its hit baby commercial and this year’s follow-up only added to the company’s ad success.

While some might find this pick odd (and the fact that Google even felt the need to advertise odd), this simplistic, heartfelt and perfectly measured love story told in Google searches was the standout of this year’s Super Bowl. It’s quite beautiful actually. It was perplexing and somewhat weird at first, but once it becomes clear what’s happening, Google shows a heart and a creativity that in the end sheds light on just why the company is so amazing.

Monster (beaver violinist)
Yeah, it has kind of been done before, but Monster’s 30-second tale of a beaver whose simple passion for violin eventually lands him a spot as a premiere violinist is memorable in its own right and spells out the company’s mission in a perfectly clear way.

Doritos (boy slapping man)
A little boy slaps his mom’s date and counts down “One, you don’t touch my mama. Two, you don’t touch my Doritos.” The cold stare that followed was priceless.

Doritos (snack-attack samurai)
This was probably the most hilarious moment of the night. It consists of a man dressed in a Doritos-samurai outfit. It’s got the quirky weirdness of a Skittles commercial and the punch of a spicy chip.

Volkswagen (punch buggy)
Volkswagen’s cheery, simple punch buggy-athon capped off by Stevie Wonder getting Tracy Morgan was a nice little laugher. Add to that one of the year’s great songs in the background, “Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear.

Bud Light (Lost spoof)
With “Lost” coming to an end this season it seems only fitting that one of the great Super Bowl advertisers would spoof the castaway’s first moments after the crash.

Hyundai (Brett Favre)
An easy one, yes, but a good point nonetheless. Not to mention one that, at this rate anyway, might come true. Maybe Hyundai is right — maybe Brett Favre will win the 2020 MVP Award — but until then, let’s just stick it out for another 10 retirements.

Bud Light (Autotune)
Bud Light struck comedic gold numerous times throughout the night. This commercial, filled with none other than the Autotune, was a great one. Not to mention T-Pain’s cameo at the end of the commercial (What would he be without the Autotune?).

Bud Light (house made of beer)
A house — made entirely out of beer cans. Enough said.