(RNN) – For those Super Bowl viewers who can't tell the I formation from I Spy, commercials are the real reason to tune in. This year, the ads were far less thrilling than the Ravens' 34-31 win over San Francisco.
Only a handful of commercials caused much positive postgame buzz from critics, online or among the estimated 111 million viewers.
A big exception was Anheuser-Busch's story of a young Clydesdale and his trainer, called Brotherhood, which was touching enough that a lot of tough guys watching the game probably had to pretend they'd gotten Dorito dust in their eyes.
Chrysler produced a couple of moving ads as well, including a tribute to the military voiced by Oprah Winfrey and a Dodge Ram commercial honoring farmers that included stark images of farmers at work over a poetic, 1978 speech that veteran broadcaster Paul Harvey gave to the Future Farmers of America years ago.
There was no Betty White this year, but celebrities were trotted out to promote brands, including Stevie Wonder, The Rock, Willem Dafoe and Rev. Run.
Some ads generated cries of protest, among them Volkswagen's ad that had non-Jamaicans speaking Jamaican. A Go Daddy ad showing a long, slurpy kiss between supermodel Bar Refaeli and Jesse Heiman as a nerd set the Twittersphere on fire with negative responses that generally regarded it as nauseating.
The commercial drew the ire of MissRepresentation.org, an advocacy group speaking out against the media's objectification of women, tracked via users on Twitter a great many Super Bowl ads, along with Carl Jr.'s latest commercial featuring pretty women eating sandwiches.
And in the spirit of equality, a Calvin Klein ad showing a buff male modeling underwear was also derided as sexist.
However, the commercial that is getting recognized for its creativity was never seen on TV, and is a result of the third quarter blackout. Oreo's advertising company 360i is receiving kudos for posting on the Oreo's Twitter feed and Facebook page of a photo of that read "You can still dunk in the dark" while the lights were out at the Merecedes Benz Superdome for 34 minutes.
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