The Best Ads of Super Bowl XLV

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Aside from being entertaining, Super Bowl ads tend to reflect the cultural and economic climate of the nation. The advertisers during the big game reflect the who's-who of money in America. Where are we spending it? Apparently, on cars. The big surprise last night came from the auto industry - accounting for nearly a third of the spots aired during this year's Super Bowl (leading many to refer to last night's matchup as "The Auto Bowl"). It seems that we're also going to see A LOT of animated movies, which dominated the film ads aired during Super Bowl XLV. Noticeably absent in 2011 were beer (only five spots, all from the same company), credit cards (Visa must've blown it all on the World Cup), and athletic suppliers like Nike, Reebok and Adidas.

Our picks for Best Ad in multiple categories after the jump.

Best Auto Ad: Chrysler 200 - "Imported From Detroit" (Wieden & Kennedy/Universal McCann)

As the opening beat from "Lose Yourself" gradually gains strength against images of industry and perseverance, the narrator of this beautifully shot two-minute ad (an eternity by Super Bowl standards) reminds us that the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fires. Detroit, and America, has been to hell and back, and according to Chrysler, we're all the better for it. "This isn't New York City, or the Windy City, or Sin City. And we're certainly no one's Emerald City." The final message, delivered by Detroit's own comeback kid, Eminem: "This is the Motor City. And this is what we do."

Best Jaw Drop: GoDaddy.co (In-House) "New .CO Girl"

We've come to expect hot women and sexual innuendo from the folks at GoDaddy.com. However, this year's spot threw us for a loop. (And in case anyone was wondering, the face is hers, the body is not).

Best Beer Spot: Anheuser-Busch In Bev "Dog Sitter" (DDB)

Beer is normally a dominating presence in the space between plays in the Super Bowl, but this year alcohol advertisements only accounted for five spots, all from Anheuser-Busch In Bev (yes, this includes actor Adrien Brody serenading a glass of Stella Artois). Humorous ads with animals or babies tend to test well with audiences. However since images of babies drinking beer tend to be frowned upon, Anheuser Busch has long turned to man's best friend for their ad campaigns (remember Spuds Mackenzie?). We particularly like seeing the dogs walk upright in this 30 second spot for Bud Light.

Best Overall: Volkswagen "The Force" (Deutsch)

The Super Bowl has always been a patriotic event, and no one tries to capitalize on "the spirit of America" more than auto manufacturers. Domestics beat the "made in America" horse to death, while foreign brands tout the number of U.S. workers they employed in plants on American soil. This minute-long ad for the 2012 Volkswagen Passat did neither, but rather tapped into the GO U-S-A! mentality with subtlety and style by way of a beloved American film classic that shaped the childhood culture of many consumers in their target market. The message: This car has everything your inner child always dreamed of. Or as Yoda would say, "Cool shit it can do, young Skywalker."

Best Repeat Performance: Bridgestone (Richards Group) "Reply All"

Two of the funniest ads from Super Bowl XLIV came from Bridgestone, featuring screaming people, whales ("

Whale of a Tale

") squirrels, raccoons, owls, and yes, even a screaming grasshopper ("

Screaming Squirrel

"). They returned this year with two more hilarious spots featuring a screaming office worker ("Reply All"), and a beaver that returns the favor ("



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