In spite of overly-inflated production budgets, vulgarity or simple sophomoric humor that are the Super Bowl standard fare, there were two spots that did remind floor covering advertisers of what’s important when it comes to advertising, in this writer’s humble opinion.

Let the debate begin. Almost as essential to the Super Bowl experience as the game are the ads within the game. In 2011 that’s 70+ at a reported $3 million per :30 seconds of air time. This year’s crop was filled with the expected Super Bowl ad clichés: chimpanzees (career builder.com) sleazy sex (go daddy.com) humanistic wildlife on the curvy mountain road (Bridgestone) and others to numerous to mention.

In spite of overly-inflated production budgets (Coke, Kia Optima), vulgarity (Teleflora – what were they thinking?) or simple sophomoric humor (Mini Cooper) that are the Super Bowl standard fare, there were two spots that did remind floor covering advertisers of what’s important when it comes to advertising, in this writer’s humble opinion.

The VW Passat spot that aired just before the end of the first half told a simple family story of make believe becoming reality. A small child pretending to be Darth Vader is seen trying to cast a spell on all manner of things around the house until dad secretly starts his VW Passat by remote control from the kitchen. What does this have to do with selling carpet or vinyl flooring? It demonstrates the power of a simple, well-told story within the context of the home and family life that not only tugs at the heart but focuses on one very desirable feature. One ad, one idea. That’s powerful.

Pepsi Max aired three spots, with the first two being duds. The third came at the beginning of the third quarter and was a redeeming effort. A young couple sits down for dinner and we can hear their thoughts. She’s wondering what he’s like and all he can think about is wanting sex with her until the waiter places a Pepsi Max on the table and his total focus is all about wanting the soft drink. Out of all the commercials that aired, this is the only spot that reminded us of the essential difference between the male and female minds. Getting past the “I want to sleep with you, I want to sleep with you” gag, it reveals quite accurately gender differences … a fundamental understanding required by all who sell flooring to a 90+% female target audience. This spot ranks almost as high as Heineken’s classic “Shoes” spot and I predict it will be shown in psychology classes and sales meetings for some time to come.

Other observations:

Disappointing: The much-hyped-Ford-Focus-Rally-integrated-with-the-web idea. After the kick-off, where’d it go?

Pass the box of tissues, please: The brandscape Michael Douglas narrated and starred in, just before the kick-off. Made even more powerful knowing his battle with cancer. Incredible.

Near perfect Super Bowl spot: The Audi Prison Escape spot in the first quarter. Great story, great satire, great metaphor, amazing production, terrific ending.

Best revelation: The Chevy Eco Facebook Status feature just before halftime.

Most patriotic: Chrysler 200 “imported from Detroit” spot that aired at the end of the third quarter. Beautifully done.

Biggest dud: The halftime performance. Why does the Super Bowl struggle with this every year? Give me a good marching band any day compared to that.