The line that came to mind while watching some of Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials was uttered by a sage who played in more big games – albeit in the World Series – than any other U.S. athlete. “It’s déjà vu all over again,” Yogi Berra once noted.
In the days before Super Sunday, several advertisers used the Internet to float commercials in bids to get their $116,000-per-second worth. Yet, there still were some game-day surprises and the requisite attempts to ignite controversy. Here are some of more notable (and durable) commercials to emerge from Super Bowl XLVI:
Watching Bueller’s Back
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” has earned repeated viewings. We can say the same for this ad in which Matthew Broderick revives his lovable teenage rebel character – even if it’s a little depressing that he’s now happier with a Honda CR-V than a Ferrari.
U.S. & World
Clint Eastwood's raspy voice of authority, both more gravelly and emotionally powerful at age 81, delivered a halftime pep talk, reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" ad, that invoked Detroit's in-progress comeback and a nation in need of a rebound. "It's halftime in America," Eastwood declared. "And our second half's about to begin." The spot, for Chrysler, ostensibly is nonpartisan, but likely will be dissected for days to come amid election year wrangling.
Keep on Truckin'
Chevy started down a rocky road with its initially stark Mayan-inspired post-apocalyptic spot in which it turns out Earth's only survivors drive Silverados (sorry, Ford owners). The Twinkie in-joke kicker added a final sweet dollop of humor that rescued the ad from tastelessness.
Met Life plucked the heartstrings of childhood by giving us in 30 seconds the biggest collection of cartoon favorites – from Charlie Brown to Fat Albert to Mr. Magoo – to appear on screen together since "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" hit theaters nearly a quarter-century ago. Part of the lure of the feel-good spot is going back to see who you missed the first time around.
May the Farce be With You
Volkswagen went to the dogs for its heavily hyped, latest “Star Wars”-themed Super Sunday ad. The spot doesn’t quite have the, um, force, of last year’s instant classic. But the return to the Catina scene from the original film makes this commercial a worthy sequel of sorts.
No Car For You!
Sure, Acura’s amusing ad boasted Jerry Seinfeld and a punchline cameo by Jay Leno. But it’s worth watching again just to see the return of the Soup Nazi.
Pepsi also invokes the Soup Nazi – “No Pepsi for you!” – in the form of Elton John as a cola-controlling despot who might remind you just a bit of Simon Cowell. The ad doesn’t quite hit the spot, but it’s fun to see John camp it up and the cameo kicker, with Flavor Flav, is timeless.
GoDaddy's latest attempt to stir up controversy with faux naughtiness gave us a literally painted lady, while H&M tried to score by showing off David Beckham's tattooed body. Between the two ads, there's plenty to talk about – and leer at.
Twilight High Beams
Audi’s clever "Twilight" spoof gets points for poking fun at a pop culture phenomenon without relying on celebrity-driven gags. The killer ending is a hoot, even if we saw it coming.
Kia’s music video-style “Mr. Sandman” dream spot featuring Adriana Lima and Motley Crue effectively combines testosterone-and-estrogen-driven fantasy and humor, if not in equal proportions.
Perennial Super Bowl advertiser Budweiser didn't have its most super Sunday, though the "End of Prohibition" and "Eternal Optimism" spots proved visually alluring. The beer-fetching dog deserves a pat on the head.
The Hulu commercials staring Will Arnett offered a winning mix of 1950s sci-fi kitsch and TV catchphrases from "South Park" to "The Tonight Show." Fans of "Arrested Development" were treated a deep-reference in-joke courtesy of Arnett's pre-kickoff ad declaration about his "$3,000 suit."
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.