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February 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The challenge this year for Super Bowl advertisers, whose commercials generally receive as much attention as the game itself, could be summed up with the presumptuous question, “Can you top this?” The consensus among media critics is that they could not. The Wall Street Journal‘s Emily Steel remarked that advertisers “had plenty of fumbles.” However, she singled out for praise two spots created by Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Deutsch LA for Volkswagen’s Passat, a spot that had already been viewed millions of times on the Internet before the game even began. (TV ads for Volkswagen have been hailed for “changing the face of advertising;” the company’s 1959 “Think Small” campaign, created by Doyle Dane Bernbach, is listed at No. 1 on Advertising Age‘s list of the top 100 ad campaigns of the century.) The Journal writer said that ad execs also applauded a spot for Best Buy featuring Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne, a Doritos spot, and one for Pepsi Max. But Los Angeles Times writer Steven Zeitchik wrote that many of the spots for new movies landed with a “thud.” He exempted the spot for the upcoming sci-fi film Super 8, exec produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by J.J. Abrams. “Comments about the commercial were retweeted often and generously,” Zeitchik wrote.