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Super Bowl

Super Bowl Poll of Polls: A Clear Ad Winner Emerges

From the Ad Meter to the Brand Bowl, Ad Age's Dashboard of Super Bowl Results

By Published on . 2

We won't pretend to match the sophistication of the typical work by Nate Silver, the New York Times blogger whose meta-analysis of polls and other data regularly provides fascinating predictions -- such as, recently, how historians will ultimately rank President Obama among his peers.

'Farmer' from Ram Trucks
'Farmer' from Ram Trucks

But whether you loved or hated GoDaddy's babe-on-nerd smooch, you will have no problem finding either support or pushback in today's bumper crop of Super Bowl ad analysis. The same is true for most other Super Bowl commercials -- or the ad roster as a whole. So we're going to combine the scorecards and take a stab at the identifying the truest ad winners in yesterday's game.

Over at The Times, ad columnist Stuart Elliott took issue with many of the spots, calling them "by and large, disappointing." The commercials, he added, "represented a missed opportunity for marketers and agencies to demonstrate that they had at least some understanding of how contemporary consumers think and behave."

His favorites included Bud Light's "Lucky Chair" and "Journey," Budweiser's "Brotherhood," Oreo's "Whisper Fight," Taco Bell's "Viva Young" and Tide's "Miracle Stain."

Ad executives and others surveyed by longtime Wall Street Journal beat scribe Suzanne Vranica found more reasons to cheer, particularly for a heart-wrenching ad from Chrysler's Jeep.

As of Monday afternoon, the favorites among voters on The Journal's website were Ram Trucks' "Farmer" in first place, followed by Bud's "Brotherhood," Audi's "Prom," Mercedes' "Soul" and Tide's "Miracle Stain."

The USA Today Ad Meter -- often viewed by a coterie of CMOs as the arbiter of Super Bowl success -- found Budweiser's trainer-and-horse reunion spot featuring the brewer's iconic Clydesdales to be the most popular spot of this year's Super Bowl, with the Tide spot close behind.

The Ad Meter's top 10 start with "Brotherhood," "Miracle Stain" and "Farmer."

Our own Ken Wheaton also accorded favor to the Budweiser spot, with a humorous commercial from Samsung boasting quips from comic actors Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen coming in next. Ken's top ads were, with four stars, Bud's "Brotherhood," Samsung's "Big Pitch," Coca-Cola's "Security Camera" and Tide "Miracle Stain."

Our sibling Creativity picked the five most creative: "Miracle Stain," "The Big Pitch," "Get Happy" and "Live Young."

Bluefin Labs identified the 10 ads with the most buzz in the 45 minutes starting when they first began to air, starting with "Farmer," "Viva Young" and a commercial for "Fast & Furious 6."

And then there were the agency analysts and academics. Boston.com's Brand Bowl found in favor of Volkwsagen, despite the controversy accorded its commercial in the days leading up to the game. Its top 10 is here, led by "Get Happy."

'Brotherhood' from Budweiser
'Brotherhood' from Budweiser

And McKee Wallwork & Co., an independent Albequerque, N.M., agency, has run its AdBowl, a real-time tracker of what consumers are saying about Super Bowl ads, for more than a dozen years. In 2013, the agency found the ad for Dodge Ram trucks featuring Mr. Harvey carried the day. The full rundown is here.

We can come up with meta-winners by assigning scores to fit each spot's top-5 or top-10 rank, counting only those scorecards that put their picks in a precise order (apologies to Ken and Stuart). The winning ads by that measure are Bud's "Brotherhood" in first place, followed by Ram's "Farmer," Tide's "Miracle Stain," Taco Bell's "Viva Young" and Audi's "Prom."

We'll refrain from taking this any further down the lists, where there's less consensus and more reminders that this sort of process is imperfect. (Even Mr. Silver's predictions aren't infallible. His Super Bowl pick: the 49ers. )

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