Super Bowl 2012: talking dogs, ticked off grandmas and one heck of a day off

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It’s that time of year again. There may not be any particular festivities to be had, nor anything relative to the typical English viewer’s watching. But when 110 million people tune in to watch a great American past time reach its annual climax, brands are always going to break out the big guns.

Helpful as always, Mashable has provided a roundup of the Super Bowl ad breaks in their entirety; all 52 of them. This year saw themes heavy on nostalgia and all American good time feeling. Budweiser lead the way with their ‘Eternal Optimism’ (not unlike ‘Go on Lad’ from Hovis) followed up by NFL’s ‘Timeline’.

With the pressure of an expectant, competition-high audience to please, most brands fell back on safe themes for guaranteed laughs. Cute kids, animals and failsafe characters featured heavily. Coca Cola employed the tried and tested polar bear shorts, Volkswagon returned with their Star Wars themed spoofs and Sketchers brought us quite possibly the most stylish underdog of all time. Doritos even managed the unholy trio of a talking dog, ticked off grandma and crisp nabbing toddler. The nostalgia didn’t stop at time-travel either, Honda brought back Mathew ‘Buelller’ Broderick for another day off and the celebrity cameos just kept on coming.

There were some gems; Hulu’s ‘Hulabratory’ presented an offering to love at our peril. Samsung proffered even more Apple bashing, whilst managing to slip in The Darkness (sporting some very interesting new facial furniture) and First Bank offered viewers a much needed toilet break (thoughtful). There were also some rather odd choices; Cars.com may have been watching a little too much Men In Black lately.

Overall the emphasis of good times was laid on thick; laughs were easy and messages were simple. However the backdrop of debt and recession was never far away. Chrysler, with the husky tones of Clint Eastwood, used their half time spot to address this concern head on. “It’s Halftime in America” points a spotlight on the one big need behind all of the hyper cheery, optimistic sentiment.

When Eastwood asks ‘how do we win?’ it is all too apparent he isn’t referring to the game.

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