Watch the tech world’s best Super Bowl ads

The verdict is in: Super Bowl commercials this year weren’t exactly sparkling, but a few tech companies managed to get good buzz from consumers and critics alike.

Perhaps no surprise, the fan favorite was the Budweiser spot featuring the friendship between a puppy and a horse, according to a list of Tivo’s most-watched ads. But viewers gave the No. 10 spot on that list to Squarespace, a Web site-building service, which drew a lot of attention for its frightening visualization of what the Web has become.

RadioShack’s “Dear John” letter to the 1980s earned the seventh spot on TiVo’s list, as well as critical praise from advertising experts who said the company did a good job of showing it knows exactly what challenges it faces to mount a comeback.

“I love it when brands know who they are, who they’re talking to, what the benefit is and are honest about it.,” said Shane Hutton, founder and creative director of Arcana Academy and a panelist on McKee Wallwork + Company’s yearly Ad Bowl. “RadioShack hit on all four of those cylinders.”

TurboTax got a nod from Ad Bowl panelists for its “Prom” commercial, sympathizing with the vast majority of football fans whose teams weren’t playing in Sunday night’s big game. Rather than mope on the couch like a guy who didn’t get to take the girl of his dreams to the prom, the ad said, the rest of us should go online, do our taxes and get our rebate checks.

“Very clever and entertaining, trying to capture the audience whose teams did not make the Super Bowl,” Serena Lyons, director of marketing and business development for Lovelace Health System, said on the Ad Bowl Web site. “What was most surprising was the spot was for Turbo Tax. I did not see that coming.”

T-Mobile — in its push to get mobile users onto its more flexible, no-contract smartphone plans — convinced free agent quarterback Tim Tebow to make fun of himself and his inability to lock down a contract of his own.

As one of his former teams, the Denver Broncos, struggled on the gridiron, Tebow looked particularly gleeful while showing off all the great things he’s been doing with his new-found spare time, off-contract.

Another surprise came courtesy of Intuit QuickBooks, which foot the bill for an ad from toymaker GoldieBlox . The company, which got its start on Kickstarter, designs toys to inspire girls to get interested in engineering and technology.

The spot featured girls blasting their pink, frilly toys off in a rocket ship with a cover of “Come on Feel the Noise.” It was a big win for a small business, but it may have been confusing for some — the ad didn’t really explain what the product itself actually is.

Microsoft pulled at a few heartstrings with its emotional ad showing the potential that technology can unlock. But its placement in the fourth quarter of one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history meant that fewer people saw it on the air.

And, of course, if wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without a commercial or two from domain name registrar GoDaddy.

This year, however, the company’s two ads bore no resemblance to the racy , innuendo-laden ads of past years. Instead, GoDaddy focused on how the company supports small businesses, with one ad featuring a woman who quits her job to start her own puppet-making business.

Does that mean that GoDaddy is actually growing up? Could be. The company still showed off a lot of skin in its other spot, which took second place on TiVo’s list, but it wasn’t in a suggestive way. Instead, the ad featured a throng of body builders desperate to get to a woman’s small spray tan business — presumably because her Web site was so good.

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What was your favorite Super Bowl ad? For more recaps on the game — and the commercials — check out The Early Lead in The Post’s sports section.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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