Super Bowl commercials 2011: 'Darth Vader', Eminem ads lead field (VIDEO)

Compiled by Ian Saleh
Washington Post Staff
Monday, February 7, 2011; 10:37 AM

Super Bowl 45 was held on Sunday with much attention payed to the commercials during the telecast. Hank Stuever reported on the best and worst:

Super Bowl's commercials - upon which so much of the cultural zeitgeist hangs its hopes - mostly failed to score big. There were a few highlights here and there, beginning and ending for most viewers with a satisfyingly cute Volkswagen ad, in which a child in a Darth Vader costume stomps around the house and tries to use the Force, to little avail, except when he remote-starts his father's Passat in the driveway.

All night long, viewers kept tweeting and otherwise remarking that this was their favorite ad. What? It has no bimbos, no tools, no misogyny, nobody being hurled through plate-glass windows! It's just a kid in a Darth Vader costume. But that's the beauty of it - some years, the best "event" commercials just tell a brief and relatable story, with the careful use of a celebrity (in this case, the Dark Lord of the Sith and his "Imperial March" soundtrack, which can't have been an inexpensive line item on VW's production budget).

Other highlights, at least from where my chip was dipped, included a love-blooms-in-dystopia ad for Motorola's Xoom tablet, an iPad competitor, which gave Apple a slight taste of its own Orwellian medicine; an Audi ad in which a pair of Monopoly-esque fat cats escape from prison; a Chevy Silverado ad in which a pickup becomes a ceaseless do-gooder in the Lassie mode; a Bridgestone tire ad in which a man frantically tries to prevent one of those dreaded, accidental "reply all" e-mail responses; a Budweiser ad in which a Wild West gunslinger leads the saloon in a "Tiny Dancer" singalong.

Hayley Tsukayama reported on the best tech commercials from the Super Bowl telecast:

Somewhere between the Doritos ads and the endless car commercials, tech companies made their pitches to consumers during coveted Super Bowl advertising airtime.

Competing group-discount sites Groupon and LivingSocial squared off, though it's hard to say at this point who came out on top. LivingSocial's gruff cross-dresser was a hit, but Groupon's two ads are generating a lot of buzz and controversy this morning.

The company's play on commercials for charity haven't gone over so well with some people, and are largely being labeled one of the greatest flops of last night's ad lineup.

Poll: How would you rank these Super Bowl commercials?

Beyond the commercials several movies were previewed during the big game, and Celebritology was there to profile all the big screen teasers:

As promised, Super Bowl LXV provided the perfect platform for hyping a number of high profile movies, including "Super 8," "Captain America," "Cowboys & Aliens," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" and others.

So which blockbuster commercial looked the most promising? Let's take a look at a few, then rank them via a convenient online poll.

At the risk of influencing your vote, I must state the following: the trailer for "Super 8" -- which finally showed us an eensy bit more footage from J.J. Abrams Spielbergian epic, yet somehow managed to reveal nothing about the extra-terrestrially focused plot -- made me even more tingly with anticipation for that June 10 release. And based on Internet reaction, I was not alone.

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