Worst Super Bowl Ads of 2013: Pepsi and SodaStream Fell Flat

×
Pepsi NextSuper Bowl commercial slots were selling this year for around $3.8 million for 30 seconds, which meant it was possible for brands to waste a whole lot of money in a very short time if their ads fumbled the message. And that's exactly what a few advertisers did last night.

Every year, Boston.com holds the Brand Bowl, an attempt to determine which Super Bowl commercials were most effective. This year, it joined forces with analytics firms PointsLocal, which counted how many tweets each brand garnered during the game and then approximated what percentage of those tweets were positive about the brand's ads. At the end of the night, each brand got a buzz count measuring how much people were talking about it, and a sentiment rating measuring whether people actually liked their Super Bowl commercials.

The big winners on buzz were Volkswagen's "Get In, Get Happy" ad (which attracted some pre-game racial controversy) and Bud Light's Stevie Wonder ads, each of which scored more than 86,000 tweets. On sheer sentiment, the big winner was Taco Bell: 81% of users gave its "Viva Young" spot high marks.

But what about the losers?

At the top (or bottom) of that list would be SodaStream. The homemade soda machine tried to gin up some pre-game buzz by talking up an commercial that CBS rejected for attacking Pepsi and Coke. But that controversy wasn't enough to get people talking about the ad it ran instead: Only 158 tweets mentioned the brand.

Soda Stream


Another big loser was Beck's Sapphire, a new beer from Anheuser Busch InBev (the same beer giant that makes Budweiser and Bud Light). The perplexing commercial featured a black goldfish swimming around a bottle of the beer and singing Blackstreet's 1996 hit "No Diggity." Not only did it garner very little buzz, it also got poor reviews: Just 57% of users had something nice to say about it.

Beck's Sapphire - No Diggity


It wasn't the most poorly received brand at the 2013 Super Bowl, though. That dubious distinction goes to Pepsi, which despite sponsoring the well-received halftime show fell flat on its face when it came to the commercial component of the evening. The brand's spot: Parents break up their kid's house party, kid gives them a Pepsi Next, and the parents are so impressed by the "real cola taste" that they forget how mad they are about the party. It was a forgettable and unoriginal spot, and just 54% of viewers had anything nice to say about it.



Another dud came courtesy of Subway, which ran an ad congratulating Jared Fogel on the 15th anniversary of his diet and another showing a bunch of celebrities trying to pronoune "FebruANY." We like FebruANY as much as the next sandwich lover, but the ads didn't knock America's socks off: Just 59% of viewers liked what they saw.

Subway (Februany)


Finally, Wonderful Pistachios decided to jump on the "Gangnam Style" bandwagon just as everyone else was getting off. Putting Korean pop sensation Psy in a commercial might have made sense a few months ago, but at this point the craze has died down considerably. Just over 4,000 people thought it worth mentioning on Twitter, and just 60% had anything good to say about it.

Wonderful Pistachios


But in our humble opinion, even the good ads weren't all that great. Dodge's Paul Harvey-narrated "God Made a Farmer" ad attempted to capture the spirit of Chrysler's "Imported From Detroit" spot from a couple years ago, and while it got high marks from viewers, we don't think people will be talking about it for months like they did with Chrysler's spot. Likewise, we got a kick out of Volkswagen's spot, but don't foresee it becoming an all-time great like VW's "The Force" ad from 2011. And while Bud Light's Stevie-Wonder-as-voodoo-football-shaman commercial got a lot of people talking, we think they would have been better off sticking with the "stupid animal tricks" formula that gave us "Here Weego" last year.

Ram Farmer Commercial


In the end, only Budweiser made a serious play for the pantheon of great Super Bowl ads: Its tale of a Clydesdale being reunited with the man who raised it took the top spot in USA Today's annual "Ad Meter" poll. And it's probably the one commercial from this game that we're actually going to remember next year.

Budweiser Clydesdales Super Bowl Commercial



What were your favorite and least favorite ads of the evening? Sound off in the comments.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

4 Comments

Filter by:
spmazanek

The Ram truck add narrated by the late great conservative Paul Harvey stole the commercial show.

February 04 2013 at 10:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Meow

The Scientology ad was as insane and silly as you'd expect it to be. If they can afford to run expensive TV ads, maybe they shouldn't receive the IRS tax exemption as a "church." In fact, that exemption should definitely be revoked.

February 04 2013 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kevin243

That's why the commercials are so dull,,,, see below comment. People get very upset at a commercial... The advertisers then make the commercial boring. I think the day is over, for funny or very creative ads

February 04 2013 at 6:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kimbeltnt

UN-AMERICAN, Didn't your ad guys research this LOSER?????, I LOVE PISTACHIOS in every form but will make it a point to abstain or buy from other supplier than your company! This was an insult to the game, the fans and the USA. C'mon.....did it really come down to this A-hole? Call me, I am certain I can create a more attractive commercial than this nonsense. I am pretty keen on the King's English, but........ you better Check yourself before you Wreck yourself!!

February 04 2013 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply