Pepsi and Groupon Not Among Most Memorable Super Bowl Ads

Turns out all you really needed was a pug.

By Jorge Rivas Feb 10, 2011

The results are in on the winners and losers of last weekend’s Super Bowl ad frenzy. The Nielsen ratings group measured the most liked and most memorable commercials, and two of the most controversial ads, Pepsi’s angry black woman ad and Groupon’s Tibet ad, didn’t make the cut.

The Super Bowl continues to be the most watched television event of the year. Last Sunday’s game was the most watched telecast in TV history, attracting some 111 million viewers.

It’s precisely these numbers that make commercials during the game such a big deal. "The Super Bowl continues to be the advertising industry’s premier event," said Pat McDonough, Vice President for Insights and Analysis at Nielsen in a press release

Turns out you don’t need to exploit stereotypes of black woman being angry  or make light of a certain southwestern Chinese region that isn’t free to get people to remember your ads. All you need is a pug.

According to Nielsen’s research a Doritos ad with a pug dog that knocks down a door for some chips was the most recalled ad of the game. The Volkswagen Passat ad, with the little Darth Vader starting the car, was the most liked.

However, there were other commercials with interesting race politics that did make the most memorable cut.

In Doritos’ "The Best Part" commercial, a young white man who appears to have a Doritos dust fetish sucks chip crumbs off a black man’s fingers. Seriously.

That ad, along with Pepsi’s angry black woman ad and the commercial seen below, were all  finalists in Pepsi’s "Crash the Superbowl" contest  that had users submit ideas that they wanted Pepsi to produce.


That leads to an obvious question. How many people signed off and approved the idea  of a black woman throwing a Pepsi can at a white woman during the most watch telecast of the year?

While we’re all scratching our heads on that one, check out the least controversial of the Pepsi ads below, by native Detroiter Tynesha Williams.


Nielsen’s Top 10 Most-Recalled Commercials in Super Bowl XLV
Recall Rank Brand Ad Description Game Quarter Recall Index
1 Doritos Pug knocks down door (:30) Q1 179
2 Budweiser Cowboy in Western saloon (:60) Q2 166
3 Doritos Man licks cheese crumbs off of coworker’s fingers (:30) Q1 159
4 Pepsi Pepsi Max — Couple on first date (:30) Q4 153
5 Pepsi Pepsi Max — Soda cans shoot out of cooler (:30) Q1 150
6 Snickers Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr complain while working (:30) Q2 149
7 Doritos Housesitter brings grandpa back to life (:30) Q1 148
8 NFL TV clips montage (:60) Q3 147
9 — New spokesperson Joan Rivers (:30) Q1 146
10 Budweiser Bud Light — Kitchen redesigned with a bucket of beer (:30) Q1 145
Source: The Nielsen Company. The Recall score is the percentage of viewers who can Recall the brand of an ad they were exposed to during the normal course of viewing the Super Bowl. These scores are then indexed against the average score for all Super Bowl ads (Recall Index). 100 equals average. For example, with a Recall Index of 179, the Doritos "Pug" ad was 79% better-recalled than the average Super Bowl spot.

Nielsen’s Top 10 Most-Liked Commercials in Super Bowl XLV
Likeability Rank Brand Ad Description Game Quarter Likeability Index
1 Volkswagen Passat — Little Darth Vader starts car (:30) Q2 186
2 Bridgestone Woodchuck saves driver (:30) Q4 171
3 E*Trade Baby talks next to sneezing cat (:30) Q4 168
4 Doritos Man licks cheese crumbs off of coworker’s fingers (:30) Q1 159
5 Doritos Housesitter brings grandpa back to life (:30) Q1 151
6 Volkswagen Beetle – Beetle navigates the wild (:30) Q4 146
7 NFL TV clips montage (:60) Q3 141
8 Chrysler 200 — Eminem represents Detroit (:120) Q3 138
9 Budweiser Bud Light — Dogs work at party (:30) Q4 133
10 Audi A8 — Men break out of old luxury (:60) Q1 127
Source: The Nielsen Company.