Super Bowl 2012 ads: the winner…and losers

It wasn’t even close. Far and away, the biggest winner of last night’s Super Bowl advertising blitz was the Bud Light commercial. The spot features Weego the rescue dog who, when called (“Here, Weego!”), fetches beer on command. Sure, the dog is cute and plucky and eager to please. But the real feel-good (dare I say intoxicating?) moments come at the very beginning and very end of the ad.

“He’s a rescue dog,” the owner tells his buddies right at the start. No particular fanfare or explanation given — or needed. Ok, maybe I’m reaching, but I love the undertone: Beer drinking, party having, manly men get their dogs from shelters.

And then there’s the final shot of the commercial — Weego nudging a Styrofoam cooler with this message and URL imprinted on the side: “help rescue dogs facebook.com/budlight.” There you learn that Weego really is a rescue dog and for every “like” his page receives, Bud Light will donate a dollar to ARF — Tony La Russa’s rescue foundation and a DogTime partner.

Nice work — here’s to you, Bud Light.

And where there’s a winner, there must be a loser. In this case, two:

Despite the controversy around using chimpanzees for entertainment, Career Builder continues to do so in its ads. And hey, I understand chimps’ unique appeal — they’re memorable, they’re engaging, they’re funny. I used to laugh at and look forward to the spots too. But when I learned how the animals are acquired, what it takes to train them, and what happens once their acting careers are over, the commercials became much less amusing.

And finally… Skechers. I get the point — your shoes can make even the least likely of us into champion runners. But aren’t there a million ways to convey that without depicting dog racing as fun loving or harmless? It is neither.

PS. A question for readers. The Doritos commercial featuring the dog who bribes his owner with a bag of chips to keep quiet about offing the family cat: Dark humor done well? Or something less palatable? Your comments are welcome…