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Super Bowl: The tech winners and losers

Tech companies tried their best at the Super Bowl. Some enhanced their reputation, and some must have left many of the real people watching very confused.

2 min read

I know there will be some who were devastated not to see Google advertising during this year's Super Bowl.

And yet tech companies decided to see and be seen, with all the consequences that might entail.

What we should remember is that ads can help a product, they can hurt a product. Or, indeed, they can have very little effect if the product itself is deeply desirable.

Which must give some hope to the folks at Motorola, who finally revealed all of their Apple-is-Big-Brother-let's-all-get-organic affair. The ad suggested that those who own iPads are dupes, lifeless fools who are numb, dumb, and stunned into torpor.

It might have left many wondering why, if the Xoom exists to help you create a new world, it has taken so much longer to bring to fruition than the iPad. It might make some ponder why the "1984" Apple spot should be referenced in a damp squid boy/girl drama.

The Xoom might be a wonderful product, but this ad won't have done much to help people think it is anything other than a sweet little copy.

On the other hand, the folks at Volkswagen not only produced a lovely "Darth Vader" spot but managed to make the Beetle seem, yet again, a car worth feeling good about.

This was something Chevy was striving for, and yet, while some ads seemed plain old, the Cruze ad offered a slightly new perspective on the guy who wanders obsessively around Facebook trying to find girls who can tolerate him.

Audi's TV spot wasn't half as engaging and amusing as the longer teaser videos.

Salesforce.com ran two spots around halftime for something called Chatter.com. I wish I could tell you more, but I have no idea what these ads were about. I wonder if anyone did.

E-trade carried on with the babies, Cars.com carried on being there, as did GoDaddy and CareerBuilder. Best Buy went with Ozzie Osbourne and Justin Bieber in a spot that seemed to flash by but not flash BestBuy.

While LivingSocial stuck to a delectable cross-dressing gag, many seems already to have railed against Groupon's inversion of the traditional charity appeal.

Some might not see the ads' virtues, but the frank admission that Americans love a deal more than anything else on earth is curiously refreshing in advertising. It could have been written by Dudley Moore from "Crazy People" and that's a good thing.

Perhaps the finest contrast to Groupon wasn't LivingSocial, but the Daily. Here is a product that wants to be of tomorrow. Instead it cobbled together an ad that looked and felt like something from 1987. As lifeless a presentation of an interesting product as there could be.

Everyone will have their favorites. Some might even be in love with GoDaddy's amusement with Joan Rivers. She will be grateful for that.

But, by the end, will any of these ads truly change the brands' businesses in two or three weeks' time? Not many. It's a tough business, advertising. Much tougher than tech.