The 5 Best Commercials of Super Bowl XLVI

From comedy to drama, our favorite spots from Sunday night

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Score another one for the automakers.

Given the sheer number of car companies that advertised on Super Bowl XLVI, perhaps it's no surprise that a pair of auto spots finished tops in Adweek's picks for best ads of the night. What's interesting is how different they are. "Matthew's Day Off," for Honda, is a delightful trifle—a fun bit of nostalgia that stirred up the masses long before Sunday and then felt like an event when it aired during the game. Conversely, Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America" arrived unannounced and unapologetic—a quietly potent and thought-provoking spot featuring the acting performance of the night, with its somber and reflective two minutes proving a perfect counterpoint to the circus of the halftime show.

Elsewhere in our top five, a straightaway comedy spot and a couple of 60-second beauties. What were your favorites? Tell us in the comments.

  1. M&M's • Just My Shell

    You can keep your Doritos ads and your Chevy "Happy Grad" and all the rest. In terms of broad comedy, nothing could touch this M&M's spot from BBDO, New York, on Sunday. Bud Light's "Rescue Dog" spot was the only purely comic ad that came close. (Oh, and Will Ferrell's Old Milwaukee spot was ineligible, since it wasn't national.)

  2. NFL • Timeline

    Say what you will about how long the NFL has actually been committed to safety. This spot, from Grey New York, was gorgeously realized—a celebration of football that almost eclipsed the game itself.

  3. BUDWEISER • Eternal Optimism

    Anomaly's Canadian Budweiser spot, with the amateur hockey teams, would be on this list had it aired in America. "Eternal Optimism," also from Anomaly, was a wonder all its own—a visually stunning journey through time inspiringly set to the Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary."

  4. HONDA • Matthew's Day Off

    Borrowed interest? Sure. But this commercial had everything you want in a Super Bowl spot—a concept that set the Internet on fire and an execution that was pitch-perfect. Congrats to RPA.

  5. CHRYSLER • It's Halftime in America

    Beautifully crafted, with the hard-boiled performance of the night by Clint Eastwood, this was the only spot from Super Bowl XLVI that truly dared to go beyond advertising—to join the national conversation about something bigger. Some people will hate it for that. To us, it was another masterpiece from Wieden + Kennedy.


@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.