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3. Doritos “House Sitting”

Doritos finds more success with fan-generated ads in its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. The best featured a house sitter using Doritos chip crumbs to bring a fish and plant back to life. The ad ends with a “Pet Sematary”-esque resurrection involving grandpa’s ashes. Sometimes dead is better …

2. Chrysler “Imported from Detroit”

An inspiring speech about American industrial know-how, along with photos of Detroit and music from Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in the background. The rapper appears at the end in front of a choir: “This is Motor City. And this is what we do.” It made me want to simultaneously wave a flag, punch someone in the face and get rid of my Honda. One of the few commercials in 2011 that captured the national zeitgeist. It also reinforced something that many Americans didn’t know: Chrysler is still around. Mission accomplished, Chrysler.

1. Volkswagen “The Force”

Released three days before the Super Bowl, the advertisement was fun, had a great payoff and more than 13 million watched it on YouTube before the game even started. (At least six of those views came from our household.) In a year where so many of the ads were violent or had a mean undertone, this one was family-friendly while maintaining a cool factor. Don’t be surprised if Darth Vader makes a few future best-of Super Bowl ad lists.


3. Mini “Cram it in the Boot”:

A game show called “Cram it in the Boot” features people suggestively shoving things in the back of a Mini. The low point comes when a contestant tries to shove a phallic-looking submarine sandwich through the rear hatch. What a horrible turn for what had been a classy car. I’ll never buy a Mini after this, but I’m guessing Kaiser sees a rise in appointments for prostate exams.

2. “Changed My Life”:

LivingSocial turns a bearded tough guy into a gay stereotype in a predictable montage. Fourteen years after Holiday Inn got in trouble for an inappropriate transsexual-themed ad — cited by many as among the worst ever — LivingSocial produces a commercial with a startlingly similar punch line. Were they trying to get on worst-of lists?

1. Groupon Timothy Hutton/Tibet ad:

Timothy Hutton outlines the problems in Tibet (“the people of Tibet are in trouble, their very culture is in jeopardy”) accompanied by moving images from the country … before boasting about 200 people who used Groupon to eat for half-off at a Tibetan restaurant in Chicago. An amazingly tone deaf entry from a company that could have used some positive coverage.