The worst 2012 Super Bowl commercials, including the dumbest joke commercials, the lamest celebrity cameos and the most disturbing and baffling marketing non sequiturs. Each year, advertisers vie to be the "most talked about" ads of the Super Bowl, often using outlandish or unexpected techniques to surprise or shock viewers. Sometimes the use of dark comedy or surrealism in ads is perfect for intriguing the public and getting people talking (as with Hulu's "evil alien" ad campaign featuring Alec Baldwin), but other times these tactics just make people bored or even upset.
The worst Super Bowl ads combine the excess and hype of the biggest football game of the year along with a feeling of pointlessness or cheap gimmicry. Sometimes, ads that are among the most popular one year (such as the E*Trade babies) become tired and played out when they are brought back repeatedly, year after year. (Volkswagen better be careful not to overplay their "Kid Darth Vader" hand, is all I'm saying.) And on some occasions, marketers just generally put their money and faith in a celebrity whose audience simply doesn't overlap with the big Super Bowl fans. (Britney Spears, after all, was once a fixture of Super Bowl advertising.)
2012 promises to feature some of the most controversial Super Bowl commercials in memory. And particularly because so many of the ads were featured on the Internet in the week before the game, sufficient blowback had already built up long before the coin toss or opening fanfare. Matthew Broderick's return as Ferris Bueller for the Honda CR-V was spoiled not only by the release of the ad long before the game, but by a teaser 2 weeks out that revealed the ad was coming. By Super Bowl Sunday, audiences were already tired of the Ferris ad, and some felt manipulated by the teaser, which many thought was announcing the arrival of a new "Ferris Bueller" sequel rather than a new Honda.Be sure to vote thumbs up on the ads you think were the very worst of Super Bowl XLVI, and vote down the ads you liked. And don't forget to vote on our guide to the Best Super Bowl XLVI Ads.