Best Super Bowl Commercials 2013: Clydesdale Ad, Tide ‘Stain,’ Chrysler Message, Mercedes Score

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The Baltimore Ravens weren’t the only winners at Super Bowl XLVII. One man and his Clydesdale also made quite an impression.

The latest Anheuser-Busch ad to feature the famed Clydesdales, this spot chronicled the relationship between a trainer and the horse he raised. According to USA Today’s Ad Meter, this was the most popular commercial of the night. As if the Ad Meter results weren’t enough kudos, the ad may have inspired Jose Canseco to get himself a horse.

Meanwhile, Patrick Rishe of Forbes singled out the Mercedes-Benz “Soul” ad as the best of the night. The star-studded spot featured Willem Dafoe, cast as the devil, along with Kate Upton and Usher. With the glamor quotient nearly as high as the RPMs in that auto ad, it’s no wonder that it garnered plenty of attention.

Another advertiser who went all out when it came to high-wattage players was Samsung, casting Apatow-regulars Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd in a comic sendup on Super Bowl ads — and the publicity-hungry marketers and stars who create them. In a game that brought its own special effects, with Beyonce’s electric halftime performance and the Superdome’s unexpected power outage, the commercials needed to have something special to stand out. Celebrity endorsers seemed a safe bet to pull that off.

Yahoo! included the Clydesdale ad and Samsung’s two-minute comedy bit in a list of the “buzziest ads” of the night but didn’t think Upton and Mercedes made the grade. Could the teaser and advanced release of the full-length commercial have hurt interest? That list did include a few of the night’s other notables, namely the Audi “Prom” commercial and Amy Poehler’s demanding trip to Best Buy.

As usual, there were several advertisers who thought less clothes would translate into more success. Whether it was Calvin Klein’s scantily-clad male model, the damsel in distress (and in a bikini) in the Axe commercial or GoDaddy’s long kiss between Bar Rafaeli and her nerdy match, the results were mixed for the ads built around sex appeal. Unless, of course, you count those M&M ads, which continue to be quite suggestive and quite successful. Perhaps symbolizing that this year’s top ads were a bit cleaner than in recent years, Tide finished second to the Clydesdale ad in the USA Today Ad Meter.

From the Clydesdale and Kia’s adorable “Space Babies” spot to Chrysler’s poignant homage to American farmers, here are some of the commercials that generated the most positive buzz during the Super Bowl. What was your favorite? How does the Super Bowl commercial class of 2013 stack up against last year’s favorites? Or the all-time classics?

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