The 10 Best Commercials of 2012

The year's most entertaining, intriguing, powerful and beautiful spots

Old Milwaukee, "Field Cut Off"

Director: Jake Szymanski
Production Company: Gifted Youth

The best ad of Super Bowl XLVI didn't air nationally or even regionally. It aired in one town—North Platte, Neb., the country's second-smallest TV market. Comedian Will Ferrell had popped up a few months earlier in low-budget Old Milwaukee commercials in other Midwestern towns, waxing poetic about the joys of the heartland and no-nonsense beer. Now, he was back in what would be the pinnacle of a wonderfully peculiar and at times flat-out brilliant campaign. The Super Bowl spot was grander than the others—and exquisitely stupid. As Ferrell walks through a field in blue plaid shorts while stirring music plays, someone tosses him a beer. He pops it open and begins to say "Old…" when the scene abruptly ends with a fast splice. Subversive and hilarious, the ad lampooned advertising on its biggest night. The quirky and inspired media buy cost just $1,500—four ten-thousands the price of a national Super Bowl spot—to broadcast to a city of 25,000. Yet it vastly outperformed most of the night's national ads in Twitter mentions and YouTube views. Funny, innovative and socially smart, this kind of content points to the future. Just because you can still bludgeon Super Bowl viewers into submission doesn't mean you have to.

Full credits here.

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