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Super Bowl ads battle for top spot

Super Bowl ads ranged from overweight dogs to naked M&Ms. In the end, the game between the Patriots and Giants outshone the Super Bowl ads.

By Mae AndersonAssociated Press / February 6, 2012

Super Bowl ads: This photo shows a scene from the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Super Bowl commercial, starring Jessica Blackmore and John Stamos. The Dannon Oikos advertisement ran during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVI, Feb. 5. About 20 of the roughly 36 Super Bowl advertisers put their TV commercials online in the days leading up to Sunday's broadcast.

Dannon Co./AP

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New York

The pressure was on. The tension was thick. And then, there were yawns in between.

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The Super Bowl may have been a nail biter, but the ads were a snooze.

Actor Clint Eastwood waxed for two minutes about Detroit and Chrysler. An M&M candy stripped "naked" at a party. And stars from the 90s were everywhere, as were dogs and babies, of course.

Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for the right to duke it out Sunday in front of the expected 111 million-plus fans. But it was all so ordinary with fewer surprises.

That's mostly because nearly half of the 70 Super Bowl advertisers put their spots out online in the days leading up to the game. That's a big difference from last year when only a few spots were released ahead of time. And the companies that did wait until game day for the "big reveal" didn't take many risks. In fact, most settled on cliché plots with kids, celebs, sex and humor.

"Advertisers this year are playing it very safe," said Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University. "They're running spots that are clearly designed to appeal to a broad audience and not to offend."

Here's a look at the game's ads, play by play:

SEX SELLS — OR AT LEAST ADVERTISERS HOPE IT DOES

Advertisers showed a little skin in their Super Bowl.

An ad for domain name-hosting site GoDaddy shows racecar driver Danica Patrick and fitness expert Jillian Michaels body painting a nude woman. A spot for clothing retailer H&M features soccer star David Beckham in black-and-white in his undies. And online florist Teleflora and automaker Kia both use Victoria Secret's model Adriana Lima in their Super Bowl ads.

But perhaps the two most blatant examples of "letting it all hang out" came from car companies.

Toyota's spot for its "reinvented" Camry features a "reinvented" couch made up of women wearing bikinis. "It also comes in male," a voiceover in the ad says while showing a couch of shirtless men.

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