Yes, the E-Trade baby bit was pretty good. So was the spot with Chevy Chase and his "National Lampoon's Vacation" co-star Beverly D'Angelo. But one of the best ads shown during last night's Super Bowl was "Parisian Love," a short – and deceptively simple – clip by the folks over at Google.
The plot of Google's first-ever Super Bowl advertisement is standard-issue romantic comedy stuff: A guy lands in Paris to study abroad. He meets a girl. He takes her for some coffee; he buys her truffles. She calls him cute. And then, a year or so later, the American guy returns to Paris to marry the French girl.
But Google hired no major actors during the making of "Parisian Love."
There are no slow, hungry shots of the Eiffel Tower. Instead, the whole of the "Parisian Love" advertisement is comprised of screen-shots from Google search, Google Maps, Google's translation services, and even that cool Google tool that tracks the status of international and national flights.
"Search on," reads the single line of text displayed at the end of the advertisement. The conceit is that Google can be used in nearly every aspect of a person's life, from finding the right restaurant, to marrying the right girl.
Was it convincing?
To judge by some of the reactions posted today on the Web, the answer is yes. "Not sure how much — or rather, how little — the ubiquitous search engine spent on this spot," fawned the team at Entertainment Weekly, "but like a wildflower popping through a sidewalk crack, its simple charms stood out against its colder, bigger-budget competitors."
Google rarely advertises on television, and has never before advertised during the Super Bowl. In a blog post after the game, Google CEO Eric Schmidt explained that "Parisian Love," which has been available online for months, received "such a positive reaction on YouTube, that we decided to share it with a wider audience."
Here's hoping there's more where that came from.
What was your favorite Super Bowl ad? Talk to us in the comments section or on our Twitter feed.