For myself, and sports fans all over the world, the Superbowl is at the top of the list when it comes to championship games (especially with my Patriots in the big game this year). It offers a display of some of the most talented athletes in the world competing at their highest level. However, the actual game has almost become a secondary attraction. The pre-game media coverage, high profile half time shows, celebrity appearances and other non-football appeal have become almost as important as the game itself. The one aspect I’ve yet to mention is the one that people get most excited about, and the one that companies around the world have invested incredible amounts of money on……..the commercials.

Over the years, the TV commercials have become as much a part of the Superbowl as the players and coaches. So much so, that companies all over the world are willing to dish out $3.5 million for 30 seconds of air time at this year’s big game……a far cry from the $42,000 marketers paid for the same advertising spots back in 1967 during the first Superbowl

This creates an incredible challenge for the marketing departments at these companies. They have to come up with a creative campaign that will effectively market their company and products well enough to be worth the astronomical costs of the advertising.

Different companies take on this marketing challenge in very different ways. Traditionally, the most popular Superbowl ads are the comedic ones. Budweiser, Doritos and Etrade, among others, have mastered the art of creating funny Superbowl advertisements and many people look to see every year if they can top the previous year’s commercials. Some companies, like for example, take a different approach and go for pure shock value, showing provocative material and encouraging viewers to visit their website to see more. While others go with major celebrity appearances to try and appeal to their audience.

Here are two of my favorite Superbowl commercials that debuted at the 2011 game……Do you think they ‘re worth the $3 million these companies paid for them?

Etrade 2011 Superbowl Commercial

Volkswagen 2011 Superbowl Commercial