I know it’s been around for 42 years, but I’ve never paid much mind to the Super Bowl. (I greatly prefer Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, now in its fourth season, for the sheer puppiness of it all. Check out clips of the MVPs, the highlights reel, not to mention the itty-bitty-kitty halftime show. Awwww!) But as its commercials seem to attract more and more press each year — with a commensurate rise in price, some 30-second spots fetching more than $2.7 million — the stakes for these brands are that much higher. So did the marketing execs rise to the challenge? I’d say no — for once, I was actually more taken with the action on the field than in the ads, especially during Tom Petty’s kind of awesome halftime performance (the phallic arrow — hat tip to Stereogum, whose post contains NSFW language — really brought it all to life, I think). Anyway, here are three reasons why:

SoBe Life Water Okay, so the lizard is pretty much a normal lizard (read: puny) until he literally gets “juiced up” and throws down with Naomi Campbell, who shakes her thang in a shimmery silver number. Is SoBe covertly endorsing the use of steroids? Nature couldn’t possibly have gifted Tom Brady with guns like those. Or maybe he just drinks a lot of Life Water.

(See more ads after the jump.)

Pepsi I always love it when Justin plays the bemused fall guy. But the ingenuousness of this spot is ruined for me by Andy Samberg’s bizarre, blonde-wig-wearing cameo. It didn’t do much for me, except maybe trigger a craving for a chocolate-coconut Magnolia cupcake. Yum.

FedEx Cute, but enough with the beating up of New York City already!!

What about you, PopWatchers? Were you watching the game for the game, or for the commercials, like we were? Did you like the ads this year, or think creativity was overall kind of lacking? What was your favorite or least favorite ad? (You can see the rest of them here.)