Super Bowl commercials: as good as they used to be?

Football fans are getting excited about watching the Super Bowl on Sunday. Non-fans are getting excited about watching the commercials.

Often the best TV ads of the year show up during the Super Bowl, but some folks think today's commercials aren't as good as the ones from past years.

When it comes to what makes a good Super Bowl commercial, many fans say it helps to be funny or self-mocking.

Russell Alston, a junior at Coastal Carolina University, recalls a commercial from a few years ago for a financial services company. "They just had a guy clapping his hands, stomping his feet with a monkey and they were like, we just wasted a million dollars."

"The new Doritos commercials are always pretty good, the fan-made ones," said Brian Druckmiller, a CCU grad student.

Many Super Bowl viewers look forward to watching the commercials, but may be a little disappointed at what they're seeing these days.

"It's now more of a, 'this is the way to get my product seen', as opposed to the way it was originally created, which was to show originality," said Super Bowl fan Jonathon Ady.

Myrtle Beach advertising executive Tom Collins said Super Bowl advertisers today tend to go for the cheap laugh, like showing monkeys wearing suits or talking babies.

"They're just all for the buzz, for the bang, for the next morning, for the water cooler chat," said the owner of Collins & Company Advertising.

Collins said there are still some good commercials being made. He points to last year's Chrysler ad, featuring rapper Eminem. Collins said the ad was powerful, effective at building the Chrysler brand - and not funny.

He said the best commercials are the ones that aim to be remembered weeks or months later. "A good product, a good concept, something which is memorable, something that stands out."

Collins points out that when one website asked sports fans to rank the best Super Bowl ads of all time, the Mean Joe Green Coke ad came in at number one. That commercial was made in 1979.

Maybe viewers today expect too much.

"I think the bar is set way so high on a Super Bowl spot, you're never going to reach that," Collins said. "It's set so high to get that laugh and get the attention and chatter the next day. I think it's set too high myself."

That could be because, for many viewers, watching the ads can be the best part about watching the game.

"Just entertainment. It's humor, it's something we usually don't see during the year," said CCU junior Zach Moran.

And the stakes keep getting higher for Super Bowl advertisers. This year, a 30 second commercial costs $3.5 million.