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While aiming for humor, “It wasn’t a very effective piece of communication and clearly rubbed some people the wrong way,” Mr. Calkins said.

A ad featuring a “test baby” smushed against a window also garnered negative reaction from ad experts and “didn’t resonate with people,” Mr. Calkins said.

Some ads, predictably, drew criticism for being entertaining without doing much to sell people on the item being advertised.

Among those was an ad for Lipton Brisk Iced Tea in which an animated Eminem explains why he doesn’t usually do endorsements. He throws a business type off a roof when he refuses to rename the drink “Eminem.”

“It was confusing, and it didn’t say a lot about the product,” Mr. Calkins said.

Not all ads went for laughs. Motorola Mobility’s 60-second spot during the second quarter played off the famous Apple ad “1984.” The dialogue-free Motorola ad showed a world where drones dress all in white and wear Apple iPod-like earbuds and a man uses a Motorola Xoom tablet to free and woo a girl.

The message is that Apple has become an oppressor rather than a liberator, and shows Motorola’s tablet as a worthy opponent to Apple’s popular iPad, said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer of Motorola Mobility.

“A lot of people just try to go for laughs,” he said. “There are all kinds of sex and monkeys and horses (during the Super Bowl), but what we were trying to do is a bit more of a serious story.”