The game itself on Super Bowl Sunday will undoubtedly go down as one of the least exciting in history. The Seattle Seahawks trampled the Denver Broncos 43-8. Other than when the teams were tied at zero early in the first quarter, never again was it close.

And with a lame game on display, many people were forced to get their dose of entertainment from the commercials.  

This year, however, marked the first time that almost all companies released their commercials online ahead of the Super Bowl -- a strategy to try to get the ads to go viral.  

Despite this strategy, companies still shelled out $4 million for 30 seconds on live television during the game.

And the big winner? Well, it depends on what you think makes a good ad.

Anthony Kalamut, an advertising professor at Seneca College in Toronto, says Chrysler’s ad featuring legendary rocker Bob Dylan hit the mark. The two-minute spot featured Dylan speaking poetically about American pride, and the heart and soul Detroit auto workers pour into the cars they build.

“It was probably the best copy-written ad of the Super Bowl,” Kalamut told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday morning. “But it was also a beautifully, beautifully filmed piece: The editing, the way they put together old film clips.”

Jaguar went with big theatrics in a James-Bond inspired spot that even featured actor Sir Ben Kingsley.  But Kalamut says the ad fell short because it lacked story direction. He also questioned why Jaguar even bothered to buy air time when such a small percentage of the Super Bowl audience can buy a Jaguar.

If a story is what people wanted, Kalamut saus they got itwith Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” commercial. The one-minute spot is a story about the unlikely friendship between a Golden Retriever puppy and a horse who meet on a farm. When the puppy is given up for adoption, the horse tracks down the puppy just as the little ball of fur is being driven away from the farm. In the end, the horse gets his little friend back. It was certainly a tear-jerker. Kalamut says it was also a big winner.

“You can’t lose with puppies,” he added. “It’s a classic reminder of what Budweiser and the Budweiser brand is all about: familiarity. And this was right on target. The audience gets it, they appreciated it… How can you go wrong with a love story?”

Kalmut says the ad ended up getting a huge amount of attention on Twitter and Facebook.

The commercials aren’t necessarily meant to sell a specific product, Kalamut adds, but rather shore up brand loyalty.

“And more brand awareness. It’s Super Bowl Sunday: it’s about ‘let’s entertain you, let’s feel good about things,’” he said.

Puppies were also part of a cute Cheerios commercial that featured a father explaining to his young daughter that a new baby was on the way-- another successful commercial, Kalamut says.  As the father pushes Cheerios to the centre of the table to represent the family -- including an additional one to represent the new arrival -- the young girl puts on her tough negotiating skills and pushes one to the middle of the table herself, saying “a puppy.” The father laughs and then agrees to buy her one.

Kalamut said Kia’s ad, inspired by the movie the Matrix and featuring Laurence Fishburne, missed the mark as it didn’t push any boundaries. Fishburne, playing his character Morpheus from the movie, takes two car owners deep into the rabbit hole, which in the ad amounts to a drive in a new Kia with Fishburne singing opera in the back seat.   

“When you get the opportunity to buy into this Matrix property, that’s the best you can do,” Kalamut said. “The key to any successful ad:you got five seconds. If you’re not getting me there, you got to get me in the next five or I’m done.”

YouTube has all the videos in one place on its Ad Blitz site. And for the next eight days users can vote for the commercial they think was the big winner on Super Bowl Sunday.