At $3.5 million per 30-second pop, Super Bowl ads have to be pretty memorable to make it worth advertisers' while. About half of this year's advertisers decided novelty wasn't as important as early buzz, releasing talked-about spots featuring everyone from Ferris Bueller to Jerry Seinfeld to Darth Vader. But other companies waited until the big game for the "big reveal," to varying degrees of success. Here, six of the commercials that broke through all the dogs, talking babies, and half-naked celebrities to win the hearts, or at least admiration, of critics:

1. Chrysler and Clint Eastwood's "Halftime in America"
Following up on its Eminem-promotes-Detroit ad in last year's Super Bowl, Chrysler enlisted Clint Eastwood for this year's "Imported from Detroit" halftime commercial. Neither Detroit nor America can be "knocked out with one punch," Eastwood growls. "We'll get back up again and when we do, the world's gonna hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it's halftime, America. And our second half's about to begin." Eastwood's "stirring pep talk" simply "made us want to pump our fists... and buy a Dodge," says Chuck Barney in the San Jose Mercury News. "When Clint Eastwood speaks, people listen." A dozen ads went for "the lump in the throat" this year, but only Eastwood delivered, says David Hinckley in the New York Daily News. Judge for yourself:



2. Chevy's apocalypse–surviving Silverado
Chevrolet takes the prize for the "only world-ends-in-2012-themed ad of the night," showing its Silverado trucks surviving the Mayan apocalypse while lesser trucks get crushed, says Seth Stevenson at Slate. And there's a "nice touch with the raining frogs at the end." Aside from the "if you do not own a Chevy Silverado, you will die" message, says Jon Bois at SB Nation, this was "one of the better Super Bowl ads of the year," with its "simple gag and top-notch production value." Check it out:



3. Samsung's mockery of Apple fans
For its Super Bowl ad debut, Samsung took its teasing of Apple fanboys (and girls) to a new level. In the 90-second spot, a massive crowd of "the Apple faithful lose the faith" after one look at the Galaxy Note smartphone — a device over which they immediately (and musically) go gaga, says Chris Matyszczyk at CNET News. The best part, says Kelly West at Television Blend, is at the end, when after a joyous musical interlude by The Darkness, only "one man is left standing (or sitting), unimpressed." Watch:



4. An explosive Avengers trailer
"You can't have Super Bowl commercials without including a few trailers for the biggest, loudest, explosion-est movies of the upcoming year," says Sean Keeley at SB Nation. And I'm "pretty sure The Avengers qualifies in all three of those categories." Plus, the black-cat-suited Scarlett Johansson, who plays Black Widow in this star-studded superhero ensemble blockbuster, will certainly draw more than the usual comic book nerds, says Mof Gimmers at Heckler Spray. Otherwise, if the trailer is anything to go by, "The Avengers film is going to be pleasingly dumb." Judge for yourself:



5. Skechers' moonwalking dog
"Canines were everywhere" in this year's Super Bowl ads, "but none of them shined as brightly as Mr. Quiggly did for Skechers footwear," says Barney in the San Jose Mercury News. Quiggly, an "adorably cocky little French bulldog," uses his sneakers to beat greyhounds in a dog race, "but the pièce de résistance was his moonwalk across the finish line. It had us howling in delight." Watch Mr. Quiggly run:



6. Budweiser's Canada-only "flash fans" ad
"Budweiser is responsible for the greatest commercial of the 2012 Super Bowl," but it certainly isn't any of the clunkers it aired in the U.S., says SB Nation's Jon Bois. In a two-minute spot that only aired in Canada, recreational hockey teams in Ontario are surprised by a flash mob of fans, and "the players are so damned happy about it." It's not jokey or ironic — just a case of doing something really nice. "I have to call this commercial the best of the year." Bud erred in only running this in Canada, says Television Blend's West. "I can't seem to get through it without tearing up." Check it out: