Is an ad buy worth $3M? Or can you leverage $3M more effectively in some other type of sports sponsorship? For 2011, Papa John’s thought the latter. Check out this article discussing why PJ’s, Intel and others didn’t return to the Super Bowl adscape in 2011.

For those who did foot the Super Bowl bill this year, I’ll throw in my two cents (along with everyone else) on the ad winners. My picks: VW, Chrysler and Bridgestone (notice a car theme?).

And interestingly enough, Larry Mann’s prediction in an article on Super Bowl ad spending published here just last week was pretty spot-on:

So like any boxing match, expect this first round to be fairly tame, middle-of-the-road type ads, no one going for the “knockout punch,” so to speak. Look for ads focused on the consumers and America, with a patriotic feel and/or “green” theme. But with a potential NFL lockout looming, maybe these companies think their Super Bowl ads are worth the price while pro football is still around.

Not a lot of “knock-outs,” but some diamonds in the rough for sure.