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Super Bowl XL-ame Ads

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Why did Macintosh all those years ago have to reinvent the Super Bowl as the ultimate arena for advertising? Since then the ads sometimes threaten to overtake the game, with some people probably only watching to “gay out” to the ads. It should be about the game and the last few of them have been great contests. Well not this year, boring game and to match a boring set of commercials.

Here are my thoughts on the ads.

The Best Ad: No question my favorite was the Fed Ex Caveman spot. “Fed Ex doesn’t exist yet.” followed by the dinosaur splat. For some reason prehistoric man is just funny, as Geico has shown us.

Runners Up: United Airlines “Dragon,” a cool animation vignette depicting legendary tales of a business traveler. Not funny or heartwarming, but just right. Also the Ameriquest “Don’t judge too quickly” spots continue the campaign of awkward situations that began at last year’s Super Bowl.

Best Beer Spot: “Magic Fridge” by Budweiser because it was simple and to the point while still being bizarre. Though it was only slightly better than the “Bud Light vs. the Bear” spot. The supposed cute Clydesdale spots don’t register with me. I don’t care what happens to the little guy’s big dreams.

Coolest Movie Ad: There were at least eight blockbuster films advertised on the game, but hands down the best spot was for V for Vendetta. Opening mid-March, it is based on an Alan Moore graphic novel depicting an fascist England. Surprised there was nothing for Superman Returns.

Biggest Miss: Burger King’s “Whopperettes” ended the cool streak that BK has had of late with the King and his gal Brooke Burke. This was overblown, flat and reeked of excess for the sake of excess.

Weirdest Tagline: “The world of light beer gets darker” for Michelob Ultra Amber may have worked if Scorsese directed the spot in a noirish way, but the touch football tackling was nothing more than a sight gag.

Tagline Contradiction: Diet Pepsi, which uses the line “Light. Crisp. Refreshing.” confuses everyone by now adding “brown and bubbly” to the mix. Literally mixed into a bad rap song in the Diddy/Jay Mohr spot.

Too Many Web Seriously. Every spot had a companion site where they hoped you’d get off your nacho-eating ass to check out. Who would?,,, and of course, which continued to pimp out that brunette chick.

The “Why You?” Spot: The Sharpie retractable pen, where did you get that kind of money to be on the Bowl?

Biggest Letdown: “Sports Heaven” began with a great idea, show how the greatest sports, players and games of all time come together in some hyper-reality. But when it led to the product reveal of ESPN Mobile, it seemed like a waste. All that just for stupid 10 second clips and scores on your phone?

Worst Product Pitch: In terms of the spot that had the most disparity between the setup and the product sales pitch, it had to be “the new clean” of PS cleaning products. The intro with the people in hazmat suits had some promise undeserving of the basic retail advertising treatment at the end.

FYI, the USA Today ad meter placed Budweiser “Magic Fridge” as the top favorite.

About Chip Ross

  • Mike Buckley

    What about the Mastercard MacGyver commercial? I thought it was the best one! Even better than the “magic fridge” ad. It was so great to see Richard Dean Anderson back as the quick-thinking MacGuyver. That was my favorite commercial without question!

    -Mike Buckley