Super Bowl Ads: We're Not Buying
Sun, Jan 26, 2003 10:21 PM PDT
by Rick Porter
Zap2it, TV News
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - When the Super Bowl is a yawner -- and to be fair, Sunday's (Jan. 26) wasn't, at least not quite -- the tens of millions of people watching the game look to the ads, which are often bold and funny.
Except this year.
During the game's (final score: Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21) 23 commercial breaks -- pregame, postgame and halftime excluded -- there weren't more than a handful of ads that truly demanded attention. With the dot-com flameout, beer, cars and soft drinks dominated ad time, making for a fairly monotonous set of ads -- you know, like most other sporting events.
Here's a highly subjective rundown of the good and bad of the Super Bowl of advertising: MVC -- Most Valuable Commercial:
Trident. The what's-up-with-the-fifth-dentist bit has been a joke on "Friends" and doubtless part of more than one stand-up routine. It was a bit crude, but we finally found out why that guy didn't recommend sugarless gum to his patients. Best Self-Deprecation:
Country singer Willie Nelson, who's had problems with the Internal Revenue Service, for a spot plugging tax preparer H&R Block. "Whoa." Award:
The trailers for "The Matrix" sequels, due this summer and in November. They look as visually arresting as the first film and easily made the biggest impact of the several movie promos that aired during the game (although the ad for "Hulk" was pretty good too). Biggest Waste of a Seven-Figure Sum:
Subway. Jared dreams about new sauces for low-fat sandwiches, reminding viewers that they could probably use another hot wing right about now. Best Football-Related Ads:
Tie between Budweiser's Clydesdale/zebra instant-replay spot and Reebok's "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker." Savviest Exploitation of Demographics:
ABC its ownself. Knowing that the Super Bowl audience is largely male, promos for the postgame episode of "Alias" featured star Jennifer Garner in two different hues of lingerie and a bikini. Huh? Award:
Levi's, for its Type 1 jeans ad. Rampaging buffalo run around two pretty people wearing the new jeans. Good to know, because I'm never sure what to wear to a stampede. Best Special Effects:
The Gatorade Michael Jordan vs. young Michael Jordan ad. Regular sports viewers have seen it numerous times by now, but it's still pretty cool. That Sound You Hear Is a Fad Gasping Its Last Breath:
The Osbournes are hawking Pepsi Twist. That's probably all that needs to be said. Dot-Coms Live! Award:
Top job-search site Monster.com, for its runaway-truck spot. The eye-catching ad successfully launched the site's new "blue-collar, white-collar, no-collar" campaign.