The fun of discussing Super Bowl ads has dimmed in the last few years now that everyone pays so much attention to them. And the ads aren't as good either. But here goes. First: the music.
Billy Joel * 1/2
My dad called to say, "He can't sing!" and darned if he wasn't right. (I taped everything and fast-forwarded.) Joel was pitch-y as they say on :Idol," changing keys several times, with his voice cracking and generally the sort of National Anthem singer that makes you more nervous than proud. Not sure what was up, but at least he didn't try to mimick the Ray Charles version.
With only two dancers on stage, it looked like a low-budget half-time show (despite the zillions of fireworks). But at least Prince concentrated on the hits, belting out "Let's Go Crazy," "Baby I"m A Star," "Proud Mary," All Along The Watchtower," a song I didn't recognize but which I'll call "Best Of You," [NOTE: It's a Foo Fighters song] and of course "Purple Rain." The marching band added oomph, the guitar solo against the flowing sheet where you could see his silhouette was a simple and neat effect, and his falsetto was great. It was good to see the director just stay with the cameras, even though rain kept misting up on them --once or twice they even played with the focus and created some coll effects. It gave the performance some extra energy. And Prince was in fine form, kicking away his mike and demanding the crowd sing along to "Purple Rain" at the finale and of course they did. It's easy to forget most of those songs came out 23 years ago and are oldies to many people.
The ads, in order
Bud Light -- Rock, Paper, Scissors ***
guy throws rock at another to get beer. Bud Light definitely the champ of the night. This ad was simple and silly.
Doritos -- Guy and Girl Act Out Doritos taste, like Cheesy and Spicy **
This one left me cold and ended poorly, but apparently many others thought it was clever. At least it was focused on the product, something many ads failed to do. Created by a customer.
Blockbuster -- Computer mouse a real mouse ** 1/2
Kind of funny as rabbit and hamster use real mouse to try and go online. Alec Baldwin's voice.
CBS Evening News -- Katie Couric on the "Nice" stories they'll talk about *
Couric says "We hear so much about what's wrong with America." Really? Personally, I don't hear a lot of America bashing, especially on network news programs. But she promises us stories about that "can-do" spirit, and about "good people doing great things" all this week on the CBS Evening News. I guess next week she'll go back to all negative stories?
Sierra Mist Free -- employee with beard comb-over *
The worst ads of the night came from Sierra Mist, which repeatedly associated their product with losers and freaks.
Salesgenie.com -- Cool business guy has it together, gets girl and approval of boss *
The images of the guy with it all (great car, blonde who wants a date, etc.) were so cheesy I thought it was a parody ad. Instead it was for some website that offers you sales tips? Dreadful.
Sierra Mist -- karate class to protect soda *
Another group of weirdos like Sierra Mist.
Toyota Tundra --Truck brakes before going off cliff. * 1/2
John Goodman's voice tells us how tough the Tundra is and the screen tells us we're watching an "actual demonstration" of their testing. Uh, they set up their truck testing like a Hollywood movie, where the truck has to go fast enough to get past crushing steel doors, etc? How stupid is that? And what's the point? Are we supposed to think that if the truck failed the test, they would show us that?
FedEx -- Moon office; FedEx on moon *
Dumb, obvious images of the difficulty of working on the moon, with Fed Ex providing delivery service at the end. The sort of ad that barely focuses on the product at hand.
Bud Light -- auctioneer at wedding to speed things along *** 1/2
One of my favorites of the nigh. Another Bud Light winner. Simple, effective, easy to track, with a modestly amusing kicker at the end.
Snickers -- two guys accidentally kiss *
One of several gay panic ads, with one guy starting to nibble on the other end of a Snickers bar sticking out of another guy's mouth until they accidentally kiss. In panic, they rip out their chest hair to prove they're men. Uh, guys, there are no accidents. If you start gobbling on another guy's candy bar, something's up. First one with website action, sending you to AfterTheKiss.com. What happens there, they go to therapy? Actually, it shows four different endings to the ad -- each one less funny than the next.
Schick Quattro -- Asian and German scientist study razor *
You know Germans and Asians are really scientific,so they must know about razors. All we really see is a girl fall off an exercise machine because a guy's cheek is shaved so smooth (I guess). Stupid.
Pride -- movie trailer for story of black swim team *
Wow, how can one ad make a movie seem so ridiculous? The shot of the coach (Terence Howard) urging on his swimmers with tears streaking down his face makes this hokey flick seem absolutely dreadful. And I'm all for hokey sports flicks and swim teams.
Chevrolet -- Celebrities sing songs that mention Chevys **
A good idea, intellectually, but it just never really caught me. Maybe they should have done a series of ads, each one using just one song.
Bud Light -- Language Class **
One of several with Carlos Mencia. Not bad as he teaches them how to ask for Bud Light with New York, LA etc spins.
Letterman Oprah -- watching game on couch *** 1/2
Unexpected, amusing little quickie with Dave stuffing his mouth full of popcorn and saying, "You're rooting for the Bears and I'm rooting for thge Colts but we both win because we're in love." Camera pulls back to reveal he's cuddled on couch with Oprah, who chides, "Dave, don't talk with your mouth full." "Sorry," he mumbles. Hilarious and a nice play off his softer image.
Rules Of Engagement -- new sitcom ad and then the announcers cut to shots of the three male leads (David Spade, etc.) sitting in the stands, with Spade having an especially doofus-y look on his face. The announcers say, "Ooh," as if they're surprised to see the guys at the Super Bowl with a camera on them right after their ad airs. Then the announcers obnoxiously talk about how if the show's a hit they'll get a suite, but right now they're "stuck" in the stands. Since even with the rain 99% of your viewers can't even DREAM about going to the Super Bowl, mocking the idea of sitting in the stands as kind of lame is just obnoxious.
GoDaddy.com -- marketing dept is sexy chicks *
Not very sexy shots and too obvious and tired a Supr Bowl cliche.
Coke ad -- spoof on Grand Theft Auto ***
Most people didn't seem to like this. I thought it was a clever spoof, with the guy in the video game doing good deeds and the song "Give A Little Love" a nice spin on Coke's "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing." For me, the main problem was that I've seen this ad about a dozen times in movie theaters.
CSI -- ad says it's "the most watched show on TV." They're trying to pretend it's the #1 show when it isn't the #1 show, "American Idol" is. (By far.) Nice try. What are they doing? Adding up reruns or the total audience for 52 weeks (since Idol doesn't air all year) to try and pretend they're America's favorite?
Budweiser -- loser dog becomes dalmatian ** 1/2
Not bad, though I almost thought it was a rerun, they've done so many animal ads related to Bud.
Garmin -- GPS ad spoofing Ultraman with GPS guy fighting Map Monster. * 1/2
I actually watched "Ultraman" but have to assume this seemed more like an odd Godzilla parody to most. And is this goofy ode gonna really draw th attention of middle-aged men and women who are presumably the main GPS audience?
Grammy Awards-- numerous ads touting all the stars -- "And That's Only The First Hour!" **
Got the job done, but not terribly exciting. And the Police is not a super group.
Careerbuilders.com -- series of ads set in jungle **
Not great, but by the third ad I enjoyed it a little more. But for al its cleverness, didn't realy help me remember the product being sold.
Doritos -- cashier making riffs on different Doritos flavors **
I liked this a little better than the first Doritos ad, even though there's no payoff. Another customer generated ad.
Chevy HHR trucks -- men strip to caress car *
I had no idea what was going on or why and didn't care. Just dumb.
Bud Light -- fist bump turns into bitch slap **
Not bad, but one of their weaker ones.
Heart ad -- different diseases beat up heart *
Looks like it cost about $5 to make. I'm reading too much into it, but the heart was a white guy and the diseases were represented by an Asian chick and a black guy, among others.
General Motors -- robot arm loses job *** 1/2
I liked this one a lot. Very clever, amusing, with pay off at ending as robot arm wakes up from bad dream. Best use of music, in this case "All By Myself."
Coke -- Black History Month tribute * 1/2
So pro forma and obvious, they almost shouldn't have bothered. "Especially today" Because it's so important that two black coaches are facing off at Super Bowl. As someone joked, call me when it's two black OWNERS facing off.
Wild Hogs -- movie trailer *
Sprint Mobile Broadband -- compares no connection to erectile dysfunction **
Motorola -- camera phone shows clips *
Big deal. That's like getting excited it can place calls or play songs. And ahven't they seen the iPhone? Now THAT'S cool.
How I Met Your Mother sitcom ad -- trying to avoid Super Bowl results ** 1/2
But then, I'm a modest fan of the show. Easy to relate to concept, though.
Dortitos -- another ad excited about two black coaches ** 1/2
This one, with images of people watching game, much more effective than Coke's cheap, text only ad.
Coke -- never had a coke before; old man tries everything * 1/2
Old guy tries running with bulls, etc after tasting Coke. Somehow, felt like a rerun.
Rules Of Engagement -- sitcom ad *
Not a good sign when an ad for a new sitcom can't sport one funny line.
CSI return of Grissom ***
Fun, energetic ad.
Dunkin Donuts -- maple cheddar breakfast sandwich *
To me, the guy with the maple syrup tree was gonna get some great tasting all natural maple syrup as fresh as possible. The guy with the Dunkin Donut sandwich was gonna get a nasty looking artificial flavored piece of junk. They should WANT to associate themselves with a maple tree because that's fresh and genuine, not pretend their fake maple flavor is better.
FootLocker -- basketball star sort of dismissive while signing autographs *
Couldn't care less, and what's the point of having guys star-struck but then upset that he signed their sneaker?
Honda Trucks ad -- Shots of trucks * 1/2
Criminal Minds -- tv ad for two-parter after game **
Pretty good ad, that failed to tell viewers if they actually watched game they would only be seeing part one of a two parter, which will probably annoy most of them.
Acura ad -- playing Supertramp's "Dreamer" *
Helping people fulfill their dreams. How exactly did the Acura help the computer industry evolve, to choose one example? Idiotic and confusing.
PNC Bank -- help new businesses **
Fine, if bland.
Toyota Tundra -- John Goodman's voice again, more stunts. *
Realy want to associate your truck with bags of manure?
Bud Light -- girl's night during Super Bowl ** 1/2
Mencia replays all their insults to each other to break up party. Not bad.
Meet The Robinsons -- Disney animated movie ** 1/2
Okay ad, but why in god's name would you save an ad for a family film until late in the evening?
E-Trade-- bank robs customers * 1/2
Vaguely clever, but all you can remember is trauma of being robbed, which isn't exactly a good image for your product.
Coke -- inside machine a wonderland to create your soda ** 1/2
Pretty good and clever. I seem to be alone in liking these animated ads.
Bud Light -- talking gorillas **
Running out of steam.
Revlon -- Sheryl Crowe singing "Not Fade Away." *
Extremely complicated buildup to sell hiar coloring product. Sent you to iTunes, where the sale of the song will benefit Breast Cancer Research. That's nice, but I was expecting a free download and now feel like a jerk for not wanting to spend a dollar on breast cancer research for something I thought I'd get for free.
Taco Bell -- talking lions in Africa watching people eat Taco Bell *
Talking animals are a mainstay but awfully overused. I couldn't believe the ad didn't do the obvious: have the lions roar and scare away the people so they could eat the Taco Bell food.
Van Heusen -- lucky guy wears Van Heusen * 1/2
I can barely remember it. That can't be good.
Toyota Tundra -- another "actual" demonstration *
Emerald Roast Nuts -- Robert Goulet trashes office *
A classic example of a high concept ad (Robert Goulet trashes your office while everyone is sleeping because they didn't eat a snack) that completely fails to help you focus on the product they're selling. All you remember is Robert Goulet.
T-Mobile fave five with Charles Barkley *
Dumb and obvious.
Fed Ex -- can't judge people by names **
Bob, Eileen, Joy w Turkey Neck kicker. Kind of funny.
Nationwide Annuities -- Kevin Federline dreams of stardom working at fast food **1/2
Not bad and reinforces purpose of product.
Bud Light -- picking up hitchhiker with Bud Light and an ax ***
Another amusing one with good kicker.
Mercedes Benz cusotmer testimonials * 1/2
Did nothing for me.
PNC Bank -- 24 hour service **
Nothing special but at least it focused on the product.
Toshiba HD-DVD -- feels like you're in the movie *
I could barely tell what this ad was about and I'm already familiar with HD-DVD and Blu-Ray and what that all means. Must have left most people confused.
Bud -- lobsters worship cooler with Bud * 1/2
Okay visual joke, but many others loved it.
Prudential -- uses of rocks **
Reinforced brand, to me,so pretty good.
Honda -- Elvis singing "Burning Love" *
Hewlett Packard -- tying in with "American Chopper." * 1/2
Just didn't come together.
Izod -- sports outfits * 1/2
Bud -- Don Shula playing futuristic video game *
No point or payoff.
FloMax -- *
No ad about this could ever be anything but silly.
E-Trade -- one finger * 1/2
Sort of clever, but doesn't really stick with you, because who uses one finger when working a computer?
Hanniabl Rising ** 1/2
Pretty good ad that reinforces the Hannibal Lecter brand. Could have used a sexier closeup on the impossibly handsome star and costar Li Gong.
Honda -- trucks swerving around gas pumps * 1/2
Boring, though it got across idea of fuel efficiency and good handling.
Snapple Green Tea -- guy goes to guru to ask question * 1/2
Dumb ad with very mild payoff.
NFL -- fans of teams that didn't get to Super Bowl mourning and trying to move on ***
Funny, clever and focused.