Monday, February 05, 2007

SB XLI Wrap up: The Entertainment

Now that the Super Bowl is over there is just one bit of unfinished business to take care of before we sign off from the NFL for a while...

...reviewing the Super Bowl entertainment, i.e. the commercials & halftime shows.

Most years the ritual of watching, grading, and talking about the ads & acts that play during the Big Game is more fun than the actual game itself. Websites now run "grade the Super Bowl ad" polls as the popularity of these mini-movies grows, and companies regularly pay over $2 million apiece to run spots during the most watched program on the planet. Whether they are clever & innovative or ridiculous & redundant, these spots can fuel water cooler discussions long after who won the game leaves the public conscience.

Who won, anyway?

This year the NFL tapped some old standards to take care of the song & dance portions of the extravaganza, trotting out Billy DUI Joel for an unmoving rendition of the anthem, and then wheeling out the petite purple Prince himself for the halftime show. What's wrong with this picture? Well for one thing those two have a combined age of 105, meaning the majority of viewers have either seen/heard them so many times that they are sick to death of them while the rest of the audience just turned to each other with looks that said "who the f**k are these geezers?"

And while Joel sucked Prince actually did an admirable job of making the halftime show work.

Decked out in an aqua suit and hair net 'do rag, the Artist took the electric purple stage shaped like the symbol he once used as a moniker and ripped through a set of his classics plus covers of others that had Prince-ophiles like my wife squealing with joy. Coupled with innovative use of lighting which created an iconic silhouette against a billowing sheet and some traditional nasty guitar work it made for a flashy, fun performance against the backdrop of the rainy Miami night.

"Let's Go Crazy
" was a great choice for his intro song, but Tina Turner's "Proud Mary"? Why? By the time he attempted to belt out the Foo Fighter's "Best of You" I almost reached for my iPod so I could hear the song the way it was intended to be heard- sung by Dave Grohl. (my wife & I both pointed out that it would have been much cooler to have the Foos up there with Prince and let Dave growl out the lyrics while Prince provided the guitar- why can't execs think of this stuff?)

But the little man redeemed himself on his closing number, with a little help from Mother Nature. His rendition of the soulful ballad "Purple Rain" was certainly befitting the soggy evening and served as an anthem for the entire event. Capped by an explosive pyrotechnics display, Prince exited the stage as one of the top halftime performers in history, trailing U2 and Nipple-gate but certainly ahead of the Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney.

Not bad for a little old guy with a degenerative hip condition.

Now onto the main stuff- the ads. This year was a mixture of good & bad, hilarious and stupid. But with so many companies vying for only so much ad time you're going to get a hodgepodge like that.

That's why there are so many sites like this to sort through the riffraff and help you decide which ones were the most memorable, for better or worse.

So without further adieu, and with the help of iFilms, here are my Top 5 Super Bowl ads in various categories.


5- Honda, GMC, & Toyota
With bland ads like the ones these guys came up with it's no wonder the car business is in the crapper

4- Bud Dalmation
Okay, we know the Clydesdales are played out and the Lizards are so '90s but resorting to a little spotted dog? Cute, but cheap. At least it didn't talk.

3- Schick Quattro
A lady slipping off a treadmill-brilliant! (not)

2- Sales Guy
An absolute snoozer that had no business being shown during this marquee event

1- Prudential: Retirement

"A rock can..." bring your Super Bowl viewing party to a grinding halt. Please, never again.


5- Fed Ex: Moon Service
With all the air, sea and ground angles covered in past ads, FedEx took to outer space for inspiration in this original chuckler

4-Doritos :Crash
This contest-winning gem was reportedly made for $12 bucks. Take that Madison Ave.

3- Sprint Broadband
Coining the phrase "connectile dysfunction" served to both skewer those annoying male performance-enhancing drug ads and boost the visibility of Sprint's product. Brilliant!
Not a particularly great series of ads, but combining the drab world of office cubbies with the do-or-die urgency of Survivor/ Lost was a creative stroke of genius

1-Coke: Assembly Line
Even though this ad has run in theaters for months seeing the magical inner workings of a coke machine made for fun, fantastic viewing .


5- American Heart Association: Heart
Nothing like talking about diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity while 95 million people are loading up on nachos, fried foods and beer. Thanks Captain Buzzkill!

4-Chevy: Car Wash
This one featured a bunch of shirtless guys washing a Chevy HHR in the middle of a downtown street to Nelly's "Hot in Herrre". It was created by a 19-year old contest winner. 'Nuff said.

3-Emerald Nuts: Office
Although I commend them for their originality, Robert Goulet crawling along an office ceiling made me a little uncomfortable.

2-Budweiser: Strategy
Call me crazy but I felt the mating of coaching legend Don Shula, hip hop icon Jay-Z and a holographic game of virtual football just didn't click.

1-Revlon: Sheryl Crow
Okay, let's cut this shit out right now. Do women watch the Super Bowl? Yes. Do women deserve to have a makeup commercial planted smack dab in the middle of the crucial third quarter? Hells no! It was the equivalent of pulling the E-brake on a bullet train.


5-Taco Bell: Talking Lions
After a massive food poisoning scandal all they can come up with is an a CG lion who purrs "carrrrne asada"? How 'bout giving away your craptastic food and bringing back the chihuahua?

4-Go Daddy
The mysterious domain name provider continued its tradition of using busty women to sell their site, but this time dragged American Chopper's Teutel family with them. How creative.

3-Bud Lite: Slap & Faceoff
Okay, so they were funny at first. But the more you think about them and the more you see them, the more disturbing- and unfunny- they become

2- Garmin: Map Monster

Cheesy Japanese monsters, Power Rangers, bad hair bands and a GPS device. You're fired!

1-Snickers: Mechanic
Way to bounce back from Nipplegate, NFL- air a commercial with two men kissing while chewing a candy bar right near the beginning of the game when all the kiddies are watching. Nice. *Worst Commercial Award*.


5-Chevy: Singers

-The only cool car ad tapped the likes of Mary J. Blige, Big & Rich, T.I. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to sing songs referencing the Bowtied automaker. Very well done, especially racer Johnny O'Connell "rapping" LL Cool J's "Going Back to Cali".

4- Blockbuster Mouse

-Yes the former video giant used the tired template of talking CG-animated animals, but this silly, simple spot got its point across and had the benefit of a voiceover from Jack Donaghy himself, Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin.

3- Bud Lite:Hitchhiker
-Although this one used a couple of old themes- doing anything for a Bud Light and movie villains- it made them funny & original; finally, a decent beer ad!

2- Nationwide: K-Fed
-The (sorta) lovable loser lampooned himself for a reported $500,000 and now he is laughing all the way to the bank while we are just laughing at this clever ad. Actually made my wife exclaim "I like K-Fed now"-but will it help sell insurance? "Federline! Fries!"

1- Coke: Love

-This creative take on the controversial yet wildly popular video game Grand Theft Auto was not only visually stunning but it sent a positive, anti-GTA message, and tied in with the Miami setting of the Bowl. Gotta "give a little love" to Coke for their innovative entries, and this masterpiece takes home the top prize for 2007. Loved the dancing rats.

Honorable mention goes out to Oprah & Letterman's couch snuggle, but that was more a promo than an ad so it was disqualified from consideration. Also the Carlos Mencia Bud ads were decent and my wife & the gals in her office enjoyed another amateur contest winner, the slightly risque Doritos Cashier spot.

Anyway, that's all I got. Any comments, complaints, or arguments, feel free to let me know. Until next year, Super Bowl coverage is officially over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The commercial for was the only ad that that was relevant IMHO.