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 V.17 No.6 | February 7 - 13, 2008 

Idiot Box

Commercial Grade

Super Bowl winners and losers

With six out of 10 households tuned in to watch the New York Giants squeak past the heavily favored New England Patriots, this year’s Super Bowl XLII was the most watched in history. But viewership wasn’t the only record toppled last Sunday. A mix of 37 advertisers paid the highest price ever for Super Bowl commercials--$2.7 million for 30-second spots.

A total of 54 commercials aired during game time, and viewers spent as much time analyzing the ads as they did dissecting New England’s lackluster offense. So who were the winners and losers of this year’s Super Bowl commercial breaks? Let’s break it down.

Best:

1. Budweiser--Bud has topped out 10 years in a row, leading industry polls as well as the influential Ad Meter ratings (an interactive poll of 234 adults conducted every year by Delve and Shugoll Research). Humor-oriented spots featuring a fire-breathing man setting his date’s home on fire, cavemen inventing the bottle opener and guys sneaking beer into a wine and cheese party all elicited big laughs. But the best of the best belonged to Bud’s sentimental story about a Dalmatian training a Clydesdale, Rocky-style.

2. FedEx--A company relying on carrier pigeons rather than FedEx made for a memorable commercial thanks to a funny sight gag involving giant pigeons running amok.

3. Bridgestone--Bridgestone Tire Company had two amusing spots, impressing on viewers the safety of their tires. In one, a driver avoided unusual obstacles like Alice Cooper and Richard Simmons. The better spot, however, featured a squirrel stuck in the path of an oncoming automobile. His outsized scream was echoed by all the other creatures of the forest. Happy ending: He’s spared roadkill status by the power of Bridgestone.

4. Doritos--It was a year-old, viewer-created spot. But the Doritos commercial featuring a giant rat pummeling a guy eating chips still packed a punch.

5. Tide to Go--This ad in which a man tried to navigate a job interview while a stain on his shirt babbled away was beautifully timed for maximum comic effect--proving, once again, that humor stands out during the Super Bowl.

Worst:

1. Diet Pepsi Max--Assorted people, including celebrities, bobbed their heads with fatigue. After drinking caffed-up Max, they bobbed their heads enthusiastically to “What is Love” by Haddaway. In the end, we got a surprise cameo from ... Chris Kattan? Geez, Pepsi, A Night at the Roxbury was 10 years ago. And it wasn’t funny then.

2. Gatorade G2--Watching a big dog drink out of a water bowl and slobber for 30 seconds really didn’t make me want to drink Gatorade.

3. AMP--A fat tow-truck driver powered a battery by hooking jumper cables to his nipples. Must all power drink commercials be disgusting?

4. GoDaddy.com--This year’s commercial was deemed “too sexy,” so GoDaddy’s anti-ad encouraged viewers to log onto its website in the vain hope of seeing Danica Patrick's boobies. What does this company sell again?

5. E-Trade--Talking babies? Always bad. Talking, puking babies? The pits.

 
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