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 V.19 No.6 | February 11 - 17, 2010 

Idiot Box

Time Out

The best and worst Super Bowl ads

Sunday’s Super Bowl had to have been the lamest in recent memory. ... Not the game itself, mind you, which was an exciting capper to the football season. No, it was the commercials that flopped. What the hell happened this year? This is the Super Bowl. It’s the Super Bowl of Advertising. And yet, many retailers stayed home. FedEx, GM and PepsiCo were among the big boys who bowed out. Many of those that did contribute showed a major lack of creativity and talent. For every memorable commercial there were a dozen instantly forgettable, mostly recycled ads.

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Even quarterback Tim Tebow’s highly controversial “anti-abortion” ad turned out to be nothing more than a dull, mildly sappy appeal for adoption. On the other end of the spectrum, Electronic Arts’ plug for the upcoming video game Dante’s Inferno was raising the hackles of Christian conservatives. It turned out to be little more than 30 seconds worth of generic fantasy footage: sword-swinging, babes and monsters. Yawn. So what did stand out?

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Best

Denny’sA great running gag featuring screaming chickens terrified over the idea of having to lay eggs for the restaurant chain’s Free Grand Slam Breakfast promotion was clever and quick to the point. The shot of the chicken screaming silently in outer space was just perfect.

HomeAwayIt was fantastic to see Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back as the Griswolds from Vacation movie fame. But it was kind of sad to realize this commercial was little more than a teaser for the feature-length version onlineif for no other reason than it was funnier than all of European Vacation.

MotorolaMegan Fox sends out a cell phone picture of herself in the bathtub and nearly brings the country to a halt. Funny and sexyunlike those damn GoDaddy.com commercials.

GoogleThe Internet search engine managed to tell an engaging little tale, all through one man’s search termsfrom student exchange programs in France to a wedding in Paris. Understated, engaging and a perfect way to highlight the product.

CBSThe network plugged its “Late Show with David Letterman” in a seriously funny and surprising bit. Seeing Dave and Oprah reunited was great. But throwing Jay Leno on the couch as well for the most awkward Super Bowl party ever was simply genius. Looks like the late night wars have produced one good thing, anyway.

Worst

GoDaddy.comPoor Danica Patrick. She’s obviously a talented race car driver. But since she’s female, she’s relegated to these puerile T&A ads in which women rip their shirts off to plug domain name registration.

Taco BellBloated-looking Charles Barkley busting a completely lame “rap” about Taco Bell’s $5 meal? That’s just lowly, Sir Charles.

Boost MobileThe advertiser attempted to re-create a geriatric version of the infamous Super Bowl Shuffle from 1985, but the re-creation was so weak, the connection barely registered. And what did this have to do with Boost Mobile?

 
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