Are you ready for some football? Or, more importantly, are you ready for some Super Bowl ads? As I mentioned last week, I'll be blogging about the big game's commercials right here, and invite you to join in via the comment field. Note that we're talking ads only here, leaving the rah-rah rooting and reviews of the on-field action to others. And I may not get to every single ad, so if I skip one and you want to chat about it, bring it up in the comments.
If you're more interested in the gridiron action than the ads, check out my colleague, Sunny Wu's, blog of the on-field action. He may dip into our territory too, mentioning certain commercials as the ads appeal to him.
And our business section has set up a NCAA-tourney style bracket of the ads, which promises to be a lot of fun, too. Check that out here.
JESSICA SIMPSON FOR PIZZA HUT
Wait, was that a Super Bowl ad? They almost slipped that right past me, it was so ordinary. Was there anything in that commercial that you couldn't see in any random ad the rest of the year? Cheesy Bites indeed, emphasis on the "cheesy." And I hear a rumor this is just part of a series. Oh, yay.
BUD: ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS
So they play Rock, Paper, Scissors with real rocks and paper. Rock wins. As a friend of mine says, "It IS a rock, after all. Should beat anything." But I'm not actually even sure what beer was being advertised, which you'd think is the point.
DORITOS READER-SUBMITTED AD
We've certainly heard a lot about these. Can regular folks make ads any better than Madison Avenue? Based on this one, where people smash into a bunch of things because they're Doritos-happy, my guess is "no." Reminds me of the VW ads where you start closing your eyes early because the accidents are kind of upsetting.
BLOCKBUSTER PET STORE
Animated animals are usually pretty cute. But the "clicking and dragging" of the real mouse? Yeah, just came across as mean to me. PETA no doubt has Blockbuster on speed dial. From your comments, though, I'm the only one who thought it wasn't hilarious.
SIERRA MIST BEARD COMBOVER
Yuck, although perhaps not that far from what Donald Trump may be trying for his next hairdo. At first I thought this was the Geico caveman trying a new gig. It also reminds me of today's "Ask the Ethicist" in the NY Times, in which a teacher isn't hired simply because he has a beard. The Ethicist, as usual, is no help.
Just...what? Is it 1970 all of a sudden? Slick salesman with the red sportscar impressing the ladies? Oh, I don't know. And I have no idea what the site even does.
SIERRA MIST MARTIAL ARTS
OK, kind of funny. Am I the only one out there who thinks "Sierra Mist" is one clunky name for a soft drink? I mean, I guess a two-word name works fine for "Mountain Dew," but "Sierra Mist" comes off to me like a Safeway house brand, or something. I guess we'll be seeing a lot of that product tonight, though.
Truck races through a steel door, stops at the edge of a cliff. What is it with these ads creeping me out? Not that we haven't seen this in every sci-fi movie, but you have to wonder if they ever didn't make it through the door in rehearsal. Reminds me of "SNL": "Bring in the stunt baby!"
Heh, I like the floating dog. What is this ad for? Oh, "Firefly." Er, I mean, FedEx. My favorite ad so far.
BUD LIGHT AUCTIONEER WEDDING
Who couldn't use that guy at a wedding every once in a while? Let's cruise through the ceremony and get to the buffet, already. Not bad.
SNICKERS MEN MAKE OUT
Stupidest. Ad. Ever. My friend Andy checked out the Web site listed, and notes that there are four endings to this commercials and viewers are supposed to vote on the one they like best. How about I vote that this commercial be sealed in Kryptonite and buried at the bottom of the sea, never to be seen again by anyone? How about that?
CHEVYS MAKE EVERYONE SING
It took me a second to get this, but I guess the pitch was based on "there are a lot of popular songs that mention Chevy." Got it? I do like hearing the music, though.
BUD LIGHT LANGUAGE CLASS
Were all beer ads written by people who were already drunk on the product? I tell ya.
Really a promo, not a commercial, but I'll post about it here since people are bound to love it. And Oprah living in Chicago and Dave being from Indy, it even works in that regard. Somehow I think Dave and Oprah would be pretty fun to watch the game with. You just know they'd have something smart to say about that stupid Snickers ad. Oprah would deliver a smart lecture on how it's really OK for men to kiss and Dave would rip off Paul Schaffer's chest hair, or something.
Did I lose the coin flip, or something? Who knew that covering the commercials would be boring, and the game itself would actually be full of tricks and treats? Hey Sunny, want to trade jobs?
GO DADDY MARKETING BABES
Yeah, no women watch the Super Bowl, or use your Web site, whatever it is. Don't worry, we're not in the least bit offended when we're shown as being sprayed down with hoses for the enjoyment of men. Keep right on appealing to the brain-free. What did Bill Cosby have his characters say? "Russell, you're like school in summer. No class."
COKE AND COMPUTER-GENERATED PEOPLE
I thought this was an ad for "The Sims" until the last second there. Although I guess it more closely resembled "Grand Theft Auto." Is this a game Coke, with their relentlessly family-friendly, perky image, really wants to be down with?
BUD: HUNGRY DOGGY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
My new favorite ad. Hungry, lost mongrel gets splashed with mud, can now pass for a firetruck Dalmatian and is accepted up onto beauty queen's lap. Awwww. Good use of "Ain't That a Kick in the Head," too.
GARMIN JAPANESE MONSTER MOVIE
Wow, that was either really stupid or loopily wonderful. I need a second to decide.
MEN RUN FROM TRAINING SEMINAR: CAREER BUILDER
I am sensing a theme here: Let's only appeal to men. Only men watch football. Only men buy products. Only men need Web sites. Or maybe: Only men make the ads?
DORITOS VIEWER-MADE AD: CASHIER GETS FLIRTY
This is what Doritos picked out of X zillion viewer-made submissions? Maybe we should leave the commercial-making to the pros. Except that pros apparently made the Snickers commercial, so perhaps there is a flaw in my theory.
MEN STRIP FOR CHEVY
How do parents watch this game with their kids? I mean, seriously: They have to explain to them that this is supposed to be funny?
BUD: SLAPPING REPLACES FIST-BUMPING
Sometimes you start to wonder: Is it me? Does everyone else think this is funny except for me? How did this ad get past a zillion focus groups and ad execs? Am I a humorless prude out of touch with modern America? Or does the emperor have no clothes? And right now I'm thinking: Hey, that emperor, he is NEKKID.
PEOPLE DRESSED UP LIKE DISEASES/CONDITIONS ATTACK A HEART
GM: ASSEMBLY LINE ROBOT DREAMS OF SUICIDE
This is much funnier, only not in a way GM ever intended, if you read "Rivethead." Or saw "Roger and Me," where one scene focuses on the short-lived theme park AutoWorld, where a robotic autoworker sings a love song to the robot replacing him on the line. Also, some folks are questioning the suicide element of the ad, both for sheer taste issues and because the robot was so darn cute kids worried he might actually jump.
COKE: BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Not that we're not big fans of Rosa Parks, but Coke pretty much phoned that in. Show the product, show some incredible phrases about history, hope viewers associate the two. Phoned it in.
The latest from the sports desk: Game blogger Sunny Wu is refusing to swap jobs with me. Seems he prefers this lively, close game to these not-so-lively ads. Also, reader revolt is forming in the comments because I am a "Negative Nancy" who does not like enough of the ads.
SPRINT: CONNECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Nope, that one's not going to help me shed the "Negative Nancy" label, either.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER PROMO
It's not a real commercial, but I have to comment on the "How I Met Your Mother" promo in which the characters go to great lengths to try and get through the day after the Super Bowl without learning who won. Heh. I kind of appreciate that because it feels almost impossible to do in this day and age -- as we at MSNBC.com discover when we receive angry emails after almost every major sporting event or TV show from people who are furious that we spoiled the result for them.
DORITOS: BLACK HISTORY, TAKE TWO
That one worked better for me than the Coke ad: Doritos (I mistyped as "Coke" at first) shows little snippets of people, mostly African-Americans, watching the game. Obviously going for the Black History Month angle, but in a more subtle way.
COKE: MR. HADLEY GETS DARING
Not a bad ad, here, but overall, I'm missing something...missing the great Super Bowl ads of the past, like herding cats and Mean Joe Greene...the ads you really talk about the next day. Mr. Hadley isn't awful, but neither is he especially memorable. Unlike, say, this game.
GEICO: THE CAVEMAN IS BACK
Readers loved these furry-faced guys in our summer commercial contest, and it's fun to see them back. I also like ads that rely on images and music rather than BRAYING AND SCREAMING THE PRODUCT NAME, so I liked it. Welcome back, Cave Guy!
HALFTIME QUICK RECAP:
BEST AD: Budweiser stray dog gets mud splashed on him, becomes a star
WORST AD: Snickers is grossed out by men kissing, but not by chest-hair ripping.
This post is getting a little long, so while I'll leave it open for comments on first-half ads, we'll continue with discussion of the second-half ads at a new URL.