How’s this for a Super Bowl first? This year the football game that they squeeze in between all the fancy commercials was actually worth watching. In fact, the on-field play was a lot better than the commercials. The Giants’ determined upset of the consecrated Patriots was exciting and fun to the end -- unlike the rather tepid lineup of ads.
Here are some of the highlights and lowlights. (BTW, cheers to News Corp. for stumbling on this convergence brainstorm: All the Super Bowl ads are posted on MySpace, which is also owned by the Fox parent.)
Funniest Commercial Bud Light, “Wine & Cheese Party” You can usually expect some clever frat-boy humor from the folks at Bud, and they came through again. The poor guys who get dragged to a wine and cheese party outsmart their girlfriends by sneaking Bud Light into the snooty soiree: One dude stuffs a bottle into a loaf of French bread, and another conceals an entire six pack in a wheel of cheddar. Yeah! (Bud’s “Hank the Clydesdale” was cute too.)
Best Ironic Spot Doritos, “Giant Mousetrap” The deadpan non-sequiturs are probably overdone during the Super Bowl -- it’s an easy way to approximate “edgy” humor. But here Doritos succeeds by going simple (and really deadpan): Dude puts a Doritos chip in a mousetrap. Another dude wearing a mouse costume jumps through the wall to get it. Funny.
Best Un-Ironic Spot Doritos, “Kina Grannis music video” Instead of trying to be cute or funny, here Doritos went for sincere: Playing a 60-second music video by up-and-coming artist Kina Grannis (who won an online vote). With ad time costing a reported $2.7 million per 30 seconds, Doritos invested more than five million bucks in the singer/songwriter’s career. That’s more help than she could expect from most record companies these days.
Worst Use of Racial Stereotypes Sales Genie, “Indian Salesman” and “Chinese Pandas” These animated ads are bad -- and not just badly animated. In one, an Indian dude with a thick accent has to meet his sales quota so he can feed his seven kids; in the other, a pair of pidgin-English-speaking Chinese pandas try to sell bamboo furniture. Not funny.
Best Use of CGI Coke, “Parade Balloons” During the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the giant balloons of Underdog and Stewie from “Family Guy” escape and chase after the giant Coke balloon. Simple and effective.
Worst Use of CGI (Tie) eTrade, “Talking Baby” and Sobe LifeWater, “Dancing Lizards” First of all, using computer-generate imagery to make babies (and dogs) talk is like, so 2003. Even then it was creepy, not funny. Second of all, I don’t understand the lizards dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Are they thirsty? Did Sobe LifeWater turn them into choreographed zombies from the ’80s? Do they need plastic surgery? Or maybe they got plastic surgery and that’s why they’re lizards? Man, what a waste of money.