Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Superbowl 42

Why review the Superbowl in a Blog on running, race directing and athletics? Because it is a marketing phenomenon. (Plus, football players are athletes, after all - we're not talking baseball here.) But besides who won the game and why, there's the advertising, which is even more important. Superbowl commercials illustrate how sports and business interact, and present a cutting edge playing field in the art of promotion.

This year's field of ad spots are worth mentioning. The best local spot was the Samauri trunk monkey. The Under Armour commercial was a bit disappointing - it is a good product, but it didn't really hit the mark. Three other commercials that were amusing, yet not spectacular were Planter's peanuts "monobrow", Sobe Life Water's dancing lizards, and Garmin's Napoleon. My personal favorites are as follows:

10 The "Jinx" Coke ad with Bill Frist and James Carville. It was clever, yet pleasant.

9 Doritos' "mousetrap" ad. A bit existentialist perhaps, but it is Doritos, so why not?

8 Coke with Macy's parade balloons, Stewie and Underdog, battling for the Coke balloon. Shot very well. Charlie Brown in the end was a nice touch.

7 E*trade with talking, puking baby. I'm not particularly a fan of talking babies, but this one was done well.

6 Pepsi with Justin Timberlake and friends. Justin Timberlake crashes into many things, with great cameos along the way.

5 cars.com's Circle of Death. This got the reaction that most of the Bud Light commercials were looking for.

4 Pepsi Max with Chris Kattan. Pepsi with caffeine, shot with an interesting soundtrack. It was a long set up for one punch line, but Chris Kattan of Saturday Night Live fame made it all worthwhile.

3 Audi's "Godfather" commercial, with the R8. Beautiful and brilliant.

2 Bud Light: Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon. This is spectacular, and was originally my top pick. Will Ferrell does a Bud Light ad in the character of Jackie Moon to promote his upcoming movie Semi Pro. Cross-pollination at its best.

1 Godaddy.com & their "Exposure" ad . I thought this was a smart idea - to show an ad during the Superbowl that invites spectators to go to their website to see the ad that Fox would not show. Then, of course, I saw the commercial at the Godaddy.com site, and it was brilliant.

First of all, the Janet Jackson performance at the Superbowl several years ago was terrible. She sang with Justin Timberlake while her brother, Michael Jackson, had legal trouble regarding sleep-overs with underage fans. The weird thing about the performance was that Justin Timberlake sang and danced just like his hero, Michael Jackson. And the song's lyrics were sexually suggestive, so it almost looked like Janet was flirting with her brother - or someone imitating her brother. I was at a party with a group of runners, and we were barely paying attention, but I remember looking up and thinking that the entire performance was just a bit too gay, especially with the half nude dancing guys in the background.

OK, so then Janet Jackson exposed her breast, which was half conveniently covered by a ring, and we all breathed a sigh of relief that the awful performace was over. Later, we heard that the exposure was accidental, due to a wardrobe malfunction, as if anyone cared, and that churches across the land were writing in to complain. And who gets penalized for Janet Jackson's performance, which coincided with the release of her new album? Howard Stern gets penalized, if that makes any sense.

In 2005, Godaddy.com airs a commercial with a woman testifying to Congress, and has a "wardrobe malfunction" of her own. Brilliant. This lifted Godaddy's stocks, so they aired a series of similar commercials in 2006. For the 2007 Superbowl, Fox bans their original commercial, which stars racecar driver Danica Patrick.

So, does the banned "Exposed" ad involve any nudity or partial nudity? No. It does, however, cleverly make fun of infamous celebrities while satirizing the paparazzi. Very funny, very smart, and I think being banned from Superbowl 42 was a great strategy. If you want to check out a few for yourself, go to http://www.superbowl-ads.com/

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