Bowled over by super commercials

Yes, it’s time once again to dip into the “commercial bowl” and pluck out the best TV ads shown during that guys-running-around-griddle-iron fight over a ball that’s not even shaped right.

This year, I’m introducing a simple rating scheme. Keeping in fashion with this bowl motif, I’ve assigned a specific number of bowls to each ad. Good ads get popcorn bowls, because there’s nothing like eating popcorn during great entertainment. Bad ads get toilet bowls, because, at $2 million a pop, these ads should NOT be flush with failure.

Britney Spears performs Pepsi songs through five decades. First of all, Coke IS better. Second, Spears makes me throw up. Give this commercial five toilet bowls, one for each decade.

Airplanes fly over a beach pulling banners behind them. This was some dot-com company. One big industrial revolution era pull-chain toilet bowl.

Same goes for One kid in the ad asks, “What’s an mlife.” Good question. Make that two pull-chain toilet bowls.

But lets give a big, bulging oversized popcorn bowl for a later commercial which begins with a series of close-ups of belly buttons, then moves to an operating table where a woman has just given birth. As the doctor reaches for the instrument to cut the umbilical cord, a voice says, “We are all meant to lead a wireless life.”

Bud Light’s falcon is trained to snatch bottles of beer from tables at an outdoor cafe where it terrorizes customers. This is funny. Seven popcorn bowls.

Budweiser Clydesdale horses pull the Anheuser-Busch beer wagon over hill and dale to a site overlooking the New York City skyline, where they turn toward Sept. 11’s ground zero, and bow. This one just feels good and right. Seven popcorn bowls with butter.

Dockers pants worn by a guy on the dance floor while all the other guys wear black dresses. “Finally, guys have an answer to the little black dress.” Pretty clever. Three popcorn bowls and a dash of salt to the guys who bravely squeezed into those dresses.

Brisk ice tea puppets, including a tiny Danny Devito, are fired because the new Brisk “sells itself.” Three popcorn bowls just to watch weather guy Al Roker get smushed with puppet-heaved vegetables, with one toilet bowl because it hints at a never-ending series of these commercials.

Mel Gibson trailer advertising the August 2002 release of his new movie “Signs.” First, anything with Mel Gibson in it gets my wife’s vote and she is the keeper of the popcorn bowl. So Gibson gets a popcorn bowl. Second, the trailer sent a chill down my spine. Four more popcorn bowls for that.

Kevin Bacon having to prove his identification to buy something. One popcorn bowl for Bacon, but two toilet bowls for the ad because I forgot what he was selling.

The dolphin who learned to talk by going to Other dot-com commercial copywriters … take a lesson. Four popcorn bowls.

Untoasted submarine sandwich buns vs. toasted ones? During a taste test, a woman begins to choose the toasted one. From off camera, someone shoots a poisoned dart into her neck and she falls face first into the untoasted one. A researcher writes the result and says, “Dives right into the untoasted sub.” The announcer says, “The only way to beat Quiznos subs is to cheat.” Eight popcorn bowls.

Chevy trucks. This was a plain vanilla ad just before halftime. This is the Super Bowl, for cripes sake. Show a little creativity. This gets 72 stinky toilet bowls for not even trying.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivers a message of hope. The black and white ad with a silhouette of the Empire State Building in the background was very effective. It was paid for by, Giuliani – America’s mayor – didn’t charge a dime for his time, and so it deserves a sterling silver popcorn bowl.

That took us all to halftime when, oh, by the way, the New England Patriots were winning 14-3.

Give those St. Louis Rams an entire outhouse.

Write to Tony Nauroth at 30 N. Fourth St., Easton, PA 18044, call him at 610-258-7171, or e-mail him at