Advertisers were prepared in case this was a blowout


By Steve Svekis

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Someone figured Super Bowl XXXVII would be a blowout.

The NFL championship game was more competitive during the station breaks than on the field. Advertisers seemed prepared for a lopsided final score, as most of the attention-getting productions came in the first half.

Some huge companies, such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, took a pass on paying upward of $2 million for 30 seconds of air time. In stark contrast, Budweiser committed $23.1 million for 5 1/2 minutes.

Without further adieu, let’s award touchdowns — and toss penalty flags.


Budweiser kicked off the in-game advertising with some bang for its buck. The beer giant presented a fun spot that was a harbinger for the slew of offerings with animals playing a central role. The familiar Clydesdales reprised their ongoing Super Bowl football game, waiting for the results of a video review by a zebra.

The Ozzy Osbourne/Osmonds Pepsi ad? Yes to the doddering Prince of Darkness. Even Donny, Marie and Florence Henderson. But please, please, no more of Osbourne’s overexposed and under-talented progeny, Jack and Kelly.

FedEx continued cashing in on the product placement it enjoyed in the movie “Cast Away” as we see the Tom Hanks-type character deliver the package he has held for those years on the island. The recipient reveals the box held a satellite phone and other items that would have resulted in a quick rescue. Well done.

Visa featured Chinese NBA rookie Yao Ming in a New York pawnshop. The language-barrier issues made for a fun look. And Yogi Berra provided the right exclamation point. Yao. Yo. Yogi.

Other hits:

A frenetic and scratching Jackie Chan illustrating the impetus behind Hanes providing tagless T-shirts; a resourceful Bud Light drinker gets into a canine-free establishment with his dog as coiffure; Sierra Mist’s animals getting cooled off in offbeat ways; H&R Block’s ad making light of the notorious tax troubles of country crooner Willie Nelson.

The yellow flags:

Bud Light, despite its one witty ad, wasted a lot of money on insipid, dumb efforts — the upside-down clown, the mother and daughter, three-armed man.

Dodge Ram’s depiction of a choking man being saved by the acceleration and stopping of the advertised vehicle, replete with a graphic look at the projected choked-on meat, was in poor taste in more ways than one.

Quizno’s is working on a new logo, apparently. But any branding opportunity was probably lost in the vision of the manager working behind the counter minus his pants. had a puzzling 30 seconds spent showing a driverless 18-wheeler wreaking havoc.

And, for as much scrutiny as Miller Lite’s wrestling-women ad has received (they were absent during the game), there were other objectification ads that were in the same league, such as the one for Budweiser where the guy says he likes the woman’s roommate better, and she suggests he date both of them. Even the ABC house spots promoting the NHL All-Star Game and Pro Bowl came with the accompaniment of a few bikini-clads.