As a whole, Super ads lack spark,1413,204~21475~1138743,00.html

Commercials: Reebok office linebacker sacks rather weak competition.

By Joe Stevens

And the winner is …


By default, the shoe company had the most memorable commercial during this year’s Super Bowl. In a year in which commercial creativity was as lacking as the Oakland Raiders’ offense, Reebok bought just one Super Bowl ad and made a commercial that people could talk about around their water coolers this morning.

The commercial was simple, funny and could bring this name into the lexicon of corporate America “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.’

Wearing a No.56 jersey, Tate violently tackles workers who bend office rules.

Tate yells, “That’s a long- distance call, Doug!’

Then he tackles him.

After another employee plays computer solitaire, Tate tackles him.

It’s silly, cute and possible fodder for office chatter.

Other than that, there were only a few successful spots. Anything with Ozzy Osbourne works, nowadays. But on a whole, the commercials were void of creativity and subtlety and weren’t memorable at all.

When faced with corporate losses, advertising budgets are often slashed in the beginning of hard times. It looks as if corporate America still is in hard times.

By far, the biggest Super Bowl loser this year was Anheuser- Busch, which spent approximately $23.1 million for a record 11 commercials.

Not only did Anheuser-Busch fail with most of its commercials, but the company appeared to try to alienate women drinkers. Approximately seven of Busch’s 11 Super Bowl commercials came from an ultra-male perspective that often stepped over the line into sexism.

In those ads, Busch didn’t have enough humor to get laughs, and viewers were left either confused or dismayed. Without the necessary laughs, the sexist nature of the Busch commercials was underscored.

When a guy wants to date his girlfriend’s roommate and she agrees, is that humor? Don’t think so.

That’s just a precursor for the guy and roommates finding themselves on the Jerry Springer Show.

The Winners:

1. Terry Tate, Office Linebacker: In a boring second half, Reebok spiced things up with the linebacker. Bosses and their workers all should be able to relate to having a fierce football player enforcing flexible office rules. So think twice about making that long-distance call on the company dime. Tate might sack you.

2. The Osbourne twist: Ozzy Osbourne and his family are less than a year from being officially overexposed. But the Pepsi Twist ad, having Jack and Kelly Osbourne transform into Donnie and Marie Osmond was magnificent. Then, the commercial outdid its first 20 seconds by having Ozzy wake up in bed with TV’s Carol Brady, Florence Henderson.

Hawking a DVD, the Osbournes also had a funny commercial as Ozzy exclaimed, “What the hell is this?’ and “People want to see us on DVD?’

Yes, Oz, they do.

3. Lathered Willie Nelson: H&R Block bought just one ad this Super Bowl, and the tax company made it count, setting up a premise in which country star Willie Nelson owed the IRS $30 million and had to become a spokesman for a shaving cream company. Nelson’s bearded face gets lathered, and he repeats, “My face is burning! My face is burning!’ It’s cute and wacky and even has a link to what H&R does taxes.

4. Clydesdales and replay: It sure looked as if the horses were in bounds, but also not sure if that really mattered. Anheuser-Busch had perfect timing, kicking off its onslaught of 11 Super Bowl ads with a zebra acting as a referee, reviewing the horses. On the next play, the Super Bowl officials did the same thing, reviewing an obvious fumble call.

5. Sierra Mist baboons: The mere fact that a baboon jumping into a pool makes the best list shows how poor the commercials were this year. This one was a little cute, having a baboon cool itself in a pool of polar bears. But this baboon can never compare to Spuds MacKenzie or Joe Camel. It’s not a baboon with staying power.

The Losers:

1. Anheuser-Busch: Other than the zebra reviewing the Clydesdales, the 10 other commercials from the brewer were not memorable. A beachgoer gets clawed in the nose by a lobster, a guy watches a football game and doesn’t listen to a woman when she’s talking about a relationship those two certainly weren’t worth $2.1 million each to air. Kids at Rogers Middle School definitely could have come up with more creative premises.

2. Celine Dion and Chrysler: One ad executive said to the other, “Hey, how about Celine Dion singing in a car.’ There is nothing creative about that, nothing emotional and nothing special. Chrysler must be going for the boring demographic.

3. “Daredevil’ the movie: In its 30-second ad, this Hollywood schlockbuster has the lines “In the movie event of the year’ and “Now, the wait is over.’ Is this movie, “Daredevil,’ really anticipated? By whom? Maybe the movie won’t be that schlocky, but the commercial overflows with more cliches than John Madden’s mouth. Even the lame “Bad Boys 2′ commercial wasn’t as laughable.

4. Our tax dollars at work: The White House office of National Drug Control Policy bought two ads. One had a subway rider, looking at the faces of people killed by drug users. Another ad brought up teen pregnancy. Not sure these ads did anything but waste tax payers’ money. As we were bombarded by 11 alcohol ads by Anheuser-Busch, what good were these?

5. Visa’s Barber boys: With each 30-second spot costing $2.1 million, you would think Visa would come up with another commercial, other than re-editing one with Tiki and Ronde Barber to have a clerk point out that the Bucs’ Ronde was actually playing in the Super Bowl. That Barber commercial has been running for weeks, and it’s obvious Visa “cheaped-out’ on this one.