Ozzy, Caddies and Pepsi score in Super Bowl ads


By Bob Betcher media columnist 

It wasn’t a night for Metamucil ads.

The commercials on Sunday’s ABC telecast of the Super Bowl took aim at young – mostly football-loving – men with a mixture of spots for beer, soda pop, sports cars, and action-themed movies.

Each slickly-produced 30-second commercial set advertisers back upwards of $2.2 million. It was a bargain, many said, since they reached about 130 million viewers.

My favorites:

* Pepsi Twist – In a dream, the children of TV bad-boy Ozzy Osbourne turn into the wholesome duo of Donny and Marie Osmond. Ozzy’s wife turns up as Carol Brady of the “The Brady Bunch.” The Osbournes and the Osmonds – truly strange bedfellows.

* Cadillac – A subway passenger witnesses the style change of Caddies from the 1950s to the present. An effective execution in shedding the old-fogies image of Cadillac and to lure younger buyers (not that there’s anything wrong with old fogies).

* Pepsi’s Sierra Mist – A dog cools off his master with a blast of water from a fire hydrant. (I could be biased here. Publix was handing out free Sierra Mist samples Saturday and I found the lemon-lime drink smoother than Coke’s Sprite.)

* Bud Lite – A beer-drinking dude winds up with three arms, and uses his extra extremity to lure women. Offbeat, funny.

* FedEx – In a spoof of “The Castaway” starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx executive stranded for five years on an island,

* FedEx guy discovers that a box he was committed to deliver – unopened – could have brought rescue since it contained a satellite phone, a Global Positioning System and a water purifier. Dark, but funny.

* Quizno’s Subs – The cook is so involved with making his grilled subs, he shows up minus his pants. A silly spot, but it holds your interest and the food made me salivate.

Anheuser-Busch, makers of Bud Lite, took top honors in the commercial count category, airing 11, 30-second commercials throughout the game.

By my count, usual big-spender McDonalds – now facing a flurry of store closings – aired only one spot.

My vote for the two worst commercials:

* Subway – Annoying sub-boy Jered is in a slumber, dreaming of opening his own Subway eatery in his house. Subway needs to retire this guy post haste or at least buy the dude a full-fledged steak dinner at Outback.

* Philip Morris – The “talk, they’ll listen” spot, designed to stop teen smoking, is the most vivid example of what’s wrong with the double-talking tobacco company.

Readers who participated in a TCPalm.com Web site poll had their own thoughts:

Judi Bewersdorf said: “The best, well-done commercial was by Cadillac where the man gets on the subway train, sits down, looks out the window and sees the different kinds of Cadillacs pasted on the wall.”

Sheila Hamilton wrote: “The commercials fell way under the bar for Super Bowl. Those sad commercials ranged from lame (Cadillac chasing bulls and three-armed guy) to gross-vulgar (clown suit guy), the Osbournes (not funny), to slightly humorous (Sierra Mist dog).”

And from Benoit Lemay of Port St. Lucie: “Great win for the Bucs, but a mediocre year for commercials. Too many promos for ABC future programs. Unable to sell all the airtime?”

Indeed, ABC clogged up its airwaves with promos for a couple of new series, “Dragnet” and “Veritas,” as well as its new late-night talk show, “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

And did we really need to see Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson of the ABC News division tossing a football in promos for “Good Morning America”?

Local ABC affiliate WPBF Channel 25 repeatedly promoted its late Sunday news, airing unpleasant images of dog fighting and promos for next Sunday about jam-ups on Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County.

Besides the commercials, ABC managed to spoil the half-time entertainment show by superimposing an “AT&T Wireless” logo on the screen for the duration of the acts. It was enough to make me flee to Sprint.

What’s next for ABC’s anything-for-a-buck ad hawkers? Selling the Sunsweet Prune Juice log during “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings”?

Nah, make it Metamucil.

Super Bowl ratings rate

Super Bowl XXXVII on ABC pulled a 43.8 rating and a 62 share from 6:30 to 10:15 p.m. – three percent above last year’s Patriots/Rams match-up on Fox.

WPBF Channel 25, which delivers ABC programs to the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach County, scored similar numbers, peaking with a 50.7 rating and a 63 share at 9:55 p.m., the station said Monday.

The gridiron contest tossed regular Sunday night viewing patterns out the window.

Normally, top-rated CBS’ “60 Minutes” on WPEC Channel 12 placed a very distant second place with 7.19 rating and a 9.88 share between 7 and 8 p.m. “60 Minutes” didn’t even try to compete with ABC, opting for a repeat episode with female-skewing celebrity profiles of Barbra Streisand, Candice Bergen, Tina Turner and Shirley MacLaine.

A couple of prime-time WB shows on WTVX Channel 34, including “High School Reunion,” scored so low opposite the Super Bowl they earned only “hash marks” in the ratings – meaning audience levels were too low to measure.

National figures are from Electronic Media; local numbers are from Nielsen Media Research.

A rating is the percentage of TV households; a share is the percentage of TV sets in use.

Factoring in a 25.7/38 for the post game at 10:30 p.m., ABC nationally beat CBS, NBC, Fox and the WB combined by 169 percent.