Ad-Ventures In Pro Football
By DAN MANGAN, ADAM BUCKMAN and BILL HOFFMANN
It was a Super Bowl to remember for what was seen – and what shouldn’t have been.
The telecast featured a billion dollars worth of new ads for 32 products, ranging from pickup trucks and Pepsi to computers and potato chips.
On the field, the Patriots held off the Panthers to win the title 32-29, while Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake unsuccessfully tried to steal the limelight with a steamy ending to the halftime show.
But, as always, it was the new ads that had fans talking.
Some of the commercials were hip and clever – like Pepsi’s that focused on illegal downloading of songs from the Internet.
“It was the best idea on the Super Bowl,” said Jonathan Bond, co-chairman of advertising company Kirshenbaum, Bond + Partners, who was part of a panel enlisted by The Post to rate the commercials.
“Pepsi has been trying to be young for 40 years. This was new, rebellious and a novel way to outperform Coke,” he said.
Other ads were clunkers, our experts said, like Ford’s speeding cars and trucks dragging unlikely loads.
“They must have exhumed Henry Ford to get a sense of what were the most dated, trite, banal car advertisements I’ve ever seen,” said Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman of Kirshenbaum, Bond+Partners, and another member of our panel.
Another commercial put the spotlight on the late Jimi Hendrix. Did anybody know that, as a young boy, the rock legend weighed taking up the accordion instead of the guitar, but chose the latter, just as he chose Pepsi over Coke?
That weird whirling sound you heard last night was probably the sound of the “Purple Haze” wildman spinning in his grave.
One ad that generated some laughs was a Bud Light spot that featured a couple cuddling in a horse-drawn sleigh before the man stepped away to grab some beer, leaving his date to get treated to the sight and smell of a flatulent horse.
And who knew that Expedia, the online travel agency, was getting into some serious S&M? It sure looked like it as some poor schlub trying to plan a getaway has a nightmare in which he’s held down by evil circus clowns who then painted circles around his nipples.
Are there any other words to use but “sad, sad, sad” for Willie Nelson, who for the second year in a row, is making fun of the tax troubles that nearly destroyed him by shilling for tax-preparing service H&R Block?
And you’ve gotta wonder about the creative minds behind the IBM ad.
OK, there is an instant poignancy about dragging out ailing Muhammad Ali to shill. But doesn’t the company that practically invented computers have anything new to say?
Making fun of old people? Frito-Lay got away with it with an elderly guy who tripped his wife to keep her from getting to the potato chips – and then he couldn’t eat them because she had his false teeth.
Last night, the Jackson-Timberlake incident was also creating buzz.
The National Football League and CBS issued statements critical of the stunt that left Jackson with a bare breast after Timberlake tore a patch off her outfit.
The singers later apologized and blamed a “costume malfunction.”
Joe Browne, executive president of the NFL, was unimpressed and said, “It’s unlikely that MTV will produce another Super Bowl halftime.”
CBS spokeswoman Leslie Anne Wade said the network “deeply regrets the incident.”