Ads More Memorable Than Super Bowl Scores

By CONNOR ENNIS, AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK – There are basically two fates for advertising executives on Super Bowl Sunday: Make a memorable commercial and find yourself in the enviable position of being the talk of the water cooler on Monday. Or, make a bad one, and realize that you’d rather face office linebacker Terry Tate than your bosses when you walk into work the next day.

With plenty of Super Bowl busts on the field, the viewing public often gets its entertainment from the ads. And with the largest television audience in the world watching, the commercials that work tend to be remembered far longer than those that debut during sitcom reruns.

“The public is aware that this is now a showcase of not only just a football game, but a showcase for new commercials,” said Andrew Pappalardo, a broadcast negotiator at Mediaedge:cia.

With that in mind here’s a list — far from definitive and in no particular order — of five of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials:

_ MJ vs. Bird. The 1993 McDonald’s ad where Michael Jordan and Larry Bird try to best each other in a one-on-one shooting exhibition (no dunking allowed) for the grand prize of, you guessed it, a Big Mac. The shots get more and more challenging, and the commercial ends with both standing atop the Sears Tower and Jordan promising to go off the expressway and over the river while hitting “nothing but net.” Who wins? Who knows? Given the greatness of these two competitors, they may still be going. The only misstep is Jordan’s hideous multicolored outfit, which was almost enough to make viewers turn away from an otherwise brilliant commercial.

_ The Bud Bowl. Budweiser is a consistent supplier of clever Super Bowl advertising. The frogs were hilarious and the Clydesdale horses that kick the extra point but usually like going for 2 were outstanding. But it’s the 1988 Bud Bowl that remains the company’s defining ad — it ran for several years and often featured more suspense than the actual game.

_ Independence Day. The trailer for the movie in 1996. In the pre-9/11 world, the vision of an alien spaceship disintegrating the White House was spectacular. It also guaranteed that every young male watching — heck, every male watching — immediately marked the movie’s July 4th opening on their calendars.

_ Cindy Crawford’s 1992 Pepsi ad. Sexy and innocent at the same time, this ad unveiled the new Pepsi logo and design. Two young boys watch slack-jawed as the supermodel pulls up to a vending machine at a dusty gas station in a sports car. Dressed in a white T-shirt and jean shorts, she buys a Pepsi and drinks it, in slow motion. “It’s beautiful,” one of the boys says, referring, obviously, to the new soda can.

_ 1984. Apple’s one-time announcement that year for the arrival of the Macintosh (news – web sites) computer. Still the most talked-about Super Bowl ad, this Ridley Scott-directed commercial envisioned an Orwellian world, drab and dreary with a tyrannical Big Brother figure lecturing to the masses from a large movie screen. That is until a blonde woman dressed as a track and field athlete sprints into the hall, ahead of several guards, and throws a hammer through the screen. The screen explodes and the masses are bathed in light. Then comes the ending line: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you will see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984.’” The ad was only shown once and it’s still talked about today.