Michigan State experts put Super Bowl ads on the spot


Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Pitches of beer accounted for two of the top three Super Bowl commercials, according to Michigan State University advertising experts.

Bud Light’s beer-chasing pilot, Careerbuilder.com’s cheeky chimpanzees and Budweiser’s iconic Clydesdale horses got the highest marks from the 11 professors in the Department of Advertising, Public Relations and Retail. Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXIX marked the eighth year the Michigan State faculty members have graded the new crop of ads on what is typically the most-watched telecast of the year.

The professors agreed that this year’s ads were much more restrained than last year’s, possibly in response to the public outcry that followed Janet Jackson’s halftime “wardrobe malfunction.”

The group gave a collective thumbs-up or -down to most ads, chortling at the Careerbuilder spot in which a group of chimps puts a whoopee cushion on a co-worker’s chair and groaning as one at the first mention of a pill for erectile dysfunction.

There was some debate over Anheuser-Busch’s spot featuring a group of soldiers receiving an ovation as they walk through an airport.

“There’s an ethical question to use pain and suffering to sell beer,” advertising professor Bill Ward told The State News, the Michigan State student newspaper. “I don’t think it’s OK for companies to tap into emotion like that to sell beer.”

The group’s five favorite ads were:

5. Diet Pepsi (P. Diddy): “Celebrities usually do OK – people recognize them,” advertising professor Bob Kolt said. “It involved a lot of high-quality production.”

4. Toyota Hybrid: “It was different, creative and showed the product benefits and showed how their technology is outpacing everybody else’s,” advertising professor Bruce Vanden Bergh said.

3. Budweiser Clydesdale horses: “All animals get a lot of attention and they had a diverse assortment,” advertising professor Bonnie Reece said.

2. Careerbuilder.com (whoopee cushion chimps): “We hate to think that that’s the kind of thing we laugh at,” Vanden Bergh said. “But monkeys can get away with stuff the rest of us can’t.”

1. Bud Light (parachutist): “The humor kind of shows why to buy the product,” Ward said. “You didn’t know where this spot was heading until the end.”

The most-panned ads were:

5. “Be Cool” (movie trailer): “For a movie, just pulling clips doesn’t have the same level of creativity as other commercials,” Ward said.

3. Silestone (quartz countertops): “They’re just using wordplay with well-known people,” Vanden Bergh said. “What the heck does that have to do with the countertop?”

3. MBNA (Gladys Knight playing rugby): “Gladys Knight can bob and weave, but the spot didn’t score,” advertising professor David Regan said.

1. Degree anti-perspirant (action figures): “It was so bizarre in relation to the product,” Ward said. “At least they took a risk.”

1 (tie). Cialis (erectile dysfunction) “Cialis was limp,” Kolt said.