Rating The Super Bowl Ads


NEW YORK, Feb. 7, 2005

(CBS) Approximately 90 million people were expected to tune in to Super Bowl 39. Commercials on the telecast cost $2.4 million on average, which works out to a cool $80,000 per second. Last year, the average ad cost $2.3 million.

Adweek advertising critic Barbara Lippert joins The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm to critique this year’s crop.

According to Lippert and her media counterparts, Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at last year’s Super Bowl made NFL and Fox squeamish about advertising this year. Lippert says she knows of at least three ads that were yanked because they were considered too sexually suggestive.

Which ones were among Lippert’s favorites?

For starters, the Budweiser ad showing men jumping out of a plane to get a Bud. One man is hesitant throughout. The pilot of the plane jumps out instead of the hesitant guy. The two men left on the plane realize no one is flying it.

The Ameriquest Mortgage commercial showing a man preparing dinner for a date. His white cat knocks over a pan of spaghetti sauce. When man’s date arrives, she sees him with a knife he’d been using to cook in one hand as he held the bloody-looking cat in the other.

The Emerald Nuts spot was outright funniest and most surprising: A father doesn’t want to share his Emerald nuts with his daughter. He tells her unicorns will disappear if he does, then one appears. After that, Santa appears and reprimands the father about sharing and next, the Easter Bunny gets into the act.

The Anheuser Busch Army commercial was the most touching. It shows soldiers walking through an airport who are headed to a foreign assignment, such as Iraq. People who watch them pass, applaud. The soldiers smile, and one looks back at them.

The “Go Daddy” is most controversial and the one that has it both ways. It shows a buxom woman testifying before a congressional-looking committee. She’s wearing a T-shirt that says “Go Daddy,” which is the name of a domain-naming company. Lippert says you have to marvel at how they got it done, and got everything in. There was name recognition, they explained what the company does, and also made fun of the breast incident last year and the hypocrisy of censorship.

The Federal Express commercial was, Lippert says, the “most knowing.” It makes fun of what it takes to make a good Super Bowl commercial. It shows Burt Reynolds (a celebrity), a talking and dancing bear, and as it progresses, ten elements are clicked off the FedEx jokingly says are needed for any good Super Bowl ad.

The Diet Pepsi truck commercial with P. Diddy and Carson Daly of MTV had the most unexpected twist. Trendsetter P. Diddy is stranded on the road and he asks a Pepsi truck driver who’s passing by to give him a ride to an awards ceremony. As a result of seeing him arrive at the red carpet event in a truck, several other celebs start driving a Diet Pepsi truck. The celebs include Carson Daly of MTV. Next, we see Daly driving a Pepsi truck and saying hello to P. Diddy, who wonders why Daly is doing this.

The Diet Pepsi spot showing a hunky, sexy man walking down the street. Women, including model Cindy Crawford, watch in admiration to the music of “Staying Alive,” from “Saturday Night Fever.” The funny part comes when Carson Kreesley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” drops his jaw in surprise when he sees the hunk. Lippert says Pepsi has done this type of commercial with men and women ogling each other for years, but including Kreesley is a twist.

Careerbuilders.com wins Lippert’s award for best managerie. It’s a humorous series of commercials that show chimps working in an office. The last one shows the one man whom we see interact with them saying he doesn’t like the idea for the name of a product. Next, we see a monkey in a suit, kissing the butt of another monkey in a pinstripe suit, who appears to be the boss.

The MBNA commercial with singer Gladys Knight was worst, Lippert says. It shows Knight on a rugby field, playing with a team. Lippert says linking them together didn’t make sense. The ad doesn’t make its point.

Another klinker in Lippert’s eyes: the one with the Budweiser Clydesdales. These commercials are usually great, but Lippert wasn’t thrilled about this one, which shows a group of animals, ending with a pig, who want to be Clydesdales. We see a barn door opened with the Clydesdales and a donkey. This is a reminder of one of the most-talked about Super Bowl commercials, with the donkey who wanted to be a Clydesdale.

Another ranking comes from a poll AOL did of it sucscribers:
1 Anheuser Busch Thank You: 5163, 12%
2 Bud Light Skydiving: 4688, 11%
3 Ameriquest Guilty: 4027, 10%
4 Diet Pepsi P. Diddy: 3183, 8%
5 Ameriquest Robbed: 2967, 7%
6 GoDaddy.com Hearing: 2375, 6%
7 FedEx Ten Things: 2094, 5%
8 Ford Mustang Winter: 2063, 5%
9 Bud Light Sharing: 1972, 5%
10 Diet Pepsi Cindy Crawford: 1599, 4%
Total Votes 41,404