Robots, monkeys, nearly naked Rodman star in Bowl ads

By BRIAN KRASMAN, Daily News Editor

While many viewers tune into the Super Bowl to see the actual football game, just as many, if not more, watch to see the advertisements.

It’s probably the only day of the year when television remote controls are not in use, because no one appears willing to turn off the game and miss the ad everyone will be talking about the next morning.

Sunday’s Super Bowl XXXIX will be no different. While many viewers will be waiting to see if the Patriots win their third NFL championship in four years or if Terrell Owens will line up at wide receiver for the Eagles, those scenarios likely won’t be the topic of discussion the next day.

Chances are the ads from Internet upstart will be.

“I think there will be a lot of people talking about how bad it was,” admits Ken Phipps, owner and operator of, based in San Francisco, Calif.

Of course, Phipps, says, the spot likely is bad on purpose, and anyone who logged onto the Web site – the company specialized in registering domain names, Web site construction and maintenance – this week to see the one ad Fox refused to air likely are to agree.

The spots feature a well-endowed female with the logo on a white tank top. As she stands before a committee on a channel called G-Spin (a spoof of C-SPAN), she performs a routine she wants do at halftime of the Super Bowl.

On the rejected spot, she lowers one of her tank top straps to reveal the logo again, making fun of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction issues at last year’s big game.

The Internet company isn’t the only one to have an ad rejected. Super Bowl ad heroes Anheiser-Busch had a spot rejected that shows a halftime show worker trying to open a bottle of Budweiser with a dress planned for the exhibition. Obviously the dress rips, and when the woman goes to perform at halftime, well, viewers get an added visual surprise. That, however, is implied and not actually shown.

The effort Fox is making to air ads that won’t stir immediate controversy again is influenced by past events.

“Basically it’s because of last year’s Janet Jackson thing,” Phipps says. “They want a cleaner Super Bowl this year.”

Companies are paying upwards of $2.4 million per slot for this year’s game, although some ads are packaged when multiple spots are purchased.

Many of the Super Bowl ads go for humor, others stick to business. Many of this year’s spots are designed specifically to move a new product and don’t rely on any of the bells and whistles plenty of the other companies use.

But Phipps says the most effective ads seem to be the ones that play on people’s emotions, no matter what they are.

“Humor is definitely high up there,” Phipps says of elements that make a memorable Super Bowl ad. “But there are heartwarming ones, too. You can think of the (Nuveen) one a few years ago with Christopher Reeve when he gets up and walks. Then there was the Anheiser-Busch one with the donkey and Clydesdale going to New York City after Sept. 11.”

While humor is big, often companies go overboard and do things that aren’t funny. Even the seemingly immortal Anheiser-Busch has had its share of less-than-humorus moments, Phipps says.

“There were the Budweiser frogs,” he says. “It was great at first with the Bud-weis-er. But it got into this big thing with the lizards trying to oft the frogs. It got out of control.”

Phipps’ site, which he has operated for the last seven years on his own, has a listing of the best Super Bowl ads from last year all the way through 1998, but he also has a section listing the best ads of all time.

The day after the Super Bowl, Phipps plans to have links so people can vote for their favorite ads or see others again. But while he hopes to get a lot of traffic at his site, he urges people to remain patient with the expected load of people.

“Maybe come back in a month,” he says, laughing.

There’s also a link to, which plans to have the ads ready to view.

If you just can’t wait to see what’s in store Sunday night, here’s a list of some of the bigger spots planned.


While the company had one ad rejected, there are plenty more set for the big game. Cedric the Entertainer returns for a spot, as does a weird looking robot and the classic Clydesdale horses. Giddyup!

In what might also be an ad everyone is talking about Monday morning, the online resume builder has a spot showing a man in a customer care call center who literally is working with an office full of monkeys. Disgusted, he apologizes to the poor caller for the, um, monkey business going on in the background.


Ads are set to go hyping the auto company’s new V8 VC90 sport utility vehicle. Nothing outrageous is planned as Volvo hopes images of the SUV speak for themselves.


The deodorant stick gets face time with a spoof of “G.I. Joe” called “Mamma’s Boy.” In the ad, some poor dude gets pushed around by his mamma. Not sure how that sells deodorant, but whatever.


The auto maker has a series of five-second spots ready to air to display the quickness of their vehicles. The spots, designed to catch the attention of the MTV generation (none of whom can afford a Cadillac, but I digress), have been running since the NFL playoffs started.

Emerald Nuts

This maker of tasty snacks already has some weird spots running on TV, and this one that features the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and a unicorn is likely to fit right in.


You’ll be able to tell the longtime car maker is psyched about its new Mustang convertible by the flashy ad it prepared. This one is expected to air during the first half.


The financial organization crafted an ad featuring legendary performer Gladys Knight, building their catch phrase, “If you’re into it, we’re into it.”


Apparently the Janet Jackson controversy isn’t forcing Cialis to soften its stance on erectile dysfunction. Expect a really uncomfortable ad featuring aging men who can’t, you know, perform.


Two spots are planned to promote its new Ridgeline pickup truck.


The Texas-based countertop maker is hoping to take a seemingly boring product and make it more exciting using pro athletes. In one shot, former NBA star Dennis Rodman is shown soaking in the bathtub. Yeah …

CIBA Vision

Hey ladies, having trouble seeing? Well, you’re the target audience for the 02optix, a new type of contact lens.


The soft drink giant has six celebrity spots set to air pushing the bubbly soda. And if that’s not enough, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Eva Longoria team up in an ad that pairs Pepsi with iTunes.


Although the camera company hasn’t had a Super Bowl ad since 1981, Olympus plans to make a big splash this year with a campaign that revolves around the theme, “Let your pictures groove.” The spots are said to look a bit like rock videos. Wait, they still make those?

Frito Lay

The chip maker snagged Spike Lee to make a concept commercial called “The Fence.” In it, a bunch if items get thrown over a fence, including a bag of Frito Lay chips.


The hot sauce company has a spot called “Tan Lines” ready to air. Not sure what that entails.


You thought you decided on that new Volvo, huh? Well, wait till you get a load of Lincoln’s new Mark LT pickup truck. They’re going to show it to you in dramatic living color.


Plenty of big movies are planned for release this year, and the Super Bowl will be the place where these pictures get major face time. Included are trailers for “War of the Worlds,” “The Longest Yard” remake, Vin Diesel’s new comedy “The Pacifier,” “Hitch,” the much-anticipated “Batman Begins” and “Dukes of Hazard.”


There are plenty of other commercials set to air from companies such as Visa, FedEx, McDonald’s, Ameriquest and Subway.

So don’t worry, you’ll get your advertisement overload. And no matter what you think of the spots, they can’t be any less compelling than Bill Belichick’s hair.