Freelance Copywriter Reviews the 2006 Super Bowl XL TV Commercials

href=””>zagstudios.comWinning comedy and nauseating excess.

The overall winner in this year’s Super Bowl ads had to be Anheuser-Busch with at least five good spots. Almost all the Bud Light commercials featured comedy, and regular Budweiser — with its beautifully shot Clydesdales — had several touchdowns, scoring points in both the humor and tasteful nostalgia categories.

Both the revolving wall/Magic Fridge spot and the guys hanging out on the rooftop supposedly “fixing things” while they drink Bud Light with their Buds had great “dude” appeal.

The continuation of the Clydesdales playing football with the spin of the naked sheep streaker used light comedy to great effect. A-B later tapped into those same glorious, hallowed Clydesdales with an earnest, ambitious colt who wants to pull the famous red wagon. Huge horses made elegant and gorgeous cinematography lend a sense of quality, yet pours a light frothy head on top when the farmer onlooker says, “I won’t tell if you won’t.”

Career Builder scores again this year with two great spots — another “I work with a bunch of monkeys” deal — but this time, the guy’s comment is countered with “I totally understand, I work with a bunch of Jackasses.” It’s a funny, simple “we understand your pain” spot followed by the persuasive and simple tagline, “A better job awaits.”

Their other spot features an office party with everyone celebrating around a sales chart and the boss chimp lighting a cigar with burning money. When the guy points out that the chart is upside down, no one wants to hear it and the boss gets his way again. If it wasn’t a classic rule of advertising before, it should be now: you can’t go wrong with monkeys in business attire. Simple, funny. Again.

Using no special effects to great effect, Sierra Mist scored big with a single spot that ran early in the game. Using a scenario everyone can relate to, an airport security guard attempts to confiscate a bottle of Sierra Mist. When she asks, “What’s this?” the camera zooms tight for a perfectly natural product shot: “Sierra Mist.” He calls her on the fake wand noises and only when threatened with the snap of a latex glove does he relinquish his soda. This spot is so good, we’re actually tempted to check out after the game.

Using special effects to great effect, Fed Ex creates a funny and effective spot for reliable package delivery. What begins looking like a Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings film takes a funny turn when a pterodactyl message carrier is immediately gobbled up by a T-Rex. In the vein of another downtrodden employee in an unfair workplace (a la the Career Builder spots), he drags in to give his boss the bad news and is fired on the spot for not using Fed Ex — even though it doesn’t exist yet. On his way out of the cave, he kicks a doggie dinosaur and is immediately stomped by the same T-Rex (reminiscent of the Bambi vs. Godzilla prehistoric slapstick). In turn, grand, goofy, and funny, the Fed Ex message resounds: Next time, use Fed Ex.

An excellent spot that breaks out of the standard Super Bowl ad mold is for Dove, a company that’s purposely chosen to break the “always-use-skinny-models” mold. Using the familiar and affecting lyrics from the Cyndi Lauper song “True Colors,” we see a series of shots of young women of all colors and shapes juxtaposed with phrases such as “Thinks she’s fat,” and “hates her freckles” followed by “we’re working to change that.” Dove has begun a “Self-esteem fund” because “They all should feel beautiful how they are.” Very sweet, and in light of all the Dove “fat models” controversy, perfect.

On the other end of the spectrum, Burger King takes the crown. At the top of the list of the bottom of the barrel, Burger King, after an 11-year hiatus, proves that they should have taken 12.

Produced in a Busby Berkley style gone berserk, this spot has all the ingredients to ruin anyone’s appetite. The “Have it Your Way Burgerettes” demonstrate that you can indeed make beautiful models both disgusting and annoying. Women dressed as fried meat and sandwich toppings tumble gracelessly on to one another to form a hamburger only King Kong could choke down. WTF? Ask the Freaky King.

This year’s Super Bowl features another study in excess with the dreadful and painfully long 60-second Gillette Fusion spot: another overproduced dull razor commercial, complete with the super-tough announcer and epic music. This one is trying too hard and spending too much. Five blades are overkill and so is this commercial.

Another classic example demonstrating that more is less, GM uses spooky models looking like rejects from a Fellini film. The ad unfolds slower than a tortoise on crutches, and the audience is left guessing what’s rising from the pits of a mysterious liquid hell. It’s…gasp…an Escalade! The closing shot reveals only a boring chrome grill. Yawn. Been a looooong time since you rock and rolled, Cadillac.

A red and white themed spot for features a woman trying to sell everything from housewares and clothes to vacations and gewgaws while reminding us “It’s all about the O.” Next follows a confusion of possible taglines. Why pick one when you can have three? The woman whispers, “Make the O part of your life” which seems to be an orgasm reference, then again reminds us, “It’s all about the O.” Yeah? Well, in this case, O=Offensive.

Diet Pepsi as a celebrity? Brown and Bubbly as a tagline? What were they thinking on this one? In a meeting with Jay Mohr (reprising his role from Jerry McGuire as a smarmy agent), P Diddy promises to grant mutual creative control in order to get a can of Pepsi on his record label. The session features a group of men and women moaning and flirting with the can of Pepsi on a pedestal to the tune of “You want it.” No thanks. Brown and Bubbly…bad and burpy. Hardly appetizing.