They're ad it again! Super Bowl commercials have zany flavor

BY David Hinckley

Victoria's Secret will have an ad during the Super Bowl.

Victoria’s Secret will have an ad during the Super Bowl.

From the previews that have been judiciously leaked over the past few days, the Super Bowl ads will feature a familiar mix of celebrities in zany situations and critters in zany situations.

Humor is the unchanging constant of Super Bowl ads, and that’s not a bad thing, especially considering how seriously so many millions of Americans will take the accompanying football game.

There have been the usual backstage dramas this year, too, and a pair of them are worth noting.

First is Kentucky Fried Chicken‘s offer of $270,000 to any player who does a three-second “chicken dance” on the field. KFC says it would just be “product placement.” The NFL says any player who tries to collect the money might have to cough it all back up in fines.

Second, there were apparently serious discussions among unnamed presidential candidates about buying a Super Bowl spot – a perfect promo, of course, for Super Tuesday less than 48 hours later. Fox ended the speculation by saying it wouldn’t take any political ads, citing concerns about equal time.

In any case, among the dozens of expensive ads, here are a half dozen that may pull some buzz:

Justin Timberlake for Pepsi

He’s launching a massive year-long music giveaway promotion with a spot in which he gets slammed into walls, thrown into traffic and almost flattened like roadkill. Call it a metaphoric version of what happened after his 2004 dance with Janet.

Shakira, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna for Unilever‘s Sunsilk

It isn’t every chick shampoo that would buy a Super Bowl ad, and this one even looks like something you’d see during “The View,” with quick-flash imagery designed to say “icon.” Maybe they had to use women because so many guys now shave their heads.

Bud Light, “Breathing Fire.”

Turns out Bud Light not only has satisfying taste, but gives its consumers the ability to breathe fire. This enables our hero to impress his date mightily by lighting the candles on their table, but the rest of the date is more problematic.

GoDaddy, “Spot On.”

GoDaddy had some trouble coming up with an ad that Fox had to reject on grounds of taste. Finally it succeeded – Whew! – and GoDaddy was so happy that the spot we will see on the air sends us to the GoDaddy Web site to see the “other” ad. The forbidden fruit features Danica Patrick and a zipper and maybe a joke involving a flat-tailed animal that builds dams.

Gatorade‘s G2, Derek Jeter

There’s been some discussion whether this expensive and elaborate campaign to roll out a new sports drink with Jeter and Dwyane Wade will have the payoff Gatorade wants. The spot is long on Jeter. The question is whether it’s short on humor.

Pepsi, finding the party

This may not be the year’s best ad, but it could be the most striking and it’s a lock to spark major discussion on Monday morning. Several deaf fans, driving to a Super Bowl party, discover they’ve forgotten the address. So they locate the house in a manner that apparently will be recognized instantly in the deaf community and could startle those outside.