Winners, losers with commercials

By ANDREW WINEKE THE GAZETTE Updated: February 6, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: February 6, 2006
So what did $83,000 per second buy Sunday night? A few laughs, a couple of frowns and tens of millions of eyeballs. At $2.5 million for a 30-second spot, advertisers couldn’t afford to make a mistake during the year’s mostwatched television event. The tricky part for ad buyers, though, is that viewers are unlikely to remember a spot that avoids taking chances. Here are some commercials that either walked that line, or fell into irrelevancy: Winners Bud Light: The company’s Clydesdale spots have been ubiquitous in recent years, but this year humorous ads for Bud Light took center stage. In one, a man hid his stash of Bud Light behind a rotating wall, only to have it stolen by a group on the other side who prayed to the “Magic Fridge.” Budweiser weighed in with a pair of Clydesdale spots, the best one featuring a shorn sheep “streaking” at a Clydesdale football game. Burger King: A string of oddly appealing ads featuring a plastic-headed King has put this brand on the map. The Super Bowl variation featured a chorus line of Whopperettes high kicking in bun, burger, lettuce and mayo costumes, culminating in a pig pile of burger construction. FedEx: A cave man is reprimanded by his boss for not using the overnight shipper. He complains “But FedEx doesn’t exist yet!” and then gets stomped by a dinosaur. Had to be there. Ford: A spot for the hybrid Ford Escape SUV featured Kermit the Frog rock climbing and whitewater kayaking singing “It’s not easy being green,” then stumbling across the hybrid Escape and realizing maybe it is. Diet Pepsi: The soft drink’s first spot, featuring P. Diddy cutting a record with a can of soda, fell flat, pardon the pun. The second, with the can starring in a kung fu movie with Jackie Chan, delivered a nice punchline when a can of Diet Coke got squashed as a stunt double. Losers Go Daddy: This Internet domain name registry made headlines last year for its spot featuring a scantily clad spokesmodel testifying before a Congressional committee. This year, the firm racked up page views and attention even before the game started after ABC rejected 13 variations on its commercial. The company might have been better served if the 14th had been scotched, too, since it was a tepid riff of last year’s ad. Gillete Fusion: OK, so we’re up to a mind-boggling five blades now. That’s still not an excuse for another boring razor ad. Cadillac Escalade: Giving away an Escalade to the Super Bowl MVP is smart, if probably redundant. Running a multi-million dollar spot that doesn’t show the car that much and is a yawner to boot is dumb. “Poseidon”: The Super Bowl always is loaded with ads for upcoming blockbusters. It’s hard to rate the spots because they tend to rise or fall based on the strength of the movie they’re promoting. That said, Kurt Russell hasn’t been worth a $2.5 million commercial since, what, 1988? Honda Ridgeline: OK, we get it, Honda makes a truck now. Having a chrome mudflap girl get in and drive off is pretty risque for Honda, but it’s still dull. Read about more ads and weigh in with your favorites on the Springs TV Talk blog at www.gazette.com. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0275 or awineke@gazette.com
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