FEBRUARY 2000 | VOL. 4, NO. 2



CURRENT

FEATURE
Super Bowl XXXIV commercials

LAST MONTH
VHI spreads itself thin with recycled, reworked content

ARCHIVES


At a Glance

INVESTMENT RESULTS

Best of the Bowl

1. E*Trade "money out the wah-zoo"

2. Budweiser "dog-actor"

3. E*Trade "we just wasted $2 million"

Waste of Cash

1. WebMD - "Muhammed Ali ad"

2. Tropicana - "Rocky-esque grandma runs through the city"

3. Oldsmobile - "Cars"

Most Confusing

EDS "cat herders"

Most Annoying

Oldsmobile "Cars"

Most Disturbing

Nuveen ad with Christopher Reeve, who was paralyzed in a horse riding accident on May 27, 1995




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Super Blow
Big Game Ads A Big Waste of Money

MICHAEL FERREIRA

www.who-cares.com. That just about sums up my feelings toward this year's Super Bowl commercials. While the game itself far exceeded anyone's wildest dreams for drama and excitement, with the Tennessee Titans' wide receiver Kevin Dyson stretching out in a vain attempt to reach the end zone for what would have been a game tying touchdown as time expired, the more anticipated (at least for me) part of the game was dull, unimaginative and too full of .coms.

Budweiser Ferret Commercial
PARTY ANIMAL Budweiser returned to the ad arena with another episode in their ferret series. It was one of few highlights.

Sitting here trying to recall the best of what is supposed to be the cream of the advertisement crop of the year (after all they should be for $2 million a pop for 30 seconds), it's hard to remember but a few -- and most of those are bad. There were, however, a few standouts.

Topping the list has to be the E*Trade commercial where the guy is taken to the hospital because he has "money coming out the wah-zoo." A close second is the Budweiser ad where the acting-dog must recall a tear jerking personal experience to cry on cue. With a little self introspection, he recalls the day a Bud truck drives by and he begins to chase it down, leaping a shrub only to collide headfirst with a delivery truck parked in the driveway next door.

Also high up on most lists was the E*Trade ad which stated, "we just wasted $2 million dollars on this commercial. What are you doing with your money?" Unfortunately I missed that one. I try to time my bathroom breaks to coincide with the game so as not to miss the commercials but it doesn't always work.

Surprise, surprise, Budweiser was the big spender with 10 commercials including the "elevator" commercial, Wayne Gretzky as the designated Zamboni drive and the Ferret's nude picture scandal, all of which earned a smile. They also win an award for sappiest commercial with the "birth of a Clydesdale" ad. Others deserving honorable mention included the Pets.com sock puppet's rendition of Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now," E*Trade's crazed stock trader who jumps out the window (on the first floor of his house), and EDS' "cat herders" which, despite being the most confusing ad of the day, still made me chuckle.

From there it is a long jump down to the second tier commercials which were mostly unimaginative and certainly not worth the $2 million they paid out or even a mention here. Then there was the bottom of the barrel where the ads were stupid, pointless, annoying and not even close to funny or entertaining.

Despite lifeminders.com's claim to the right of "the worst ad on the Super Bowl," top honors go to the WebMD ad staring Muhammad Ali. It was both painful and annoying to watch this once great fighter shadow box, grunting and groaning his way through a commercial that made no sense. A distant second was another boxing related ad, the Tropicana Rocky-esque ad showing someone's grandmother running though the city streets as if she were the Italian Stallion in ladies' sneakers. If you want to show that calcium makes stronger bones and be cute and funny about it, take a look at the non-Super Bowl "Got Milk?" ad where the old guys in the diner take on the Mafia-like goons, head-butting them and running away. That commercial still makes me laugh after dozens of viewings.

The Oldsmobile ad with the Gap-like kids singing a terrible rendition of Gary Numan's "Cars" was by far the most annoying of the lot, followed closely by Budweiser's "Wassup" ad. Christopher Reeve's Nuveen ad was the most disturbing and even offensive ad of the day. Actually giving dates for the discovery of cures for AIDS and cancer was a bit presumptuous.

Then there was the invasion of .com ads like oxygen.com, kforce.com, netpliance.com, onmoney.com, ourbeginning.com, computer.com, lastminutetravel.com and lifeminders.com just to name a few. Most of these were just plain forgettable.

Unlike years past where the commercials were cutting-edge, funny and often more entertaining than the games themselves, the 2000 crop falls far short of the mark, especially for the final Superbowl of the Millennium (or the first, if you can't grasp the concept that a millennium is 1000 years and ends on 11:59 pm December 31, 2000). Well, at least the game was worth watching until the end even if the commercials weren't.

If you missed the ads or just want to see them again, many of them can be found right here on the Internet. superbowlads.com has a list of Super Bowl advertisers with links to their web sites, many of which have their ads posted for viewing. superbowl-ads.com has many links to articles and Super Bowl commercial-related sites, as well as some of the ads themselves.

FEEDBACK: Share your thoughts on the Super Bowl commercial


MICHAEL FERREIRA is a contributing entertainment writer for Renaissance Online Magazine.

PICTURE copyright ©2000 Anheuser-Busch Inc.



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