The best and worst Super Bowl ads.

Advertising deconstructed.
Feb. 5 2007 8:24 AM

Were the Super Bowl Ads Any Good?

The best and worst of the night.

(Continued from Page 1)

Halftime: Prince looks resplendent in Miami Dolphins turquoise and orange. "Purple Rain," in the rain, is a rock god moment. But can anyone explain why he played a Foo Fighters song? Puzzling.

Third quarter: I forgot to mention that Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal right before the half. This turned out to be the high point of the game for me.

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Another animated Coke ad is every bit as winning as the first. We see the inside of a vending machine and learn it contains various adorable creatures who make each bottle of Coke with love and devotion. Here's a grand-scale, big money ad that's both eye-catching and cute. Coke is the evening's marketing champ.

Sheryl Crow hawks Revlon. Crow covers the Buddy Holly classic "Not Fade Away"—an unpretentious ode to enduring love—and turns it into a message about long-lasting hair-color products. Boo, Sheryl Crow. Booooooo.

Emerald Nuts enlists celebrity spokesman Robert Goulet. Apparently, ironically deployed B-list celebrities are still grounds for humor.

Nationwide: Fry Cook

Kevin Federline shows up in a Nationwide ad. The ad begins with Federline rapping about "rolling VIP" and ends with him as a fry cook. But are we really to believe the riches-to-rags narrative here? I thought Federline was demanding some serious Britney bucks in the divorce settlement. False humility alert!

Fourth quarter: Is it over yet?

An Izod ad is just a blur of tropical scenery and bikini bottoms. I don't know what's going on, but I think I like it.

In a Bud Select ad, Jay-Z and legendary football coach Don Shula square off, playing an awesome, imaginary football arcade game. I loved the graphics, and the ad was entertaining. But I could use a little more brand differentiation from this spot: How is Bud Select not like Bud, again?

A Flomax ad shows a bunch of older dudes riding mountain bikes, kayaking, and … not having problems with urination! I love the subtle shots of these guys taking lusty gulps from their water bottles. Go ahead, kidneys, excrete that water—I'm not afraid anymore! Also, Flomax is an awesome name for a urine-related product.

End of game.

I was thinking I might begrudgingly admire the Colts after they won. Nope, still hate them. And Peyton seemed whiny even in triumph. His victory face—furrowed, closed-mouthed—made him look like he was in a Flomax ad.

As for the ads: At some point, we may have to drop all this Super Bowl advertising hoopla. The ads have been roundly mediocre for a few years running, now. Some huge advertisers—including Procter & Gamble and Unilever—decided to ditch this Super Bowl entirely (with Unilever instead airing a big ad for its Dove brand during the Academy Awards).

Are we seeing the end of an era? And will we even miss it?

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