There was a time when Super Bowl advertisements made waves or herded sheep on their way to a viewer’s subconscious, but those days are over. Last year’s ads had a few highlights. This year’s were just a waste of money.

Costing a whopping $2.4 million for every 30-second spot, advertisers around the country burned their money quicker than Donovan McNabb can throw interceptions.

Are there spots that people will be talking about years down the road, like the famous Budweiser frogs or the exploding Tabasco fly? Not even close.

The ones that I could remember without checking a list online were the ones targeted to people like me – young, male and wishing to see boobs. Shockingly, sex appeal still works. Props go to GoDaddy.com and Tabasco for showing some skin and saving Super Bowl ads from a truly lackluster performance, which mirrored the equally sleep-inducing half-time show by Paul McCartney.

Ok, so I take some of it back. One commercial was funny and memorable because it made fun of Super Bowl ads. FedEx’s dancing Burt Reynolds’ commercial was enjoyable because it was a “scientific” study of popular Super Bowl ads. Congratulations, FedEx, you found the winning combination. I hope your accounting department has the same sense of humor when they receive the $2.4 million bill from Fox Broadcasting later this week.

But let’s begin with the real ads. I’ll start with the usual bummers – movie trailers. Paramount Pictures advertised three “hot” films – “War of the Worlds,” “Sahara” and “The Longest Yard.” The trailer for “War of the Worlds” gave no exciting reasons to see the movie, and so, in the interest of saving you $9, I’ll tell you how H.G. Wells ended it. Human disease kills the aliens. The other two have no literature backing that I know of. “Sahara” looks like “National Treasure” set in the Sahara Desert and “The Longest Yard” has Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. If that’s not a movie match made in hell, I don’t know what is.

A newcomer in the field of legitimate advertising, Napster debuted its new advertising scheme designed to smear iPods. Napster, I challenge you to do the math. Sellout + subscription = no sell. iPod + Apple = awesome.

In the field of interesting concepts gone horribly up the creek, NFL’s showtunes ad was at the top of the list. It featured players singing a rendition of “Tomorrow” from Annie – leading me to first cringe, then smile, then cringe some more and finally decide, “for the love of God, do not quit your day job.”

Cadillac tried to use an ironic comedy to advertise their new XLR. A father chases after his daughter and her lover, only to ask her to give back the Cadillac XLR she drove off with. Unfortunately for Cadillac, it was too little, too late for the humor to actually kick in. Try again next year, Cadillac.

But the worst ad of all – although I may be a bit biased when I say this – is from the evil money-grubbing corporation, Microsoft, advertising their new MSN search capabilities.

It’s bad enough that the ad spends three seconds in all white, but when I saw that annoying butterfly, I almost kicked over my television. Just like Napster’s smear of iPod, I want you to do the math on this Microsoft advertisment. Microsoft + new search = crap. Google + same search = awesome.

Every year, ad rates go up and quality comes down. I can only hope that next year, this disappointing trend makes a turn for the better.

For the love of god and all that’s holy, stop wasting your money and make good ads for society.

He can be reached at mhe@campustimes.org.



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