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Sunday, February 06, 2005

TVGS Special: Post-Postgame Postgame Commercial Analysis

Here are the Geeks' picks for the best and worst Super Bowl commercials (Pusher wins the award for taking the most copious notes). You can be heard, too- please vote for your favorite in The Idiot Box poll in the right hand column!

Geek-In-Chief's Picks:

Best Campaign: FedEx Kinkos- simply started, it's hard to beat Burt Reynolds getting kicked in the nuts by a dancing bear.

Honorable Mention: 24 promo featuring v/o guy Don LaFountaine wandering around, scaring shoppers. Fantastic.

Worst Campaign (besides Quiznos/Baby Bob, which is a given): Ameriquest Mortgage. I like disemboweled cats as much as the next guy, but these ads were violent, tasteless, unpleasant- and not at all funny. "Don't Judge Too Quickly?" Only took one viewing to size up this turkey of a campaign.

Honorable Mention: Emerald Nuts, with Santa, Unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and the creepy talking Easter Bunny. Feh!

Most Annoying Trend: Ads for stuff that doesn’t come out until “May 2005” or even “Late 2005”. Come on, guys- I won’t even remember who won this game by then!

Also special kudos to Fox, for throwing tens of millions worth of airtime in the garbage to promote its lineup in promos that were actually shot in HD! As fellow HD viewers can attest, approximately .001% of commericials and promos are shot in Hi-def. Bravo Fox!

And a special shout out to our friends at GoDaddy for sneaking the raunchiest commerical of the night on the air. It was a tough job- but somebody had to do it.

But overall, the crop this year was weak (Big-tired Diet Pepsi trucks? Gladys Knight, rugby player? Dennis Rodman in a bubble bath?). Hopefully next year ad agencies won't be forced to play it so safe.

Uncle Buster's Picks:

Best Campaign: Anheuser-Busch's salute to American Troops. Simple, understated, without a single spoken word, but hit home like a sledgehammer. Wonderful homage to the men and women in uniform.

Worst Campaign: Whatever dot-com of the day used a bimbo testifying before a Congressional committee. Wow, she almost loses her top in front of stodgy old fogies. That's groundbreaking stuff. I can't even remember the website. Tells you how effective it was.

Most imaginative:: MasterCard's dinner with old cartoon pitchmen. I know the "priceless" gimmick has been around for a while, but I thought using old cartoon commercial characters like Charlie the Tuna, the Vlasic pickle stork and most of all Mr. Clean doing the dishes was great.

Overall, one of the worst year for SB ads that I can remember. Outside of the endless movie trailers and the Blockbuster commercial I saw at least 10 times... I can't really say any of these companies got their $2.4 million worth.

Irina D.'s Picks:

Best Commercial(s): A toss-up between the FedEx send-up of Super Bowl ad clichés (celebrity? check. dancing, talking animal? check) and the incredibly juvenile- yet still hilarious- CareerBuilder.com ads with a guy who works with a bunch of monkeys. Because we've all felt like we work in a room full of chimps from time to time.

Worst Commercial: Our Geek-in-Chief has ably described the creepiness of the talking Baby Bob Quiznos ads previously, so I'll just add that every time I see that baby I want to run out of the room. That's probably not a super effective marketing technique.

Ad that failed to elicit any reaction other than "huh?" from the room: The MBNA rugby playing-Gladys Knight ad. It was so confusing, I'm not even sure what to say about it. It provoked confused silence from my viewing companions, a group that is rarely quiet for any reason.

Pusher's Picks:

Best Fox Promo: Daytona 500 - a quick rollercoaster as raceway graphic spot then a practically feature-length swashbuckling pirate spot starring Jeff Gordon. Boy, does Fox want us to watch some cars driving in circles, or what?

Worst Fox Promo: House - too many, too lame.

Best Car Commercial: 2005 Mustang Convertible - the one with the frozen guy sitting in his car at the stop light. Creepy but memorable.

Worst Car Commercial: Honda Ridgeline - Clearly Honda didn't get the memo that Super Bowl ads are supposed to be bigger and better than your standard commercials.

Best Animal Commercial: Ameriquest - Their first ad of the night was the horrible "You're getting robbed" spot. But Ameriquest came back strong in the second half with the one where the guy is making dinner but spills the red sauce and lifts up his white cat while holding a knife. The girlfriend walks in just in time to see what looks like the murder of a cat. Now THAT'S funny.

Worst Animal Commercial: There were a lot to choose from but I gotta give this to CareerBuilder.com. The fact that they actually made multiple spots with monkeys put them right over the top of stupidity.

Best Beer Commercial: Bud Light - Early in the night they ran the skydiving spot in which the pilot jumps out of the plane to go after the six pack that was tossed. I don't know why this one amused me so much, but, there you go.

Worst Beer Commercial: Miller Lite - The Budweiser Select ad hadn't even run yet and Miller ran its counter-ad twice in the same break! Plus it sucked.

Best Soda Commercial: Diet Pepsi - The Saturday Night Fever rip-off where the guy walks around like Travolta but drinks a Diet Pepsi. It would have been ho-hum with just the women following him but it Queer Eye's Carson Kressley who gives him a look that makes it genius.

Worst Soda Commercial: Also to Diet Pepsi - for the star-saturated Diet Pepsi Truck spot. P. Diddy, Carson Daly, Wilmer Valderrama and more just make glad I don't drink soda.

Best Celebrity Commercial: Heineken - I'm not usually a Brad Pitt fan but he was both hott and funny in this ad.

Worst Celebrity Commercial: Silestone or Diana Pearl? I have no idea what this ad was for, which featured Mike Ditka, William Perry, Jim McMahon and Dennis Rodman. Someone help me out here.

Overall Best Commercial: NFL Network - Not a great year for ads but this one stood out as a spot that could have ran with the big boys of yesteryear. Ben Rothlisberger, Joe Montana, John Gruden, The Vikings and everyone else who didn't get into the Big Game singing "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow." It couldn't have gotten better until the tag line - "Tomorrow, we're all undefeated again." As a sports fan, this says it all.

Overall Worst Commercial: That Diana Pearl one is tough to beat I have to go with that ridiculously all-inclusive FedEx Kinkos spot with Burt Reynolds, the dancing, talking bear, cute kid kicking Burt in the groin and whatever else they thought made a great ad. Do the opposite of this one and you'll have yourself a great spot.

Vito's Picks:

Best: The FedEx Kinkos ad with Burt Reynolds. Why? It made fun of all the other lame-assed Superbowl ads past and present, it was funny, and after seeing it once, after the game was over, I remembered it and, more importantly, remembered what product it was touting.

Worst: Quiznos Baby Bob. That baby is disturbing looking and even though modern SFX can make you believe in a completely CG character like Golum, it still can't seem to make a real person or animal speak. It just looks stupid. Honorable mention to all the other "innovative" creatives who used talking animals, you guys suck.

Best Use of Monkeys: Career Builder. While not as fun as the Monster.com ad from a few years back that had the monkey and a few dim-witted looking guys clapping in a garage for 30 seconds, a funny spot nonetheless. Ever since Charlton Heston kissed Zira on the beach, I've had a weak spot for monkeys.

JoeVideo's Picks:

Best Ad: Anheuser-Busch's salute to the troops. I felt a my throat lump, my eyes water up and my pride soar. What a simple, beautiful message.

Worst Ad: TOASTED SUBS. The Quiznos "baby boob" (documented by the Geek in Chief many times) just sucks as an ad pitchman. Also, Subway's ad was unfunny, lame and unmemorable. That being said, I'm glad they're toasting subs now.

"Smokey and the Bandit IV" Award Ad: Burt Reynolds and the Fed-Ex Kinko's dancing bear. Now if only Dom DeLuise had joined in on this... i'd have said goodbye to UPS forever.

The Geek Files: Super Bowl XX - Chicago Bears vs. New England Patriots, 1/26/86

With this year's Super Bowl still fresh in our minds, and buffalo wing sauce still staining our fingers, Pusher reminisces about her first taste of football glory. Here's this week's Geek Files.

This was the first Super Bowl I ever watched. I had to. I had money on it. As a Giants fan, I didn't care much about the game- but the draw of the team with the cute, head-banded quarterback, the big man named "The Refrigerator" and the music video to the tune of "The Super Bowl Shuffle" proved too much to bear. (No pun intended.)

The Chicago Bears - monster favorites over the New England Patriots - were a household name. Everyone knew they were going to win. Everyone, except my dad. A sports fan he is not and when faced with an offer to bet on the game with his 11 year old daughter, of course, he wasn't going to refuse.

"Which team do you want?" he asked. "How about I take the Bears?" I countered. "Who does that leave me with?" he wondered. "The Patriots," I said and quickly walked away. I heard behind me, "Are they good?" My ensuing giggling and whispered, "sucker" did not give him the answer he was looking for.

My dad then made a plea for "odds" to which I said "Listen, old man, you want to gamble or not?" OK, I didn't say that. I just sort of whined about not knowing what odds were (which was true) until he gave in.

The play-by-play: In the first two minutes the Bears had fumbled and the Pats capitalized with a field goal. 3-0 New England. My dad was actually feeling sorry for me. His team was winning by a whole three points! By the end of the first quarter the Pats were down 13-3 and he didn't feel so bad for me. By halftime it was 23-3 and he was wondering why his team didn't show up. At 44-3 opening the fourth, his query was simple: Why had the Pats sent their little daughters to play such an important football game for them?

I don't think he even looked at the TV for the rest of the game, but he did swear that he actually saw the real Patriot players selling ladies handbags in the stands of the Louisiana SuperDome. All I could say to him as I collected his $5 was "I'm not here to start no trouble. I'm just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle!"

Pusher's The Geek Files appears every Monday.

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