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We Spent $2.6 Million on What?

I wonder if people’s TiVo patterns changed during the Super Bowl. Do fewer people Tivo (I know I’m using it as a verb, and I’m sorry for that) the game, in order to watch it, and the commercials, live, or do even more people Tivo the game in order to go back and watch it, and the commercials, repeatedly? If it’s the latter case, I imagine they’re pretty disappointed.

I wonder if people’s TiVo patterns changed during the Super Bowl. Do fewer people Tivo (I know I’m using it as a verb, and I’m sorry for that) the game, in order to watch it, and the commercials, live, or do even more people Tivo the game in order to go back and watch it, and the commercials, repeatedly? If it’s the latter case, I imagine they’re pretty disappointed.

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About an hour before the game, I went over to my friend Erik’s apartment (where he’s got a monolithic 65-inch rear-projection high-definition TV and surround sound) and we watched a Tivo’d special on CBS about 40 greatest Super Bowl commercials ever, with some of the worst commentary ever by Jim Nantz. Amazing that you can create a show completely out of advertisements, and that you can get people to watch. How do you sell ads for that, I wonder?

Some ads stand the test of time; others, not so much. When you consider the Jessica Simpson-Pizza-Hut fare that’s foisted on us these days, is it any wonder that two of the top three ads were over 20 years old: Apple’s 1984 ad and the 1980 Coca-Cola spot with “Mean” Joe Green. (I bet it didn’t hurt that the Steelers were in the Super Bowl, either).

So, on to the game, which featured some of the worst officiating I’ve seen this side of a Duke basketball game. On the rare occasion that Seattle actually came within striking distance, out came the laundry (were the refs throwing yellow flags or Terrible Towels? You make the call). And I’m not saying this because I’m an embittered Seahawks fan; I’m an embittered Philadelphia Eagles fan.

But we’re here to talk about the commercials, which for the most part were as underwhelming as the game. The big Crispin Porter Burger King commercial I think had the highest production-value-to-disappointment ratio, what with the dancing lettuce ladies piling on each other like there was a loose football underneath. And is it just me, or is the guy in the Burger King suit really creepy?

Also high on the disappointment ratio was the promo for the 2007 Cadillac Escalade–which probably won’t be available for another six months–morphing out of a catwalk like the Terminator’s SUV. It should be noted, though, that none of the car commercials were anything to write home about (although Kermit singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” in the Ford Hybrid was decent).

The best commercial, as agreed upon by a consensus of a bunch of guys drinking beer, was Bud Light’s “Secret Fridge” spot. Simple, yet effective, even though we were all drinking Heineken. Coming in a close second was Ameriquest’s “That Killed Him” ad, which should tell you something about the kind of humor we enjoy. Careerbuilder.com’s “Jackass” spot built nicely on the “I work with a bunch of monkeys” theme.

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While I wouldn’t rank any of them as the best had they aired, check out GoDaddy.com’s Quest for Super Bowl XL site, where they have a timeline of their quixotic attempt to bring risque to the masses. It’s almost as funny as the commercials themselves.

But what do you think? Am I totally off here? If you were an exec, which of these 30-second spots do you think merits spending nearly $3 million?

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