By Steve Holt, Opinion Editor
When I wasn’t laughing at Rich Gannon and the Raiders on Sunday, I was laughing at the commercials. Super Bowl XXXVII contained a plethora of laugh-out-loud moments while the play clock was running, but advertisers again coughed up a pretty penny to make viewers giggle and gasp even more during commercial breaks.
Every year the “Super Sunday” advertising winners and losers are dissed and endorsed, and as always, a few commercials stood a little higher than the others when the final buzzer sounded.
Instead of the middle-aged rock band Bon Jovi, the minds behind the FedEx commercial should have stepped on stage and accepted their award for the most clever and all-around best commercial of the Super Bowl. It was about time the shipping company ran an ad based on Cast Away, the 1999 movie FedEx practically sponsored. A Hanks-esque, shaggy-bearded man knocks on a woman’s door and tells her he has been isolated on an island for four years but wanted to deliver her a package he’d saved. When he asks the woman what was in the package, she begins to rattle off a list of items that would have been totally useful during his island stay. Truly witty…
Reebok delivered its best commercial since Dee Brown sold Pumps, presenting Terry Tate, the “Office Linebacker.” According to a fictitious CEO in the ad, the chiseled linebacker increases productivity in the office by violently laying out anyone slacking on the job. The jaw-dropping hits and slapstick approach made me choke on my Tostitos laughing, setting the Reebok ad above most of the others.
The 2003 Super Bowl proved that stars of great commercials don’t necessarily have to walk on two feet or use a toilet. Animals were quite often the source of side-splitting humor Sunday, thanks to either exceptionally smart animals or computer technology.
The brand new lemon-lime soft drink Sierra Mist “went flat” on its first commercial involving a guy getting cooled off by his dog opening a hydrant, but hit a three-run homer on its second try. When a baboon attempts to catapult into the neighboring polar bear habitat’s pool, it realizes it could soon become lunch. Full of human-like expressions and emotions, the baboons made for many a laugh and Sierra Mist put itself right up there with its soft drink competitors in the advertising category at least.
As always, beer companies cranked millions into sponsorship of the Super Bowl, as if the ads were going to convince non-drinkers to go out and buy a case. In short, the “Best of the Beer (ads)” involved the following: Clydesdales, a Jamaican “dog do,” a strongman competition, a zebra, a lot of “junk in the trunk,” a crabby “player” and one scary clown. The winner? Probably the crab commercial.
It’s all over now, and the advertising specialists will go back to the drawing boards to train for next season. But as was evident Sunday night, the only ingredient for a winning commercial is brainless brilliance.
Especially when the game is more on the brainless side.