The masses speak on Super Bowl XXXVII

Now that every one has seen the Super Bowl ads, they all have an opinion on them. A mix amoung the masses it seems. Netscape has a poll on your favorite Super Bowl ad...topping their list is Budweiser's Zebra Ref, followed by Terry Tate Office Linebacker by Reebok and Bud Lite Upside Down Clown. Most main stream media sites have a poll of some kind. It's interesting to note that it's not always the same ad in the top spot.
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Here's some commentary from the media:
Advertisers stick with humor- "Super Bowl advertisers hewed to humor for the most part Sunday night, offering viewers plenty of ridiculous reasons to giggle between plays on the field."

In Less-Than-Giddy Times, Super Bowl Advertisers Stick With the Funny-"Advertising's auteurs kept it quirky on Super Bowl Sunday, with humor a prime ingredient in most commercials as Americans weary of war talk and a gloomy economy were given a chance to chuckle."

Ads score big with laughs- “We just feel that this year, given what’s going on in the economy and in the environment in general, that a more respectful point of view and approach of job search is what’s needed," said Marc Karasu, HotJobs’ vice president of advertising."

Super Bowl Ads Score with Laughs but Fail to Dazzle - "I'd say it was a major disappointment, and we really needed the fun," said Mark DiMassimo, president of New York-based DiMassimo Brand Advertising. The Super Bowl has historically been a forum for advertisers to break new creative ground, or to coin phrases that are traded around the water cooler the next day, but this year's ads did neither, DiMassimo said."

Ads on Super Bowl XXXVII Back to Basics-"The heavy-handed patriotism of last year was largely absent, unless you count Levi's surreal teen trip to the days of America's buffalo stampedes or MasterCard's dull revival of dead presidents. This year, many Super Bowl advertisers went back to basics: the fun of the game, of beer and of celebrity endorsers."

Creative commentary by Barbara Lippert: A Little Bit Rock and Roll- "...several other advertisers went dreamy and surreal enough to make Sigmund Freud proud: time travel during a long train journey (Cadillac), tours of empty, timeless city streets with and without bison (Levi's), and metaphysical fighting with time and youth itself (Gatorade). "

Bud Bowl: Beer ads dominate (includes which quarters ads aired)-"Celine Dion is next, with one of her new Chrysler spots. We found this spot lacking a week ago. It still doesn't register much, unless you like to hear Dion singing."

Anheuser-Busch's 'Replay' is top Super Bowl ad- "For the fifth year running, Anheuser-Busch had the No. 1 ad in USA TODAY's exclusive Ad Meter real-time consumer ranking of the top Super Bowl commercials. The ad substituted a real zebra for a football "zebra.""

Ads failed to bowl over America- "In a year in which violence abounded and the humour was particularly crass - veering towards the mean-spirited, the viewing public seems more drawn towards gentler humour, and better-known celebrities. But sexism was as ubiquitous as cute animals, catering for the twin tastes of Joe Sixpack and the great American hinterland between the two coasts."

As usual, only some ads on the money- "Visa, in a commercial that reminded me of Bud's "Wasssssup!" franchise, featured Chinese NBA rookie Yao Ming in a New York pawn shop. The language-barrier issues made for a fun look. And Yogi Berra provided the right exclamation point. Yao. Yo. Yogi."

Super Bowl ads: Funny, but familiar- "The Reebok commercial featuring Terry Tate, a fictional 300 lb. linebacker who brutally tackles slacker office workers, had more energy than most of the other ads and was funny in a “ooh, that’s gotta hurt,” way. The violence is cartoonish, so it’s not going to make anyone smash their co-workers to the ground. But why the linebacker would make anyone want to buy Reebok products is unclear, unless it’s to be able to run away from him faster."

Super Bowl ads offer litte surprise, creativity- "The best ads came from Anheuser-Busch, the biggest buyer of advertising time with 11 spots. Nothing in its series of funny little commercials broke any ground, pushed any envelopes or invoked the kinds of cliches that measure the success of ads. But they were consistently effective in making viewers smile at the mention of the words "Bud Light.""

Super Bowl Ads Better Than The Game- " This year's Super Bowl commercials were better than the game, but maybe that's not saying much. Hey, what happened to all those hip dotcom ads, you know, the ones where Company A put every cent it had into a 30-second Super Bowl spot, leaving no money to actually run the company?(No need to answer; it's a rhetorical question.)"

Super Bowl ads: Which scored, and which failed?- "Humor was the hook for the best of the ads, as it always is. But perhaps it's indicative of the troubled economic times that, overall, yesterday's spots didn't have the surprising bite we've come to expect on Super Bowl Sunday. Even the cleverest seemed to embrace the familiar."

Super Bowl ads play it safe- " Low-brow, slap-stick comedy carried much of the night, from an ad for Trident that starred a bloodthirsty squirrel to a trio of body-humor Bud Light ads."

Super Bowl ads were quirky-" Big-budget movies played their usual role, with Arnold Schwarzenegger on hand to tout his summer action flick, Terminator 3, and Warner Brothers offering many viewers their first peeks of the two new Matrix movies scheduled to be released this year."

Super Bowl ads strike funny bone- "The splashiest commercials typically air earlier in the game, which fit well with listless offense through much of the first half."

Super Bowl ads pitch power to the people- "Instead, commercial appeals were wrapped in the ordinary — even when the product was expensive. The downside of this approach is that the ordinary too often was dull. Like TV networks, which this season took a cautious approach to shows based on some notion that 9/11 destroyed our appetites for edginess, advertisers went for the safely amusing and determinedly nonoffensive."

Super Bowl as Ed Sullivan Show- " It wasn't a tour de force, exactly. Glaringly in short supply was the visual storytelling the event best serves. Super Bowl Sunday is all about commotion. Ads that contribute to the din are at a disadvantage vs. the ones that draw the story out and the viewer in. Still, what most distinguished the 2003 Super Bowl was the observance of advertising values, not just entertainment and production ones; most of the ads had embedded within them strong selling messages, and the rest mainly were brand-building enough to fill in the gap."

Advertising at the Super Bowl- A list of old articles on pre-Super Bowl buzz.

The good, the bad and the empty on Super Sunday- "The Budweiser Zebra spot. A cowboy saying the word "zebra" is funny. That's fundamental. Add to that the dig at NFL officiating, some lovely atmospheric photography, and an edge-of-your-seats, one or two-hoofs-in sideline call and we're talking gold. Best spot of the night."

Operation Infinite Ads- "We're going to plunge in headfirst by offering you reviews of the ads and in-depth analysis of the commercials' cultural significance...But most importantly, Flak will also explore whether any given ad can succeed where President Bush's economic team has failed and rescue our nation's failing economy."

Non-main stream media opinions:
Spot By Spot Superbowl Ad Thoughts- "All in all, I think it was a poor showing this year. No real standouts. The only standout didn't even run during Superbowl. It ran during Alias after the game. The spot? Yes, the Miller Lite Catfight spot."

Why were the Super Bowl ads so dull?- "Lighten up, folks. It's the Super Bowl, not Masterpiece Theater. It's not just the AFC-NFC Championship, it the championship of low-brow pandering. Might as well enjoy it."

John-Q-Public have their say- " Only slightly higher up the food chain was the "Huh?" factor - otherwise known as "You're confusing creative with effective" These ads were more confusing than memorable, and so clearly driven by agency creatives, rather than anyone with a business sense. These ads may have been intended to be humorous, but in so doing not only did they fail to promote their brands, but more likely to have damaged the brand by mixing their messages."

Some thoughts on ads from the introspection weblog- "Levi's/buffalo. Wasted its massive potential because it ultimately didn't make much sense. The tear streaking across the girl's face in the breeze of the stampeding bison was a beautiful touch, though."

Super Bowl ad takes- "Explanation of methodology -- totally subjective, fairly moderate drinking (martinis, gin and tonics and beer) starting about 4:30 pm. Overall impression -- not a particularly great year. Only one really jumped out at me. There were some that made me smile, but only one made me laugh."

If you know of a place with some good commentary/opinions/etc on the Super Bowl ads not listed here, leave a link in the comments for us.

AnonymousCoward's picture
NYCKing55's picture

I like the Visa commercial with Yao and Yogi.

My 5 best commercials in Super Bowl XXXVII:

1. Terry Tate Office Linebacker - Reebok
2. Yao Ming and Yogi - Visa
3. Sierra Mist Commercial - The Fire Hydrant
4. Fed Ex - Cast Away
5. Clydesdales Instant Replay - Budweiser

My pick for the Worst Commercial in SB XXXVII:
Levis - Bison

anonymous's picture

The Superbowl Rant at Commercials I Hate .com was up just hours after the game. You'll find very little praise here.

Dabitch's picture

This would also be a good place to hsare your comments about the superbowl - just hit "post" and you're off!

Impressive link collection Caff, I'll be surfing for days. So everyone thought this years crop was "safe" and "boring"? Isn't that what the industry guessed would happen this year after all them layoffs and shrinking budgets?

*sigh* they were right though. and I'm getting sick of beer-ads only showing the giant gap between the genders - that exists in the United States i might add - we're different in europe - though the british have a fine breed of Lads similar to the all-american-male depicted in US beer commercials... .. anyway I digress.. where was I? Oh yeah, as a female beer-drinker - I wouldn't touch Bud or Miller Or Coors with a ten foot pole. Like screwing in a canoe fucking close to water - but apart from the taste their ads and their "gender-gap" is being to really annoy the hell out of me. Men are from planet earth, women are from planet earth, deal with it. What kind of beer do girls drink in the states?

tlevitz's picture

What do US girls drink? Imports!!! Although you will catch frighteningly large number hoisting fruity malt beverages.

Um, well, I must admit... During these times of economic unease, a Coors or 12 will get the job done. In fact, I had a few during the Super Bowl to wash down the fact that no spots completely blew me away. HR Block with Willie Nelson, pretty decent... Reebok's office linebacker was a high point (the only time my party mates shut up, watched and laughed from the gut)... but by and large, it was business as usual... Pepsi Twist felt like a blown opportunity. In fact, upon seeing Mrs. Brady, the other party goers exchanged blank looks and asked "who was that?"

Dabitch's picture

how terrible - they must have been deprived children who didn't get enough daytime television reruns. ;-)

all in all, ...boring ads as usual.

Dabitch's picture

This commentary is brilliant:

I know it's only an ad to promote jobs for truck drivers, but why couldn't they go to a trucking company and just look at the empty trucks they have sitting in the yard without drivers. You don't need the Hollywood touch to make it more exciting. Why didn't they have an unemployed worker robbing a bank because the place he used to work for, took away his unemployment benefits and his wife and kids are home starving and are freezing with no heat. I liked the ad with the talking sock. That was cute and I still remember did that one

.... Isn't that brilliant? :))
I like the reference to the or 1-800-BarNone puppet.

tlevitz's picture

Empty trucks and rightfully disgruntled former employees... In that vein... former Enron employees doing a take on the "when I grow up, I want to be stuck in middle management / downsized... whathaveyou" spot...

or, a beautiful :30 featuring the aftermath of my former agency's closing... the lights are being shut off, the building has been sold and my CD is musing "I wonder if somebody told the cleaning guy that he doesn't have to come in anymore?"

you can guess what happens next...

caffeinegoddess's picture

Found this link on a weblog NOW (National Organization for Women) reviews the Super Bowl ads. "Men were again the big winners in the Super Bowl ad extravaganza

Dabitch's picture

found at


29/01/2003 17:21:10
A panel of 19 ad agency creative stars gathered this week at The One Club in New York to rank the best and worst ads of this year's Super Bowl. The panel was also asked to select those with the most compelling selling strategies, those that were most entertaining and those that reflected the most ambitious production achievements.

They ranked the top five commercials as follows:
1. Budweiser - Zebra
2. FedEx - Castaway
3. Sony - Space Flight
4. - Driverless Truck
5. Gatorade - 23 meets 39

Topping their least-liked TV commercials were spots for:

1. Cadillac - Subway Train
2. Levi's - Bison
3. Hanes - Jackie Chan/Michael Jordan also came in at the top for having the most compelling selling proposition, while the panel cited the Bud Light campaign as the most entertaining ads, along with Reebok's spot featuring 'Terry Tate'. Yet the Bud ads were almost unanimously voted as the most predictable ads of the game.

When asked what the real value of Super Bowl advertising was for the industry's creative community, members of the One Club panel said it served primarily as a stellar showcase for its imagination and skill at entertaining and persuasion. Yet not everyone felt these lofty ideals were achieved, with comments from the night including "if the quality of Super Bowl ads is a barometer of the health of our business, advertising is definitely not well" and "the ads on the game were the weakest ever. If you do a great spot, the price for the showcase and the extra media coverage is worth it. But if this is the best our industry can do, it's an embarrassing waste of money.