Super Bowl ads sink with economy

Feb. 5, 2009, 10:32 p.m. | By Monica Wei David Zheng | 13 years, 6 months ago

Few shine through in a year of let-downs

During a financial crisis, you would think that marketing crews with Super Bowl ad spots would come out guns-blazing. They are paying $3 million a pop for a mere 30 seconds of screen time. Unfortunately, the commercials could not match up to the great game this year, disappointing viewers after a glorious year for advertisements in 2008.

Of the over 60 commercials screened this year, many tried too hard and failed even harder with advertising formulas such as slap-shtick at a time when originality was needed most. Sobe's 3-D ad could only be described as a gimmicky abomination. Still, several marketing gems stood out amidst the mediocrity. Here are SCO's top ten Super Bowl ads of 2009.

Doritos: Crystal Ball

Interestingly enough, Doritos's Crystal Ball - created by amateurs - beat out much of the marketing competition this year. This peculiar commercial featuring just two guys and a future-telling crystal ball teaches us all that if we wish for something enough, it will happen…sometimes. The ad mixes quirkiness, a humor and a dash of crudeness to round out a funny spot. If only life worked the way it does here.

Pedigree: Which Pet?

Ever wanted to have an exotic pet? Perhaps a polar bear, mountain lion or zebra? This Pedigree commercial's snippets of family life with a strange pet might just change your mind. Think your Garfield of a cat hates on the mailman? Wait until you check out Grandma's new ostrich. Like remodeling your home every other day? No? Well you won't have much of a choice with a rhino in the house. How about taking a road-trip with your boar hanging its tongue out with its head out the window? Or you can always show off your new bison's Frisbee catching abilities to your best friend. Pedigree shows viewers why it might just be simpler to stick with man's best friend. Please, just get a dog.

Coca-cola: The Heist

Coca-Cola always manages to produce magical ads year after year. Last time, viewers saw Charlie Brown take a surprise victory over Stewie and Underdog floats duking it out for a bottle of Coke. Before that, Coca-Cola took everyone into the Happiness Factory , a miniature universe inside a vending machine. I'm sure many others will remember other classics such as the Coke video game and jinx. This time around, all the critters of Mother Nature - coordinating the ultimate saga of teamwork - band together in the heist of an unsuspecting napper's bottle of Coke. Creative and colorful, Coca-Cola once again keeps the magic alive with this ingenious and epic getaway. David Abernathy

Meet David Abernathy, child prodigy of confidence. As a newborn, he congratulated the doctor for delivering him. As a toddler, he well on his way as an entrepreneur, negotiating for his own bed-time with a prim presentation. By elementary school, Abernathy had mastered the techniques of winning over a girl, something that most high schoolers still can't place down, and had saved the class pets from a burning school. Next on his list to tackle was getting the position of dean at Princeton. Open heart surgery with a ball-point pen in a packet Opera house? No problem for Abernathy. But in an ironic twist, the extraordinaire meets his match after college when faced with the dilemmas of car purchasing. Fortunately, was right there for him. Though the familiar twist could be seen from the very beginning, the commercial's presentation - music, voice and style - was perfect and enjoyable nonetheless.

Doritos: Power of the Crunch

Doritos is on a roll here with its public generated videos. Their marketing team doesn't even need to do anything but select out the best. With so many ideas out there, Doritos hit upon another bulls-eye with this ad about a man who discovers on a stroll downtown that crunching down on Doritos grants him wishes. Hot girl approaching the other way? Low on cash? Police confrontation? All you need is more Doritos. Cause when you run out...

Budweiser Carnival

The Budweiser horse finds true love! Set to the background of some cheesy music, Romeo braves mountains and rivers to chase his dreamy white mare. The love was cute, but no connection to Budweiser beer was made until the very end. (It probably made reviewers want to go to a carnival more than buy beer.)

NBC: LMAO Clinic

When NBC advertises for its own shows it loses time it could have sold to other advertisers. But in this dismal economy, maybe this one-minute commercial was leftover time it couldn't sell off. But even so, the LMAO clinic ad for NBC's comedy shows - 30 Rock and The Office - was hilarious, with people laughing so hard their butts literally fell off. C'mon, what's funnier than butt humor, much less people actually losing their butts? This ad was probably funnier than the shows advertised. Let's just be thankful there were no bare bottoms.

Bud Light: Office Meeting

With all the talk about layoffs and company cutbacks on the news, it's about time someone came up with something funny. Cutting advertising is acceptable and other profit cuts are okay, but suggesting that Bud Light no longer be served at office meetings is an absolute no-no. Just the image of the guy flying through the window of the office building and landing in his chair on the lawn was hilarious. Punching Koalas

Ah, finally an ad with something for everyone! If the screaming lady honking her horn didn't catch your attention, maybe you're more of a swimmer - in which case you probably noticed the porpoise. But if neither of those caught your eye, the koala getting punched in the face repeatedly probably did it. And of course, the guy sitting at his cubicle in a Speedo picking at his toenails definitely got our full, undivided attention. This was for sure one of the highlights of Super Bowl commercials of 2009, so props to for knowing how to grab our attention. I just don't know if I want to visit the site - what if it boasts a giant photo of Speedo guy? I don't know if my eyes could handle that again.

Bridgestone: Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead

Mrs. Potatohead yells at Mr. Potatohead until they almost crash into a flock of sheep, sending her plastic mouth rolling off the side of the road. A play on the female backseat driver and the nagging wife that never shuts up, the loss of Mrs. Potatohead's mouth was pretty funny. This was one of the few Bridgestone commercials that were actually related to cars and tires. Apparently, Bridgestone tires can stand pressure and terrain that plastic Potatohead lips can't. The wife, finding her complaints silenced, switched her normal eyes for a glaring pair - ending the commercial on a high note.

Monica Wei. Monica is an unfortunate piece of fruit that has been suspended in a gelatin cup. Okay, not really, but sometimes she feels like one. Monica the strawberry chunk enjoys reading, sitting in trees and watching the clouds go by. She thinks that anything tastes good … More »

David Zheng. David Zheng used to live in California but now he is trapped in Maryland. In his spare time, David likes to play sports in general, doze off in front of the computer, watch random movies, and eat ice cream. Although some may disagree, David is … More »

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