Ads deliver occasional laughs while avoiding controversy

The Commercials

Super Bowl

Patriots 24 - Eagles 21

February 07, 2005|By Ray Frager | Ray Frager,SUN STAFF

As promised, the commercial content during last night's Super Bowl was mild. But at $2.4 million per shot, several ads at least gave us a smile.

Some of the best:

If you recall the film Get Shorty, you appreciated the P. Diddy Pepsi spot. In the movie, John Travolta makes his uncool minivan seem so cool to the Hollywood crowd that everyone ends up driving one. In the commercial, Diddy's car breaks down, and he hitches a ride to the red carpet in a Pepsi truck. Next thing you know, the In Crowd is tooling around in Pepsi trucks.

So much of pop culture is self-referential, and the FedEx/Kinko's commercial played it to the hilt. The announcer ticks off elements needed for a successful spot, and we get several, from Burt Reynolds with a talking bear to nubile cheerleaders.

The best spot might have been the simplest. Soldiers walking through an airport. Applause starts to build until every passenger and worker is expressing gratitude. A thank you flashes on the screen, then the Anheuser-Busch logo.

Then there were the commercials that flopped:

The frozen Ford guy. Talk about a commercial that leaves you cold.

A police cruiser pulls up to a traffic light on what looks like an icy wasteland outside a city. A Mustang sits there with the top down. The officer approaches and finds the driver, who's hard as a popsicle in the front seat.

Hey, who wants to buy a cryogenic car?

Is there a way to make a tasteful ad for an erectile-dysfunction drug? Maybe, but the Cialis folks should know that playing the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" during a commercial isn't one of them.

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