>>> Balls to the Wall
By staff writer Dan Opp

February 8, 2006

With an estimated eleventy billion people across the globe tuning into the Super Bowl each year, it has become the granddaddy of advertising space. A 30-second time slot cost the megalithic corporations of the world an average of $2.5 million this year, so coming up with an extremely catchy or poignant message was imperative to the VP’s of Marketing who enjoy their swanky jobs. With that in mind, I present to you the best—and the worst—that this year’s run of Super Bowl commercials had to offer.

Five Terrible Ways to Spend $2.5 Million

5. Pizza Hut’s “Pizza Bites”

In this bit, Jessica Simpson sings a shitty rendition of her hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” which was a shitty rendition in itself. Sure, Jessica Simpson is slammin’, but after this and “Take My Breath Away” she’s nothing more than the female Diddy, minus the business savvy. Luckily for Jessica, her daddy knows a thing or two about picking up teeny boppers by the ankles and shaking them for everything they’re worth.

4. Bud Light’s “Leaky Roof”

“The commercials for Sierra Mist are so bad that…I would otherwise buy the product, but don’t, simply because the commercials are so god-awful.”

Between the homicidal grizzly and the livestock playing football, Bud Light had some pretty weak spots. The one that really pissed me off, though, was the ad where the guys are fixing a leaky roof, the satellite dish, and other things of that nature, which allows them to escape their wives and kick back on the roof with some brews. It was an idea with great potential, until it went the slapstick route and one of the guys falls through his roof into his living room. Hardy har har. I’m sure Anheuser Busch’s 5-year-old demographic loved it. (Let it be known that execs from McDonald’s and Phillip Morris were seen hurriedly jotting notes.) The fact that the end was so bad tarnished an otherwise decent production, which I like to call the War of the Worlds effect.

3. Overstock.com’s “Although We Sell Just About Everything We Really Don’t Want Men to Shop at Our Site”

Seriously, before my little bro, Tom, told me about friends of his that had bought shoes and DVD players on Overstock.com for mad cheap, I thought they only sold jewelry and perfume. I mean, could their commercials be more feminine? Their holiday ads featured a chick covered head-to-toe in fake white fur singing a jingle WITH MALE BACKUP DANCERS. How is this supposed to appeal to Joe Consumer?

2. Dove’s “Self-Esteem Fund”

You smell that? Me too. That’s a steaming load of bullshit invading your nostrils. Apparently, the Self-Esteem Fund is a charity that teaches young girls they don’t need to be Barbies because they’re beautiful already. Excuse me while I dry my eyes. Until Dove’s parent company, Unilever, starts putting women with unibrows in their everyday ads, I’m not going to respect their hypocritical farce of a social

1. Sierra Mist’s “Airport Security”

This spot was another in a long line of mind-numbingly stupid Sierra Mist commercials. The commercials for Sierra Mist are so bad that they have now joined the rarefied air of McDonald’s Chicken Selects. These are the only products that I would otherwise buy, but don’t, simply because the commercials are so god-awful. This particular ad featured Kathy Griffin as an airport security guard making a beeping sound every time her metal detector passed Michael Ian Black’s bottle of Sierra Mist. It basically seemed like this commercial was aimed at the cast of “Life Goes On.” Yeah, it’s that retarded.

The Fab Five

Let me preface this by saying that this Fab Five is much more Webber, Jalen, and Juwan than Carson, Ted, and Rusty Trombone or whatever those Queer Eye guys’ names are. To be fair, there were a lot of dirty exchanges going on under the table when basketball’s Fab Five were being recruited to Michigan and Chris Webber did screw all of his teammates in the '93 title game. Now that I think about it, I guess the most-hyped recruiting class in college basketball history and Bravo’s band of battiboys are pretty similar after all. Anyway, with no regard for anyone’s opinion but mine, here are the top commercials from Super Bowl XL.

Honorable Mention: Mobile ESPN’s “Sports Heaven”

Nothing about this line of commercials was very remarkable, except for the fact that they did what commercials are supposed to do: help sell the product. I definitely see this service falling into the “don’t need one ‘til you have one” category—a la cell phones, the internet, and orgasms—but I’m definitely going to look further into registering for Mobile ESPN.

5. Full Throttle Energy Drink’s “Let Your Man Out”

The commercial itself was halfway decent—with monster trucks, motorcycles, and hot rods spilling out of backyards to tail a Full Throttle semi—but the slogan is what pulled it all together. I’m reasonably sure it caused thousands of men around the world to simultaneously make an “expose my genitals” joke. I know I did.

4. HeresToBeer.com’s “Cheers”

Does this really require an explanation? I didn’t think so either.

3. Emerald Nuts “E.M.E.R.A.L.D. N.U.T.S.”

I was always a fan of the Emerald Nuts’ “E.N.” commercials, but they’ve definitely outdone themselves with “Eagle-eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs.” I just wish I could browse all the candidate sentences they threw out. You know there had to be at least a few that would’ve thrown overprotective parents everywhere into an uproar.

2. Bud Light’s “Magic Fridge”

Considering all the crap that Anheuser Busch churned out for this year’s Super Bowl, this ad made up for all of it and then some. The premise was clever and unexpected, but what put it over the top for me was the genuine, frenzied joy displayed by the guys on the other side of the wall. Put it all together and you’ve got a Super Bowl instant classic.

1. Ameriquest Mortgage’s “Don’t Judge Too Quickly”

Perhaps I set my standards a little too high, but a commercial needs a certain degree of cleverness to really strike my fancy. In that respect, Ameriquest Mortgage’s set of commercials comprised the elite. Their ad in which the woman ends up getting caught accidentally riding some guy because of airplane turbulence was very reminiscent of Southwest Airlines’ “Wanna Get Away?” series of ads, but nonetheless extracted a chuckle from me. However, the bit that got a legitimate LOL out of me was “That killed him.” I’m not going into detail here because if you haven’t seen it for yourself, I can’t do it justice. Trust me. It’s hilarious.

So there you have it, the respective cream and chalky sediment of Super Bowl XL’s lineup of commercials. Are there more zany Emerald Nuts commercials on the way? Will MasterCard ever stop beating the dead horse that is their “Priceless” ads? Will a drunken, Full Throttle-sponsored Joe Namath “let his man out” in front of Suzy Kolber on national TV? Who knows? Super Bowl XLI is but a year away.