A few TV ads prove catchy, others fumble

By Alex Beam
Globe Staff / February 7, 2005

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It's time for the advertising awards for Super Bowl XXXIX. The envelopes, please.

First advertising-provoked belly laugh, registered at 6:40 p.m. EST: Bud Light's ''Geronimo" ad, in which a reluctant parachutist follows a six-pack of Bud out of an airplane door. Might have been even funnier if former President George H. W. Bush had participated.

Beer ads that make you wish you had stopped drinking: Brad Pitt for Heineken; Michelob Amber Bock.

Beer ad that makes you think maybe drinking isn't so bad, after all: Bud Light, in which man sees his best friend and girlfriend tucking into his beer stash -- and worse -- on his buddy's video cellphone.

The They Should Have Saved the $80,000 a Second Ad Costs and Donated the Money to Tsunami Relief Award:; Visa; Panasonic; Fidelity; Verizon.

The Are Monkeys Always Funny? Award: Answer: No, they are not always funny. But they are funny here.

The May I Please See That Again? And Again Award: The parody, in which Nikki Cappelli's halter top ''malfunctions" during testimony in front of a fictional, congressional ''broadcast censorship committee." The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based domain hosting service showed more courage than Anheuser-Busch, which pulled an equally funny ''wardrobe malfunction" ad from its Super Bowl lineup.

You can see the ''testimony" ad at, and the Anheuser-Bush ad at the Advertising Age website,

Plodding car ads that makes you wish you kept a Clydesdale in the garage: Cadillac V-Series; Chevrolet's ''American Revolution"; Nissan; Honda.

Best Car Ad Award: Ford's Green Light, which makes you think of trading in the Clydesdale for something a little sportier. In this ''Fargo" homage, a Mustang driver is found frozen in the front seat of Ford's forthcoming coupe. This ad was a last-minute substitute for a Lincoln Mark LT ad in which a priest experienced ''lust" in the presence of the Ford pickup.

The Do People Still Fly? Award: to American Airlines, which offered up an especially forgettable spot. Next time I need to travel to Chicago, I think I'll take a Clydesdale. Or else take JetBlue, which put on a much better ad.

Tackiest Product Placement awards: Fox cameras find spectator/megastar Will Smith, whose movie ''Hitch" by coincidence is being promoted during the game. Also on camera: Tom Arnold, host of a Fox sports show.

Movies to Miss Award: A seven-way tie among ''Hitch," ''Batman Begins"; ''Constantine"; Vin Diesel in ''The Pacifier"; the widely unanticipated remake of ''The Longest Yard"; and ''Robots," said to be ''from the makers of 'Ice Age.' " Odd that anyone would seek credit for that.

The coveted Huh? Award: ''I am Diana Pearl," apparently an ad for countertops. Or was it for male cosmetics? It might have been a better idea to throw Dennis Rodman over the fence with the dog and the Chevy Impala in the Frito-Lay ad.

Advertisement for a Pastime Even More Violent Than NFL Football Award: The third-quarter promotion for Fox's crooked-cop series, ''The Shield."

Runner-up for the coveted Huh? Award: Richard Branson in Volvo's ''Blast Off." Does Volvo make rockets? Is Branson Swedish? I'm confused.

Second runner-up: MBNA. What is that, anyway? Part of the Homeland Security department?

The Tiresome, Strutting Boomers Engaged in Self-Advertising Award: Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton.

The Is It True That Hip Hop ''Artists" Will Do Anything for Money? Award: Shared among P. Diddy, Xzibit & Co. pimping for Pepsi; MC Hammer shimmy for potato chips.

The Spare Me, I Am Begging You Award: The ''Be My Baby" ad from Cialis, a 36-hour-long ''cure" for erectile dysfunction. The Wall Street Journal recommended: ''TiVo it." Not everyone has TiVo!

Hottest Super Bowl XXXIX Ad, also winner of the Most Ridiculous Pretext for Showing a Half-Dressed Woman Award: Tabasco. As MC Hammer would say: Can't touch that!

Alex Beam can be reached at

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