Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, February 05, 2005


The Ad Game

Tomorrow afternoon, as so many Americans settle in with friends, alcohol and various forms of cholesterol to fill their arteries, they'll be armed with at least seven metric tons of pre-game analysis. The various twenty-four hour sports channels will have dissected the offenses, defenses and special teams of the Patriots and Eagles to the point where every single play will be met mostly by the reaction, "Yeah, that's what I expected would happen." In addition to cable, sports fans will have gotten predictions and punditry from sports radio, magazines and approximately 37 billion websites. So they'll be pretty well prepared for the game.

My knowledge of football these days is limited. There was a time when I was a huge fan and could spout off any number of NFL-related factoids. That was long ago. That was before Art Modell, or "Satan's Asshole" as he came to be known in our house, moved our beloved Browns to Baltimore and changed their name to the Ravens. I turned my back on the sport after that and have spent the last decade in a state of pigskin-ignorance, also known as pigskignorance. Even after Cleveland got a new Browns team, I just haven't been enthusiastic about the sport. I watch the occasional game now and then and I usually watch at least some of the Super Bowl every year, but I know so distressingly little about what's going on in the League now that I can offer no pertinent information about what's going to happen on the field.

However, as one of the most respected media analysts in the world and founder of the Hairshirt Institute of Media Studies, I am singularly qualified to discuss the commercials that take place during the Super Bowl. After last year's half-time debacle, in which millions of Americans were traumatized by Justin Timberlake's singing, my old friend Paul Tagliabue got in touch with me in the hopes of avoiding another black eye for a league quickly becoming better known for it's run-ins with the FCC than for the gentlemanly pursuit of athletic excellence it has championed in the past. Paul sent me copies of every commercial airing during tomorrow's game to get my stamp of approval before they air. Although I gave my thumbs-up to most of the spots, there were a few I could not stamp with my seal of approval. Consequently, here are some commercials you will no longer be seeing during tomorrow's big game:
  • Head & Shoulders's ad for their new Pubic Shampoo.
  • Lincoln/Mercury's spot for Lincoln Navigator, which featured the Klan running over a nun.
  • Yahoo's series, in which various celebrities appear on screen to say, "Fuck Google."
  • Burger King's commercial hyping the new Western Angus Burger, because it had Donald Trump, who I just felt was over-exposed.
  • One of Visa's ads starring Marvel Super-Heroes. The one I objected to seemed to imply that SpiderMan and the Human Torch were lovers.
  • Budweiser's piece in which Joe Montana tells the viewing audience that "Coors is the worst thing since Hitler."
  • Pizza Hut's latest commercial with the Muppets. The ad agency had failed to notice that Miss Piggy's nipple is exposed in one shot.
  • The Republican National Committee's thirty-second ad hyping Bush's plans for Social Security. I thought their might be some truth in advertising issues.
  • Hoover's ad for it's new HX730 line of vacuums, which featured the tag line, "These Vacuums Fucking Suck!"
  • Fox's in-house ads for American Idol, simply because I feel the show has run it's course and Paula, Simon and what's-his-ass should be taken behind the barn and put out of their misery.
Paul was so gushing in his praise of my analysis, it was almost embarrassing. To be honest, I'm just honored that I could do my part to make the Super Bowl a more tasteful affair.