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August 29, 2014

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Eyes on the ads: Super Bowl ads upstaged by a coat

Image

GoDaddy.com / Associated Press

In this image released by GoDaddy.com on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, in a muscle suit, appears with bodybuilders in a Super Bowl XLVIII ad shot in Long Beach, Calif. The ad is expected to air after halftime.

Updated Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 | 8:43 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Former New York Jets quarterback “Broadway” Joe Namath poses before the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Seattle Seahawks had a blowout victory on Sunday night, but there was no big winner in the Super Bowl ad contest.

Many advertisers went for a more serious, toned-down feel than in previous years. Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Chrysler all hit patriotic notes. RadioShack ad got praise for its surprisingly frank acknowledgement of its dated image — and its use of 1980s pop culture figures including Alf. And "Seinfeld" characters Jerry, George and Newman got together for a mini reunion in an ad for Jerry Seinfeld's show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

Still, the ads seemed to be upstaged by Joe Namath, at least on social media. When the football hero appeared on the field for the coin toss wearing a massive fur coat, Twitter and other sites buzzed with jokes. The reaction to most ads was much more muted.

Here's a look at some things you might know — and some things you don't — about the ads.

•••

BOB DYLAN'S SUPER BOWL

Legendary musician Bob Dylan appeared in a Chrysler ad that had been kept tightly under wraps. Dylan walked through the streets of Detroit explaining that the city made cars and that "cars are made in America."

In case you didn't get the point, he goes on to explain in his familiar raspy voice:

"Let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland assemble your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car."

It was the second appearance of the night for Dylan, if you count his popular 1960s tune of "I Want You" that played in the Chobani ad.

•••

A FIRST

A Coke ad showed a quick shot of gay couple and their daughter, marking the first time a gay family was included in a Super Bowl ad, according to GLAAD, an advocacy group for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

A longer version of the ad is set to air during the opening ceremony of the Olympic winter games in Sochi.

•••

A SEINFELD REUNION ... SORT OF

Sightings of "Seinfeld" actors filming in New York City this week sparked rumors of a reunion.

It turns out they were shooting an ad for Jerry Seinfeld's show on Crackle, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

In the ad, George gripes that he wasn't invited to a Super Bowl party. After some prodding, Jerry tells him it's because he "over-cheered." After some more prodding, Jerry admits the real reason: it seems George "availed himself" in the bathroom of the host's master bedroom.

•••

RADIO SHACK HAS FUN WITH ITS '80s IMAGE

At least Radio Shack understands its problem — and can laugh about it.

The company poked fun at its outdated image by having pop culture characters from the past ransacking its store for an "'80s Giveaway."

Among those spotted: Hulk Hogan, Teen Wolf, that evil Chucky Doll, the California Raisins and Alf, who wasn't eating a cat.

•••

TIM TEBOW MAKES IT TO THE SUPER BOWL AFTER ALL

Tim Tebow wasn't on the field, but he still got to enjoy the Super Bowl spotlight.

T-Mobile used the former Broncos quarterback to show how great life can be without a contract. In the ads, Tebow delivered a baby and tackled Big Foot.

•••

GLASS OR PLASTIC?

If you're happy and you know it, slap the back of a (glass) ketchup bottle, was the suggestion in a Heinz ad.

The ad may have been catchy, but it's worth noting that the majority of Heinz ketchup bottles sold in the U.S. are in plastic bottles, which were introduced in 1983.

The Pittsburgh-based company is still the country's No. 1 ketchup maker, with 60 percent of the market in North America, according to Euromonitor. Hunt's, made by ConAgra, is second.

•••

NEW YORK CITY GETS A TUNE-UP

Halftime sponsor Pepsi got one of the sweetest ad spots of the night, with a 30-second lead-in to the show starring Bruno Mars.

The spot showed various New York City monuments at night being lit up and played like instruments — the Manhattan bridge is strummed like a guitar, Columbus Circle is spun like a record and the Guggenheim and famous Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City get played like drums.

MetLife stadium, where the game is being played, is turned like a dial, making the lights climb across the city's skyscrapers.

SLOW CLAP FOR ... STEPHEN COLBERT'S EAGLE

The best part of the Wonderful Pistachios ads starring Stephen Colbert? The eagle perched on his desk wearing a little matching suit.

The spots launch a yearlong sponsorship for between Colbert and parent company Roll Global. Mainly, we're looking forward to seeing what other outfits the eagle will sport.

Wonderful Pistachios says the eagle — played by a puppet — is female.

"Colbert calls her a girl in the teaser," notes Rob Six, a Roll Global spokesman.

•••

CAR AD OR MOVIE TRAILER?

Chrysler's first ad of the night ran 90 seconds long and looked more like a movie trailer. The spot for the Ghibli Maserati featured shadowy imagery and a dramatic voiceover by Quvenzhane Wallis, the young actress who starred in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

"We knew that being clever was more important than being the biggest kid in the neighborhood," the voiceover notes.

It was directed by David Gordon Green, who directed "Pineapple Express."

•••

DREAMING OF A PEPSICO-CATERED SUPER BOWL PARTY?

Pass the Doritos-crusted fried cheese, please.

PepsiCo just aired its first Doritos ad, which has us thinking of the free food served at a music fest in New York City sponsored by the company this week.

Here's a sampling of what was on the menu, which incorporated PepsiCo products:

• Cool Ranch Doritos-Cured Gravlax with Everything Gougers

• Pepsi-braised Brisket

• Doritos-Crusted Deep-Fried Cheese

• Mountain Dew Bacon tacos with Sabra guacamole and pico de gallo

•••

SUBWAY MAKES IT TO THE DANCE

A new Frito-filled sandwich will be the star of Subway's ad, which the company says was secured in the 11th hour.

Chief marketing officer Tony Pace says Fox approached the company on Friday about a spot that opened up. Pace says Subway will be the only fast-food chain airing an ad during the game.

It's not the first time Subway is benefiting from a last-minute change. Last year, the company had two ads set to run. But because of the blackout, Pace says one of the spots was aired a second time at no extra cost.

So is Pace rooting for another blackout?

"Absolutely not," he said.

•••

CHEERIOS FAMILY ADDS A NEW MEMBER

If the faces in the Cheerios ad look familiar, there's a reason.

The biracial family was also featured in an ad that made headlines last year after it sparked ugly comments online. The remarks were subsequently eclipsed by an outpouring of support.

General Mills, which owns Cheerios, says it was looking to reflect the changing U.S. population when it cast the roles for the fictional family, made up of a black dad, a white mom and their daughter. In the new spot, the dad tells the little girl that she has baby brother on the way.

If the ad is popular enough, perhaps General Mills will keep following the family's story line for years to come. Just picture it: the little girl as a sullen teenager sitting at the breakfast table, refusing to talk to her exasperated parents. Fade to black as they eat their Cheerios in silence.

•••

BUD LIGHT'S FEAR OF MISSING OUT

How important is the Super Bowl to Bud Light? The beer has three ads airing during the game.

In case that wasn't enough, it also had a massive party ship docked at a New York pier with the words "THE BUD LIGHT HOTEL" emblazoned on the side. The ship was on loan from Norwegian Cruise Lines and served as a base for more than 3,000 guests. After taking control of it earlier this week, Anheuser Busch slapped its Bud Light logo on just about everything in less than 24 hours, down to the tiny shampoo bottles in the cabins.

Even crew members' uniforms had Bud Light stitched onto the sleeves.

•••

SECOND HALF: BOB DYLAN VERSUS JOHN STAMOS

Chobani may feature a Bob Dylan song in its ad, but rival Oikos had Full House star John Stamos — better known as Uncle Jesse to fans of the sitcom.

In Chobani's big game debut, the tune of "I Want You" plays as an angry bear ransacks a country store for something good to eat.

Meanwhile, Dannon's Oikos ad shows Stamos sitting with a woman who seductively licks some stray yogurt from his finger, then his upper lip. The scene heats up when some yogurt falls on his lap — but the moment is ruined when fellow Full House stars Bob Saget and Dave Coulier interrupt with offer to clean it up.

For those who didn't watch Full House: the joke is that Saget's character was a clean freak. As daughter Michelle would say...How rude.

•••

SCARLETT JOHANSSON'S POLITiCALLY CHARGED FIZZY WATER

Who knew seltzer could be so controversial?

SodaStream's ad starring the actress Scarlett Johansson got plenty of attention for the soda machine maker. The ad prompted the "Her" star cut ties with Oxfam International, which took issue with SodaStream's large factory in an Israeli West Bank settlement.

Meanwhile, Oxfam planned to bring attention to another issue during the game: Pepsi's "land grabs" in countries such as Brazil and Cambodia, where it says the company's sugar suppliers have robbed farmers of their rights and kicked them off their land.

Oxfam says it has about 1,000 people signed up to tweet and post on Facebook during the game.

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