Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone, soon to become another chapter in the annals of NFL history, while the commercials that sometimes outshine the game itself will slowly fade into oblivion. Sunday’s game followed the track of many recent Super Bowls, with a close contest turning into a blowout late in the third quarter when New York had no response to Baltimore’s surprising scoring explosion.

The Ravens pulled away from the Giants for a 34-7 victory and turned Super Sunday into a laugher, a not-uncommon Super disappointment.

Turning away from the gridiron, the attention of millions of Americans shifted from the field to the ads.

Even the men sitting in a sports bar who booed the Backstreet Boys prior to the national anthem and were primarily interested in the action on the field paid rapt attention to the commercials aired throughout the game. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were downright painful.

All the Super Bowl ads will be forgotten soon enough, but they were pretty solid on the whole, certainly more entertaining than watching the Giants suffer through the fourth quarter (although I took a fair bit of sadistic pleasure from it as a suffering Redskins fan).

Ray Lewis won the Super Bowl MVP for his dominating performance that anchored the Ravens’ impressive defensive performance, while my Ad MVP goes to E-Trade for its “Invest Wisely” ad that took offense to the dot com crash. Showing the effects of the dot com “Nuclear Winter,” the crumbling Porsche with the Dot Comer plate was funny and the monkey shedding a single tear in sadness was hilarious, but it was the trampled, yellow sock puppet that put E-Trade over the top. It was so great, would have sued had the ad not been so on target as the company endured said nuclear winter.

Although E-Trade garnered MVP honors, it was a team effort that put the commercials over the top, much like it did for the Ravens’ defense. Another strong performance came from Super Bowl workhorse Budweiser, for its Bud Light “shake it with a hot date” ad.

Excited by the hot woman he’s got sitting on his couch, typical fat guy is so psyched he dances around the kitchen with a pair of beers in his hands. He returns to the couch only to spray the beer into his date’s face since it’s shaken up. Talk about bad date etiquette. The only thing keeping Bud from MVP honors was the lack of a moral. “Don’t spray beer in your date’s face” is probably a lesson to be heeded by all, but it’s not quite worth the two million and change. But don’t worry if you didn’t see it, because you will see his date’s face get splashed in beer more times than you care to remember in the coming months.

One ad that turned out to be a major surprise was Bob Dole’s “I owe it all to my little blue friend.” Expecting another erectile dysfunction diatribe from the ex-Senator (thanks for sharing, Bob, but I really never needed that much information), his little blue friend turned out to be a can of Pepsi. It definitely got everyone’s attention and showed Dole does have a sense of humor, even if it means dragging his once-vaunted name ever further through the mud. Now, if it had been Clinton standing on the beach talking about his little blue friend, it would have been MVP material, but, alas, the ex-president has not sunk that low yet … only a matter of time, I guess.

The timeouts weren’t filled with highlight-reel performances, however. A few of the painful ads still linger like the nasty hangover I had all weekend.

I think the Volkswagen in the tree deserves “stupid honors” for its depiction of, well, a car falling out of a tree. Original, yes. But it only succeeded in making me never want to be associated with anything Volkswagen-related for the rest of my life.

And it didn’t stop there. Subway had to tell me, yet again, that Jared used to be really fat, then he started eating healthy Subway subs, then he was thin. Great, grand, wonderful. But could you at least come up with a new no-longer-fat guy? It is the Super Bowl, after all.

Cingular Wireless pulled the all-too-common high-tech trick of spending close to $10 million on a series of ads that had their moments, yet I have absolutely no idea what the company does. I probably wouldn’t use them, or buy their stuff or do whatever they do anyway, but it would be nice to at least know what I’m ignoring.

All in all, it was a good Super Sunday. The game gets a C-, buts that’s to be expected when the Giants are involved. The ads, with the return of the traditional advertising powerhouses (beer, soda, snack food), rated a B+. Britney’s halftime uniform, sporty to go along with the whole Super Bowl thing, rated a solid A.

Now if only I could figure out wazzzzup with N’Sync in a Bud commercial … not exactly skimming your target audience. Oh well.

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