I would like to believe that this column is read and enjoyed by millions. I would also like to believe that the titans of the advertising industry look forward to each Tuesday morning, desperate to know my thoughts.  And most importantly, I would like to believe that I have a shot at resembling the new James Bond when I wear a swimsuit.

Sadly, reality eventually intrudes, reminding me that I am but a fitness-challenged cog in that glorious machine of commerce. Still, I think I can be slightly justified in feeling puffed up over a couple of things that happened this week. First, that weird Snickers ad I mentioned last column has been pulled. Apparently, while the company figured the ad was great and hilarious, there were a few high profile lobby groups that did not. The website showing it was down before Monday noon, and Snickers was backpedaling as fast as Michael Richards at a Rosa Parks rally.

The second one was the suicidal robot ad from GM. It was pulled from the air and is being subjected to a re-editing process in which the actual leap from the bridge (the suicide part) will be exorcised from the commercial altogether.

Now, if that doesn’t make one feel like someone, somewhere is listening then I don’t know what will. False pride aside, it just goes to show how subjective ads can be – and how carefully advertisers are watching to see what we think about them. Insecurity reigns among advertisers, to a certain extent.

So, with such a good track record on last weeks nitpicking, let’s tear into a few more Super Bowl goodies before the moment is gone.

E-Trade had a great ad called “One Finger.” In it they listed, and demonstrated,  all the things you can do with one finger: Amuse a baby; Summon an elevator; Declare your team’s supremacy; Prove your sobriety; Make toast; Identify a murderer; Get to know your doctor; Save Holland and of course re-allocate your entire investment portfolio with E-Trade. It was tight and funny and ended strong, as the audience is advised to use one certain finger to tell your old broker what you think of him. It was sort of risqué without pushing too hard and left E-Trade’s message firm in my mind. One finger easy.

I’ve gone off about drug ads before so I wasn’t even going to mention the one for Flomax but it was just so forced and awkward. They had a group of middle-aged guys out on some “bonding-back-to nature-outward-bound” kind of thing where they are biking and hiking and kayaking and looking like its just way too much fun while the voice over explains how you can avoid stopping to pee every 38 seconds by taking their drug. The screen lists all the symptoms you likely exhibit (stopping and starting, straining, weak stream, incomplete emptying and going urgently). I know this is serious but with the guys looking like they’re trying just a little too hard to have fun intermixed with the images created by words like “straining” and “stopping and starting” well, that’s just more than I can take. Add in a product name like “Flomax” and I half expected it to be made by Playtex and for the ladies. Maybe they could have used a garden hose or something instead. I hate fake fun. Beer ads do fake fun a lot better.

The Kevin Federline Nationwide Insurance ad was the most pre-hyped of the ads before the game. In it, the pop-culture punch line known as K-fed is shown rapping music video style in various getups and sets just before closing in on “reality.” Reality being his job in the drive-thru of a fast food joint where he is only imagining himself doing such cool things. The ad is pretty good. It uses his remarkably indelible image as a freeloading loser to good effect. The only problem was because everyone knew about the ad before the game it sort of lost the edge it would have had if someone watching could have started off thinking it was an ad for a CD of his or something. I know ads are all about publicity but in this case I think the pre-game hype sort of deflected the impact it might have had. No matter what though, it is good to see he’s working. His kids are going to need a strong role model.

The ad that is almost so bad its good has got to be from Salesgenie.com. In this one a real handsome, well-dressed salesman pulls up to his office in a red Ferrari, has the office hottie ask him if he wants to go out, makes plans to play golf later in the day while his peers sweat it out at work, gets invited to dinner with the boss and is the all-around BMOC of the office. His secret? Sales leads from salesgenie.com. As ludicrous as the ad was and as cheesy as it all played I have to admit that the Herb Tarlek’s of the world would be vaulting off the couch in a heartbeat if they saw an ad like this. So, for normal people, a really moronic and cheesy ad but for plaid jacketed “how-are-ya?” sales guys, priceless.

Jessica Simpson is currently ringing the bell for Pizza Hut and while her ads are more or less unremarkable I do feel it important to mention how proud I am of her. Unlike other celebrities that do secret commercials in Japan so they can pocket the cash and act all superior back home Jessica (and a few others) actually do ads back home, unafraid of such filthy things as consumer recognition. I think it shows they don’t take themselves too seriously as well as displaying a certain honesty about a very large aspect of their professions, which is selling stuff. And for the record I will shill for McDonald’s anytime they want but only if I get a free “McDonald’s food for a lifetime” card like Regis Philbin has.

Doritos was another brand that ran a contest where normal folks could create an ad for the Super Bowl. The so-called winning ad didn’t really send me but one of the finalists was awesome. In it, a very serious, dark suited man sets up a mousetrap by a tiny mouse hole, loads it with a tiny piece of a Dorito and then sits in an armchair directly in front of it to wait, while holding a large bag of Doritos. Just as he grabs a handful of chips and is about to put them in his mouth a six-foot, 225 lb mouse bursts through the wall and lands on top of him, and begins punching the crap out of him for the rest of the Doritos. Truly, everyone and everything loves Doritos.

All in all it was quite a day for ads. And happily, most of them will be around for some time to come as the various companies desperately try to amortize the multi-million dollar cost of advertising on the Super Bowl in the first place by playing these ads over and over and over again.

Except for Snickers of course, who has to dream up some brilliant method of eliminating the inherent embarrassment that now goes along with picking up a Snickers bar at your local 7-11.

Nice one, guys.

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