Commercials are just as fun

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 24, 2003

It's going to be a great game.

Then, there's the commercials.

It's a time that tries men's bladders, as watching these spots has become sort of an annual rite in itself.

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Many are comical, but some have more serious messages that make us pause and reflect on current events. That was the case last year with a Budweiser ad, in which the legendary Clydesdales tromped along the banks of the East River before pausing and bowing to the New York skyline and Ground Zero.

Of course, this was the same company that debuted its "Satin Sheets" commercial, in which the husband gleefully runs up the stairs, but ends up crashing through the couple's bedroom window after sliding across the bed.

Thanks to the folks at, we're able to get a glimpse into what this year's fare of advertising offers.

At a glance, I'm leaning toward Pepsi and H&R Block to come up with the winners. I won't give everything away, but here's a bit of insight.

H&R Block, a well-known tax preparer, features Willie Nelson, a well-known tax evader.

Pepsi has foul-mouthed Ozzy Osbourne, who's act has grown tiresome. But when you throw in Florence Henderson to the mix, it makes for an interesting spot.

Of course, there's the dozen or so obligatory ads for movies that will be coming out this summer. Sequels are dominating the scene, with "Terminator 3" and "Matrix: Reloaded" as the highlights.

But taking a look in the commercial history of the game, here's a quick look at some that, according to, have been favorites -- or flops.

1979: In what some consider to be one of the more popular of all Super Bowl commercials, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mean Joe Greene limps off the field in a dirt-stained uniform, only to be met by a smiling boy and a bottle of Coca-Cola.

How popular did the ad end up being? NBC decided to do a made-for-TV movie two years later called "The Steeler and the Pittsburgh kid."

1986: Burger King rolled out $40 million for their Herb the Nerd campaign, which was supposed to follow a guy who had never been in a fast food restaurant. The ad failed miserably.

1987: This would be the beginning of Budweiser's stranglehold on making sure it had the most popular -- and remembered -- Super Bowl commercial each year. Of course, you had the Bud Bowl, but this was the year for Spuds Mackenzie, the 47-pound white English bull terrier, who always seemed to have a bimbo or two near his paws.

1997: The Budweiser frogs, which spun off into …

1998: Louie the Lizard and his sidekick, Frank. The beer company's latest pitchmen tried in vain to do away with a lizard.

2001: Wazzzzup!!!!? Enough said.

What will happen this year? With all the computer and animated graphics, plus the big money that now is put into such advertising, the sky's the limit.

Dogs, lizards and ferrets can contribute to Super Bowl commercial glory.

What's next? A baboon?

Dan Fields can be reached at 434-2230 or by e-mail at