Many big ads in the big game were salacious or juvenile – or both.
Super Bowl XLIII was difficult to watch with children. Instead of being an opportunity to teach about discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship, the subject all-to-often was sex. At least nine of the big game’s bigger commercials used sex to help sell products. Barely covered breasts were heaving, racecar driver Danika Patrick was showering while by being leered at by young men and women either took their clothes off or had them blasted off.
Family viewing this wasn’t.
The Super Bowl advertising spectacle is arguably almost as important a tradition as the game itself. The idea, of course, is that because the firms are paying a fortune for air time, advertisers will pull out the stops to produce memorable (and hopefully funny) commercials. This year, the first half of the formula worked well. NBC reportedly sold out, at a record $3 million per 30 seconds. Some advertisers did manage to field clever, funny, innovative and otherwise effective spots. But many fumbled their opportunity. Whether it was far too suggestive sexual content or just juvenile slapstick, the finest minds in advertising went right for the lowest common denominator.
Banned from the Broadcast
Before we get to the ads that America saw on Super Bowl Sunday, a word about two it didn’t. NBC refused to accept two commercials for the broadcast. In the first instance, it deserves kudos for the refusal.
Had it run, “Veggie Love” from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would unquestionably have been the least appropriate Super Bowl ad of the year – perhaps ever. The hyper-sexual spot from PETA features women in negligees who apparently find vegetables quite a turn-on. NBC said the ad didn’t meet its standards.
Despite what media members and government officials claim to be the worst economy since the Great Depression, NBC completely sold out -- at a record high price no less!!! -- its full complement of ads for Sunday's Super Bowl.
If the economy was really as bad as we're constantly hearing, given this somewhat low marquee matchup -- this isn't the Giants vs. the Patriots or the Cowboys vs. the Steelers -- wouldn't NBC have needed to reduce its fees to entice supposedly cash-strapped sponsors?
The Super Bowl is - or should be - typically a family-friendly event: an annual occasion in which dad, mom, and the kids gather around their television set to see the top two NFL teams battle it out, enjoy an entertaining half-time show, and laugh at the ridiculous commercials. But as of late, the Super Bowl entertainment has been controversial, and this year is no exception.
Two naked women in a shower or a woman exposing her "enhanced" chest in front of the Congress? You choose!
That's right. This year, godaddy.com has asked people to vote on their website for which revealing ad of Indy racer Danica Patrick they would like aired on Super Bowl Sunday.
After the 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" controversy affectionately now known as "Nipplegate," many wonder why NBC would air such a commercial. But NBC apparently has some standards, as it has recently rejected the animal rights group PETA's sexy vegetable ad. An NBC spokesperson told the Washington Post that "the ad was rejected because it did not conform with our standards."
The good folks at NBC, clearly wanting to avoid a "Nipplegate" replay, will not air animal rights group PETA's hyper-sexual television ad during Sunday's Super Bowl.
When you see it, you'll know why.
For those that have forgotten, on February 1, 2004, during the halftime festivities of Super Bowl XXXVIII, singer Janet Jackson had a "wardrobe malfunction" revealing her naked breast to a startled nation.
Five years later, according to PETA, NBC found its commercial, "which features a comely crop of models demonstrating their fondness for fresh produce," a tad too provocative (sexually explicit language warning):
CBSSports.com columnist Gregg Doyel has had it with all the hero worship, the idolatry, the 'canonization' of the guy:
This one's going to hurt. It's going to hurt you, and it's going to hurt me..... It's directed at those who would beatify the man.... Because he's just a man.
No, he's not referring to President-elect Obama but rather Tim Tebow, the University of Florida quarterback who led the Gators to a national championship on January 8. Yet in his January 13 column, Doyel went from waging a legitimate complaint about excessive hero worship to hashing out liberal talking points regarding the open practice of faith by Christian athletes (emphasis mine, h/t NewsBusters commenter Blonde):
Playoff weekend began with what would have to be described as surprises Saturday with both away underdogs winning. Sadly, in the first game, much like in last weekend's games, the refs played a huge part.
Hey, zebras: when the play clock is at zero, and the ball hasn't been snapped, that's delay of game. Probably the easiest call you have to make all day. Sheesh.
Before we get to today's games, how 'bout them Utes? Does last night's stunning and decisive victory of 'Bama by Utah make it clear to even the staunchest supporters of the BCS that this system doesn't work, and only a playoff can really determine who the top team in the nation is? (BTW: we knew the Utes had an offense, but did anyone think they could hold the Tide to 17 points?)
It wasn’t merely a poorly-chosen headline stating, “Two top players depart Cuba in a bid to play in US." The whitewash was mirrored in the December 29 article, and the bias wasn’t confined to careful language manipulation. AFP also minimized the escape by framing it as a simple desire to get rich quick in America with a fat Major League Baseball contract. There was no mention of the harsh realities of Cuban life or the possibility that maybe they also wanted more than six ounces of chicken or ten eggs a month to eat (all emphasis mine, image of Yadel Marti via AFP):
Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website. (…) Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the 30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a draft like US collegians.
Let's begin with tonight's Ravens at 'Boys game. This appears to be a must-win for both teams' hopes of getting in the playoffs, making it almost a playoff game itself, yes?
While we're there, why only one game today? Wouldn't you have loved to have three games on the schedule?
Moving to college, do any of the early bowl games interest you? How did the number 9 and 11 teams in the country end up playing in the POINSETTIA BOWL? And who came up with the idea of having only five bowl games on New Years Day, three the next day, and one each of the following three days? Isn't this getting a bit nutty, or do you like it?
Anything else on your mind this last Saturday before Christmas?
What I find astounding is that the Gators are 10-point favorites. My amazement has nothing to do with the talent of either team. It's just hard to believe that on a neutral field the #1 team in the country is a 10-point underdog. Anybody else feeling my astonishment, or is this more a function of the Tide having an easier schedule this year, and they're overrated?
While the vast majority of political reporters have dropped off the snotty comments about the McCain-Palin ticket and their campaign messaging, that’s not true of the football writers at the Washington Post. In the chatty wrap-up of the NFL scores appropriately called "The Slant," Post sports writer Desmond Bieler could be called for unnecessary roughness on Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. In Monday’s paper, he came up in summarizing the St. Louis Rams being thumped by the 49ers:
Remember when the Rams shook off their awful start and actually played pretty well for a few weeks? Well, they’re back to being about as relevant to the national conversation as Joe the Plumber. Over its past three weeks, St. Louis has been outscored in the first half by a total of 99-10. We haven’t seen lopsided figures like this since the numbers started rolling in on election night! Sorry, Joe.
I’m not sure anyone saw 90-10 numbers in the presidential race on election night, unless you count returns from D.C. (where it was 93 percent to 6.5 percent, actually.) This is not the first time that Bieler has worked Joe the Plumber slams into his football slant. From October 20, the awful NFL team to mock was the Bengals: