Eighty-five thousand dollars per second. That’s the price each advertiser paid to cram their 30-second commercial into this year’s Super Bowl broadcast. (To put it in perspective, that’s also how much Jessica Alba charges to let you touch her feet.) Eighty-five thousand dollars per second. That’s a lot of moolah. Yet the question remains: Was it worth it? And perhaps even more importantly, how much of that goes to Kevin Federline?
While there are certainly those who love the pomp, pageantry and man-on-man tushy slapping of the Super Bowl, there are others — such as myself — who ONLY watch it for the commercials. Advertising is an art form in and of itself; they are mini-films designed to move the audience, incite thought, and hopefully, encourage them to buy a Steak Chalupa or two. But in these days of cutthroat competition, it’s simply not enough to tout the superiority of your product. Advertisers need artistry, sidesplitting humor, and — if they really want to seal the deal — a washed-up celebrity.
When push comes to shove, in the crowded world of Super Bowl commercials, only former heavy hitters like Jay-Z, Robert Goulet, and yes, Kevin Federline can really make people sit up and take notice. Here’s our list of the top ten Super Bowl commercials of 2007 — and how a washed-up celebrity could have made each of them a little bit better!
10: Revlon: “To dye for.” Now, I don’t want to tell Revlon how to do their job … but A HAIR COLOR COMMERCIAL DURING THE SUPER BOWL? They would’ve been better off handing over all their money to a monkey with a blowtorch. In this documentary-style production, once-popular singer Sheryl Crow hits the road, giving her hair a different Revlon shade on every leg of her concert tour—much to the eye-rolling chagrin of her personal male hair stylist! Oh, Puh-LEEZE!
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: If Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy had played the hairdresser. No one can do “appalled” like he does.
9: Bud Light: “Hitchhiking Serial Killer.” A man and his wife are traveling down a deserted road when they see a creepy hitchhiker carrying an axe — and a case of Bud Light. Naturally, the wife is horrified because he has an axe, and the guy wants to pick him up because he has beer … and therein lies the joke. The husband’s alcoholism has reached such an acute stage, he will happily sacrifice the lives of himself and his wife in order to knock back a couple of watery brews.
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: O.J. Simpson as the guy with the axe. (Okay, maybe there’s a good reason I don’t make a living writing commercials.)
8: Budweiser: “How Jay-Z Plays Football.” I’m not exactly sure, but I believe this commercial takes place in the far-flung future where wealthy washed-up rapper Jay-Z plays a holographic football game with some old guy who I can only assume is a former Super Bowl coach (proving I really do only watch the Super Bowl for the ads).
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: Look, I know Jay-Z no longer drinks Cristal—but really, “the king of beers”? Budweiser should’ve saved their money and hired that obese guy from The King of Queens.
7: General Motors: “Robot Suicide.” I really like this commercial. A GM factory assembly line robot makes a mistake and is sent packing. After trying a number of jobs (including being the speaker box for a fast food drive-thru), he decides to end it all by jumping off a bridge — but surprise! It was just a dream, reminding the insecure little ‘bot he’d better start focusing on quality control.
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: Steve Guttenberg as the line foreman! Get it?! Because he was in that robot movie, Short Circuit? And… and… ahhhh… never mind.
6: Sierra Mist Free: “Beard Comb-over.” A boss informs his employee that his manner of dress makes it hard for others to concentrate on their work. The employee is livid even though he wears super short cut off jeans, roller skates, and a “comb-over beard.”
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: Donald Trump—and he wouldn’t even have to grow a beard!
5: Garmin: “Ultraman vs. the Roadmap Monster.” In this highly stylized and funny takeoff of Japanese robot/monster flicks, an Ultraman-style giant fights a monster that looks like a walking roadmap, while a heavy metal band blares in the background. It’s great, and I have no idea what they’re selling.
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: Forget the washed up celebrity. JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU’RE SELLING!
4: Emerald Nuts: “Robert Goulet Messes with Your Stuff.” According to the narrator, at roughly 3:30 p.m. every day — right when you start to lose energy — Las Vegas legend Robert Goulet sneaks into your office and starts “messing with your stuff.” He’ll throw around your papers, bind you to your chair with tape, and pour coffee on your keyboard. Happily, if you eat Emerald Nuts it scares him off.
I love this commercial SO MUCH.
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: No one except Kevin Federline.
3: Flomax: “Can We Pull Over? I Have to Pee.” Oh, fine. Uncontrollable male urination is a serious problem—but that doesn’t make it any less funny! Flomax is a prescription medication designed to alleviate this unintentionally hilarious malady which exhibits symptoms such as “waking up to urinate,” “weak stream,” and the always uncomfortable “straining.” Unfortunately, while Flomax may go a long way in pinching off this problem, it also may incur even funnier side effects, such as “runny nose,” fainting,” and an embarrassing “decrease in semen.”
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: Bob Dole, porn star Ron Jeremy, the guy who played “Urkel”… take your pick.
2: Snickers: “Dude… I Think We Kissed.” Two garage mechanics excitedly share a single Snickers bar (a’la Lady and the Tramp sucking a single strand of spaghetti), and their lips lock. After being thrown into a homophobic panic, they quickly decide to “do something manly” and rip out their chest hair. (Did anyone inform them that bare chests are gayer than Gaylord McGayerson, the grand marshal of Gay Town’s gay pride parade?)
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: I love it when homophobia is parodied during the Super Bowl, so the only way this could’ve been improved is if the two mechanics were played by Lance Bass and Ellen DeGeneres.
1: Nationwide Investments: “Federline! I Need Those Fries!” Britney’s freeloading ex-hubby Kevin Federline stars in the “washed-up celeb commercial” of the year! What appears to be a bumpin’ rap video of K-Fed surrounded by foxy ladies and money, turns out to be a wishful daydream — because when he wakes up, Kevin’s employed at a fast food joint and his manager is screaming at him to hurry up with the fries. See, its funny — because in about three days, it will be true.
Washed-up celebrity that would have made this better: This commercial is a perfect marriage of washed-up celebrity and advertisement. Improvement could only be attained if Vanilla Ice were the guy playing the manager. (And I’ll bet he doesn’t charge $85,000 per second!)
Wm. Steven Humphrey writes the "I (Heart) TV column for The Stranger in Seattle.