Review

It's an Ad, Ad, Ad, Ad World

Super Bowl

While the Patriots and the Panthers were evenly matched at the Super Bowl, the ads...not so much. Now for some Monday-morning quarterbacking about the best and worst spots.

BEST

FEDEX Two officemates are understandably suspicious of their coworker Jenkins, who's clearly an alien with a white-collar-guy mask. This dryly comic gag makes you look forward to Sigourney Weaver in Alien 5: Shipping and Receiving.

H&R BLOCK Willie Nelson uses a talking-doll replica of himself to make light of his tax-dodging antics, while Don Zimmer pokes fun at his rhino charge at Pedro Martinez. (''Willie, should I give this kid a shellackin'?'')

CHEVROLET Seeing kids sucking on soap after witnessing the profanity-inducing power of the new SSR was a retro kick. It also foreshadowed America's reaction to Janet Jackson's half-time flash: Holy s -- -, indeed.

MONSTER Even in the middle of a Super Bowl party, the artful montage of people happily prepping for work (scored to Blue Man Group's version of ''I Feel Love'') got us excited for Monday.

TRUTH In a mock ad for ''Shards o' Glass Freeze Pops,'' Truth provides yet another pointed, incisive jab at the tobacco industry...though we're still confused: What makes an ''issue'' ad? MoveOn.org's anti-Bush spot was deemed unairable by CBS, but the cigarettes-are-bad spot is okay. Get Truth on that one!

WORST

PEPSI What's less rock & roll than the soda giant's jokey assertion that Pepsi swayed a young Jimi Hendrix from accordion to guitar? If Hendrix's estate continues to sell his music to foolish ads like this, it should at least make sure it scores a spot for something the guitarist would actually use...like a spin-proof grave.

PIZZA HUT Who doesn't love the Muppets? Well, in this case -- when our favorite characters are relegated to playing shrill sidekicks to Jessica Simpson -- we don't.

GILLETTE In a comically overstated pastiche of Muhammad Ali footage, black-and-white glamour shots of freshly shaved models, and a breathless voice-over saying ''It's like having an angel by your side,'' the razor company shows us what would happen if a cologne ad mated with a PSA for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

EXPEDIA.COM Here, a travel shopper has a bizarre, upsetting fantasy about being body-painted by clowns; this spot may do for Cirque du Soleil what Bad Santa did for department-store St. Nicks. Unfortunately, it may also do the same for Expedia.

CHARMIN ULTRA A quarterback lovingly strokes the toilet paper hanging out of his center's pants, and then a coach chases a guy in a bear suit. This commercial is what you'd get if you let Mr. Whipple direct fetish videos.

Originally posted Feb 13, 2004 Published in issue #751 Feb 13, 2004 Order article reprints
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