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Super Bowl ad bonanza entertains fans

As well as the spectacular game NFL fans hoped for, viewers got to experience everything from the humorous to the romantic in the annual bonanza that is the Super Bowl commercials blitz

Betty White playing football, babies talking “milkaholics” and a not-so-conventional love story made this year’s attempts an interesting batch.

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Advertisers pay dearly for the airtime – from US$2.5 million to more than US$3 million per 30 seconds – and marketers say ads work best when they focus on the product, as well as entertaining.

A first Super Bowl ad by Google – which rarely advertises on television – told the story of a budding relationship through a series of Google searches, beginning with “study abroad” and “how to impress a French woman” and ending with “churches in Paris” and “how to assemble a crib.”

To view the ads and vote for your favourite, log on to the official YouTube page.

One spot had a would-be samurai donning a suit made of Doritos and using the well-thrown chip as a weapon.

Another commercial that didn’t use a gag but still hit the right note with viewers was a Coca-Cola spot about the financial meltdown of C. Montgomery Burns, the conniving billionaire from “The Simpsons” TV series.

Not every commercial was strictly humorous. Automaker Toyota aired several ads before and after the game to reassure worried owners after its recalls connected with accelerator problems.

Conservative Christian group Focus on the Family created perhaps the most-discussed ad leading up to the game, featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother talking about her difficult pregnancy with him – implying an anti-abortion message.

In usual Super Bowl fashion, the commercials featured a parade of celebrities; Notable sightings include Charles Barkley rapping for Taco Bell and Abe Vigoda playing football for Mars’ Snickers, and Beyonce popping up for a TV network.

Viewers were also surprised during a Super Bowl ad featuring Jay Leno sitting side-by-side with David Letterman in a promo for CBS’ Late Show.

Appearing with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Letterman laments how bad the party is, with Leno retorting “he’s just saying that because I’m here.”