ABC’s broadcast of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ triumph over the Oakland Raiders turned into a night where car, clothing, beverage and other companies eagerly connected themselves to TV shows, movies and individual celebs — sometimes painfully so.
If proof were still required of Hollywood’s influence on pop culture, the evidence was clear to anyone who watched the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Super Bowl’s star-studded sidelines and tie-ins to entertainment properties may not be a new phenomenon, but there were certainly new faces in the commercial crowd during this year’s pro football championship:
- AT&T Wireless: Still trying to make its “mLife” motto part of consumer’s vocabulary, AT&T spoofed “Gilligan’s Island” and PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” in new spots.
- Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks rolled out first looks at upcoming tentpoles, with trailers for “The Matrix: Reloaded,” “The Matrix: Revolutions,” “Daredevil,” “The Hulk,” “Bad Boys II,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “The Recruit,” “Anger Management” and “Old School.”
- Chrysler: One reason people tune in to Super Bowl commercials is images like Clydesdale horses playing football and now Celine Dion driving a Chrysler. The Canadian singer belts out a tune while driving the new Crossfire sports coupe down a desert highway in one of several new spots from the automaker. Other ads have her looking uncomfortable behind the wheel of a Sebring convertible and inside a Town & Country minivan.
- FedEx: It’s curious why the shipping company didn’t do this before, but FedEx brilliantly parodied Fox’s “Cast Away” with a Tom Hanks look-alike finally delivering the unopened package that he’s been saving while spending years stranded on an island. Inside are a satellite phone, seeds, GPS locater and water purifier.
- H&R Block: Willie Nelson is forced to star in a shaving-cream commercial after his tax preparer delivers the bad news that he’s owes the IRS millions.
- Hanes: Jackie Chan and Michael Jordan team up to introduce the company’s new tagless T-shirts for no apparent reason, other than to stress that they may be the celebs who itch from the tags more than anyone else.
- Pepsi Twist: Becoming yet another brand that’s trying to cash in on the appeal of the Osbournes, Pepsi prominently featured Ozzy watching in horror as his kids transform into the Osmonds. It’s a bad dream that turns worse when Sharon Osbourne becomes “The Brady Bunch’s” Florence Henderson.
- Yahoo’s HotJobs.com: “The Muppet Movie” song “The Rainbow Connection,” originally sung by Kermit the Frog, makes a comeback in an ad for the online job search tool.
Credit must still be given to Arnold Schwarzenegger for remaining one of Hollywood’s biggest pitch men. Yet an attempt to compare the game’s football players to real-life Terminators may have backfired. An interview with Schwarzenegger at the game and pretaped promo connecting the Super Bowl to “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” which aired prior to kickoff, seemed awkward and a forced sell that ended up being ridiculed later that night on Jimmy Kimmel’s latenight talker. In the end, the hubbub stole the spotlight from the pic’s new trailer.