Ads Were Not So Super

Nice tries but no touchdowns as advertisers stick to the familiar
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2009 6:11 AM CST

(Newser) – Given the $3 million, 30-second opportunity to speak to the biggest audience of the year, advertisers reached deep into their bag of tricks last night and pulled out the same old formulas, Stuart Elliot writes in the New York Times. Slapstick, celebrities, sex, nostalgia, and plenty of animals filled the field but few sponsors dared to do anything different, Elliot notes, "as if bonuses were being awarded on Madison Avenue for the least creative briefs."

The economy and the national mood may have led advertisers like Bud Light, Coke Zero, Doritos, and Pepsi Max to go with broad physical comedy rather than try anything more adventurous, Elliot writes. Themes of thrift and altruism dominated ads from the likes of Denny's and Frosted Flakes, but the most telling sign of the times may have been Cash4Gold's spot featuring cash-strapped Ed McMahon and MC Hammer selling off their worldly goods.