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Friday, May 6, 2016

Ross Rambles: The world's biggest competition

Monday, February 13, 2006

(Photo)
Last Sunday I went to some business establishment in some town along Highway 3 between Cherokee and Cleghorn to watch the annual competition to earn the most coveted championship in the world.

The competition was fierce as the nation's most powerful corporations vied to present the best television commercials of the year before 141 million viewers.

Between commercials there was a football game with some western team playing against some eastern team and what appeared to be eastern referees. None of them did very well, especially the referees.

There was also a half-time show by some band which had a 62-year-old singer and a 62-year-old guitarist. This is one of those showy fad bands that won't last.

Aretha Franklin sang the Star Spangled Banner before the game. At 63, she's had better days.

The Super Bowl has had better days for ads as well (besides much better days for games). There were some fairly good ads but none that stand out as among the classics of Super Bowl commercials.

Surveys show that the favorite commercial of Superbowl XL (otherwise known as Superbowl extra large) was Budweiser's "Young Clydesdale", getting 15 percent of the votes as best commercial. FedEx's "Hapless Caveman" placed second at 10 percent, while Bud Light's "Secret Fridge" commercial rounds out the top three at 8 percent.

The "Young Clydesdale" commercial wasn't my personal favorite. It showed a young horse attempting to prove itself by pulling a wagon, with an older horse secretly helping by pushing the wagon from behind. This was a sentimental "feel good" commercial with a touch of humor, a contrast to most of the commercials which went for the big laughs.

That might account for the commercial's top place in the polling. It was the sole choice for those who like sentimentality while those who prefer humor had many ads to choose from. People's preferences were quite varied, with the top three getting only about a third of the total.

The lack of competition for the sentimental vote might also be a factor in the choice of the "Mean Joe Greene" commercial as the top Superbowl commercial of all time. In this commercial, a young boy tells football great Joe Greene how Joe is the boy's favorite player. The boy gives Joe a Coke, then Joe gives the boy his jersey.

Many regard this as a tale of a selfless act of a child being rewarded. I prefer to think of it as a tale of a conniving kid gaining a valuable collector's item for the price of a Coke. Either way, it's kind of heartwarming, but just not funny.

If some company is going to pay $2.5 million to keep my attention for 30 seconds, they better be funny.