Despite a terrible economic climate and through-the-ceiling prices for Super Bowl commercials – most spots were sold for around $3 million – NBC still scored by taking in a reported $206 million in advertising for commercials during the game, a record. It also brought in $261 million, also a record, for the full day including the pre- and postgame shows.
And, of course, these spots weren’t without a few egregious missteps and surprising touchdowns. From the intriguing sight of Bob Dylan and will.i.am performing a song for Pepsi to the cringe inducing image of MC Hammer and Ed McMahon talking about selling off gold plated items, including a toilet bowl, this year’s game used music in ways that were both memorable for being inventive and tacky.
Among the hits? Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Wither’s classic, “Just The Two Of Us” propelled Taco Bell, Ashford and Simpson’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was a bright spot for Budweiser, NBC had the stars of “Medium,” “Heroes,” and “Chuck” miming Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and an E-Trade baby sang Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings.”
Pepsi also scored with the teaming of Dylan and will.i.am in a spot that mixed footage of Dylan in the sixties with the Black Eyed Peas frontman performing, to link generations on a version of Dylan’s “Forever Young.” In related news, the singer’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” has been tapped by U.K. mass merchant the Co-operative Group to use for a new advertising campaign to be aired next month.
There were some misses as well. Despite hints from Pepsi Co., Lil’ Wayne ultimately wasn’t used in Gatorade’s spot. This after he narrated the viral sensation that lead up to the Super Bowl.
And no matter how firmly cash4gold.com’s tongue was planted in its cheek, the sight of rapper MC Hammer and former talk show personality Ed McMahon, two men who are no strangers to money difficulties, shilling for the company was low rent and in poor taste, especially in this economic climate.
Yo Yo Ma lost out when, at the last minute, Hyundai swapped out the famed cellist’s spot in favor of one that featured a new Smashing Pumpkins song, “FOL.” Users also missed out when the car maker’s site, which was allowing fans to edit their own version of the song, were greeted by technical difficulties for much of the game.
To see a full offering of spots from Super Bowl XLIII, visit our sister site Adweek.com.