Super Bowl Scores Big, But It Doesn't Ad Up

The gowns from the Busby Berkeley-like Burger King ad had at least one fashion-conscious viewer salivating.
The gowns from the Busby Berkeley-like Burger King ad had at least one fashion-conscious viewer salivating. (Burger King Via Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Inexplicably, almost 91 million viewers watched the nation's biggest advertisers vie for Commercial of the Year on Sunday, with breaks during which the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks pretended to play something loosely called football, and the Rolling Stones sang three songs, which the producer cleaned up for the kiddies.

It's the biggest Super Bowl audience in 10 years. Heck, it's the most-watched program of any kind on all of TV since 94.1 million people watched the Dallas Cowboys beat the Steelers at the Super Bowl in 1996.

It's also 5 percent more people than the approximately 86 million who watched the New England Patriots' exciting win over the Philadelphia Eagles last year, according to earlier stats from Nielsen Media Research.

I know, all this fuss over a game that was such a mess it made Sunday's Puppy Bowl, which aired at the same time on Animal Planet, look like an all-star game.

ABC wants you to know that the 21-10 Super Bowl XL snoozefest had a "reach" of more than 141 million viewers -- the second-biggest total ever for a Super Bowl.

"Reach" clocks people who watched as little as six minutes of the telecast.

In other words: the people who watched for the commercials.

Speaking of which, can we all just agree that Super Bowl ads aren't what they used to be?

Sure, we all loved Budweiser's adorable naked sheep streaker. And, based on yesterday's reax, it appears Pepsi has done much to reunite people in our horribly divided country by making all Americans realize that "brown and bubbly" is a very bad way to pitch a cola drink.

And who didn't feel smarter after figuring out that Eagle-Eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognizing a Little Druid Networking Under the Stairs makes the acronym E-m-e-r-a-l-d- N-u-t-s? And, privately, if not publicly, you have to admit the office chimps make you chuckle because they ring so true.

On a personal note, we have made calls to see if we can get a hamburger-patty gown like the one from Burger King's Busby Berkeleyesque musical ad to wear to the next White House Correspondents' Association dinner.

But, honestly, did any single ad make you sit up and take notice, as did the mother of all Super Bowl ads, Apple's unsettling, Ridley Scott-directed "1984," in which the blond athletic chick, hotly pursued by guys in riot gear, throws a sledgehammer at the Big Talking Head on the giant screen, freeing the Gray Brainwashed People?

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