Super Bowl commercials lukewarm in appeal

Most people watching Super Bowl XLIII had high expectations for a night of outstanding athletics, entertainment - especially with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band performing - and hilarious commercials.

Despite the economic crisis, a 30-second ad in this year's Super Bowl still sold for $3 million, up from last year's $2.7 million. Not all companies - even those that regularly showed commercials in previous years - could afford this advertising. Companies like FedEx and some American car manufacturers, such as Ford and General Motors, were noticeably absent.

Unfortunately, few commercials left audiences with as much to talk about as the exciting outcome of the actual football game. The Budweiser Clydesdales were back in full force this year, with three moderately entertaining commercials featuring the familiar horses playing fetch, racing across country for a date, and arriving in America three generations previous.

E*Trade provided a playmate for its stock-trading baby, adding a few laughs, while once again tried to sell its highly sexualized yet seriously misguided commercials.

Pepsi Max went for physical humor, showing how "men can take anything," from being electrocuted to having a bowling ball dropped on their heads. may take the prize for the funniest ad of the night, portraying all the reasons people should look for a new job and climaxing with the line, "If you daydream of punching small animals, it's probably time."

Conan O'Brien managed to recruit Adam Sandler, Martha Stewart, Tina Fey and Megan Mullally in one star-struck advertisement for his late night show.

Movie trailers, including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost, also occupied a lot of air time. won for the tackiest commercial this year, in which M.C. Hammer and Ed McMahon (both of whom have been hit hard financially) joyfully sold their gold golf clubs, records and other material items for cash. Some may have seen it as an almost insensitive take on tough economic times.

Gimmicks intended to draw the audience's attention to the commercials more often than not outweighed actual entertainment value.

The first 3D commercials were aired in the form of a trailer for DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens and a SoBe commercial showcasing the SoBe lizards, who haven't improved much since last year's "Thriller" advertisement.

Viewers who did not rush out to get their 3D glasses for that minute and a half of broadcasting obviously missed the excitement of the two commercials (as well as Monday night's episode of "Chuck," also in 3D for the occasion).

Many viewers may have also missed the "1-second commercial" - a Miller ad wedged between local commercials in an attempt to hold viewers' attention while they watched for it.

Though the millions who tuned in just for the commercials were likely disappointed, at least Sunday's feature event - the game - provided ample nail-biting entertainment for those watching.