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SUPER HYPE: The game may have been a bust for some gridiron fans, and many of the ads may have failed to generate the day-after water-cooler talk of years past, but the pregame advertising hype didn't fail for Super Bowl XXXIII.

Super Bowl advertising easily won as the top marketing story covered by the SPINdex sample of influential media outlets during the one-month period leading up to this column. In fact, the Big Ad Game scored nearly twice as many editorial impressions as the next biggest marketing story of the month: marketing implications of the festering Olympics scandal.

But it was individual Super Bowl ad initiatives that took third and fourth place honors this month, including Anheuser-Busch's menagerie of reptiles and amphibians, and Apple Computer's rendition of the HAL computer from "2001: A Space Odyssey." No other Super Bowl campaign generated enough media awareness to make it into this month's top five, but late-breaking news about Victoria Secret's Super Bowl ad did rank seventh with a SPINdex score of 120.

Religious values apparently ranked higher than prurient interests among the media elite, who devoted more coverage to the marketing implications surrounding Pope John Paul II's visit to the U.S., giving the papal visit a fifth place rank in this month's column. Just missing out with a sixth place finish was news

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