Super Bowl

Loser Can Be Winner, At Least in Super Bowl Ads

Dan Quayle and Chevy Chase Prove It

By Published on .

What a difference a year makes. Seems like yesterday a ravaged Los Angeles was picking up the pieces, the Dallas Cowboys were thrashing the Buffalo Bills and a multimedia spectacle focused on Michael Jackson putting his hands where they don't belong.

Wait, that was yesterday-unless possibly the 1994 Super Bowl ended in an upset, which, at this writing, seems unlikely unless Troy Aikman got a weekend visit from the Friends of Jeff Gillooly.

Anyway, this particular Super Sunday-a.k.a., the Joe Pytka/ BBDO Bowl-may be remembered not for its triumphant winner, but rather for certain extremely sporting losers.

The vanquished vice president selling potatoe chips? Yep, Dan "Betcha Can't Spell Just One" Quayle made his salty-snacks-ad debut. And, in much the same vein, talk show failure Chevy Chase graciously ate Doritos and crow. Even the insufferable Charles Barkley allowed himself to be the simpering, pathetic odd man out in a spot for McDonald's.

Just goes to show, winning isn't everything. (Note to Marv Levy: clip and save).

Doritos Tortilla Thins. A reshoot of Chevy Chase's "Steam roller" spot is interrupted by network weasels who tell him his show is can celed. On top of that, he loses his pil fered bag of chips. "Tough year," he says, winningly acknowledging his talkshow humiliation. Brave. Sporting. Cute. Also diverting, especially (sigh) from brand benefits, which are not discussed. Joe Pytka directs for Frito-Lay, via BBDO Worldwide, New York. 21/2 stars.

Nike. Steve Martin, as a pulp documentarian, tries to prove Michael Jordan has faked his retirement. In two clever, funny 60-second spots, Jordan is sighted playing semipro in various hilarious disguises-culminating in his apparent return to the Bulls under an assumed name. Nike refused to preview the Pytka-directed spots, but we heard them by phone, and they sure sounded like the 3- to 31/2-star range. Pytka and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

Goodyear Eagle Aquatred. To promote its anti-hydroplaning performance tires, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. again tows water-skiers behind .*.*. cars, which maneuver through inches of water. Despite a busy, lackluster execution, the demonstration is probably the most potent selling message of the evening. J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit. 3 stars.

Wavy Lay's. A little kid keeps betting "you can't eat just one" and systematically improves his seat at the big game. Among his suckers: ex-VP Quayle. What is it with PepsiCo. and the vice presidency? Look, I know Geraldine Ferraro. Geraldine Ferraro was a source of mine, and, Mr. Vice President, you're no Geraldine Ferraro. Her Pepsi ad was about fe male empower ment. Yours is about surrender of dignity. However, it is a very amusing, charming, deftly produced, brand-specific and much- to-be-talked-about surrender of dig nity. Also, Dan's performance is primo. BBDO. 31/2 stars.

McDonald's Corp. The delightful con tinuation of the trick-shot duel be tween Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, this time with Charles Barkley nagging to get in the game. Like last year, the showdown is filled with comic surprises, such as a hilarious throw-away about Michael's face on Mount Rushmore. Alas, like last year, the product, Big Mac, is incidental. Pytka. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago. 3 stars.

Plymouth/Dodge Neon. Chrysler Corp. unveils its vaunted new economy model with TV advertising's 9.3 millionth takeoff of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." The retreaded idea is at least honored by the Space Age copy points, and big kudos for declaring a price range ("$8,975 for starters, $12,500 loaded"). But when we finally see the car, the only view is a dead-on front angle, making it resemble a . . . Pacer? Let us hope not. BBDO, Southfield, Mich. 21/2 stars.

Alamo Rent A Car. At 90 seconds, this Pytka megaspot is the first-ever $2.7 million TV commercial-not counting $1 million or so for production. Just to put that in perspective, for the samemoney, Alamo could have bought three prime-time 30-second spots on the Discovery Channel every night for a year, picked up Jim Kelly's 1994 salary or paid to kneecap Nancy Kerrigan 410 times. The fanciful story of a family touring all 4 million miles of American roads is clever, intermittently funny and true to Alamo's theme of unlimited free miles. But the payoff is meager. Remember the Alamo? Particularly after Dan Quayle's star turn, few will. Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco. 21/2 stars.

Pepsi. Cindy Crawford, in a "Pepsi Deprivation Tank," turns into Rodney Dangerfield. Ha ha ha. 2 stars. A spot with Shaquille O'Neal and a cute kid is a year old but no less of a delight. 31/2 stars. "Summer of Love" shows well-heeled yuppies returning 25 years later to Woodstock. "Okayyy," we hear on a background P.A. "Stay awayyyy from the green pesto sauce. It is a real bummerrr." Hilarious-although onlooking preteens are appalled by the choice of the old generation. All Pytka and BBDO, New York. 31/2 stars.

Federal Express Corp. Linda Hunt narrates this evocative fable about a "golden package" so pre-cious as to demand the utmost care and attention. But the golden parcel is anonymous, so every package is treated specially-a notion both true and ridiculous. Sorry, the mythologizing of overnight delivery is a bit much. BBDO. 2 stars.

Reebok International. To see Shaquille O'Neal perform a rap paean to the slam dunk is to realize that Perry Como, the guy ain't. But as mindless glorification of in-your-face hoops goes, this hiphop swan song from Chiat/Day has a refreshing, percussive simplicity. Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif. 3 stars.

Converse. The Charlotte Hornets' Larry "Grandmama" Johnson, in drag, and a cast of midgets mumble their way through an elaborate "Wizard of Oz" parody to promote BackJam basketball shoes for the denizens of the low post. Not to say low post production. This is the rare spot that prospers on its frantic optical effects in spite of barely comprehensible audio. Houston, Effler & Partners, Boston. 3 stars.

Norwegian Cruise Lines. Pretentious. Overwrought. Yuppoid. Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein, San Francisco. 11/2 stars.

American Isuzu Motors. Typically arch and knowing guys 'n' 4-by-4s spots. Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein. 3 stars.

Visa USA. An amusing departure from the gravity of "They don't take American Express." BBDO. 21/2 stars.

Master Lock Co. The annual riveting and persuasive demonstration of gunshot-proof padlocks, plus intercut action elements for added tension and drama. Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee. 3 stars.

7UP. The animated "Spot" campaign redux from Seven-Up Co., with a live action component and cute narrative twists. Leo Burnett USA. 21/2 stars.

Lipton Original. "Kung Fu" sendup with a Three Stooges punch line, and a reprise of Bo Jackson scampering down steps to chug bottled iced tea. JWT, New York. 21/2 stars.

Bud Bowl VI. Who cares?

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