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Super Bowl XL Commercials: Better Than the Game

Our picks for best Super Bowl XL spot By Charlie White

Editor's Note: If you'd like to watch these and more Super Bowl XL commercials, visit http://www.ifilm.com/superbowl?htv=12
 
Interspersed between all that football drama in Super Bowl XL were the commercials, and at a record-setting $5 million per minute, this was some pricey television time. Contrasting with last years Super Bowl production, where high-definition commercials were the exception rather than the rule, this year, more than two-thirds of the spots were produced and aired in high definition. It's a good bet that next year nearly all the commercials in Super Bowl XLI will be shown in high definition. Those that were in standard definition looked pretty cheap compared to those adhering to that sharpest and most colorful of formats, full-blown HD.

Another noticeable trend was there were far fewer animals depicted in this high-flying group of commercials this year. In years past, it seemed that nearly every commercial involved some kind of animal or another, but it looks like those expert ad agencies who are in charge of these flights of pricey spots have somehow decided that the animal idea has run its course.

Still, the most heartwarming ad of the entire broadcast involved animals, a spot for Anheuser-Busch entitled ?Clydesdale American Dream. Although Im not a big fan of the menagerie of animals that usually populates the Super Bowl ads, this Anheuser-Busch advertisement that featured a baby Clydesdale horse was particularly heartrending and perfectly executed. Like a miniature motion picture, it told a compelling coming-of-age story about a young Clydesdale who longed to follow his ancestors, pulling that signature Budweiser beer wagon. Determined to pull the wagon all by himself, he places his head in the yolk, straining against it with little result. But then it begins to move. Little did he know that there were two of the older veteran Clydesdales behind the wagon offering considerable help. A farmer sitting nearby utters the satisfying tag line for the spot, ?I wont tell him if you wont, he says to the dog sitting next to him. When we see the logo at the end, we have a good feeling about that company, which makes, uh, beer? Yeah. With warm music playing in the background, the sensitive camera work and expert lighting made this the most skillfully produced mini-drama of the day. 

The advertisement that I thought had the best editing was for the Cadillac Escalade. This 60-second  spot was a veritable clinic of color correction with its steely gray atmosphere. Going along with that was a perfectly ominous-sounding audio track. The surreal spot begins with a runway model who comes up out of a pool of water and then walks on the water. As she sashays down the aisle, the 2007 Cadillac Escalade rises up out of the water as well. The spot's quick cuts and flash frames were expertly arranged, and it was by far the most skillfully edited ad of the day.

Winning our accolades for funniest spot was PepsiCo, for its Sierra Mist soft drink. Poking fun at the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), it depicted a security screener at an airport with a metal detector wand, and when she moved the wand around a passenger, she would make a hilarious noise in a high-pitched voice, acting as if the alarm was sounding when it got near the passengers Sierra Mist. She insisted that the alarm was going off and then proceeded to take away his drink. It was a hilarious idea. Its only weakness was that it wasnt aired in high definition.

The comedy runner-up was a FedEx spot, entitled ?Caveman, where a hapless prehistoric mailroom underling failed in his attempt to send a package -- a stick --  for his boss via some ancient transportation method involving a pterodactyl, and went back to his boss to inform him that the package had not made it to its intended destination. The boss asked if his young charge had used FedEx. The young man replied, ?FedEx hasnt been invented yet, to which the boss answered, ?Thats not my problem. It was perfectly staged and shot, and the makeup and acting were amusing.

To see these and other Super Bowl XL spots, visit http://www.ifilm.com/superbowl?htv=12


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Related Keywords:Super Bowl XL, commercials, $5 million per minute, television time, high definition

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