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2003 Super Bowl ads were lackluster

The Super Bowl, for some, has always been about the commercials. The game was just a bonus.

Of the 61 national spots that aired during Sunday’s game, only a few were at all memorable. The rest of the ads were typical Madison Avenue and that have already been forgotten by everyone except for ABC’s accountants, who raked in an average of $2.2 million for each 30-second commercial.

But this year left non-football fans longing for the days of talking frogs and lizards — ads that were simplistic, creative and funny.

The best ad is a Pepsi Twist spot in which rock star Ozzy Osbourne’s kids morph into the horrifyingly-wholesome Donny and Marie Osmond. Anyone who saw it Sunday couldn’t help but desperately want to join in on Ozzy’s terrified depths-of-hell scream.

The ad’s use of fading stars was a bit too reminiscent of an Old Navy commercial for me.

The Reebok spot featured linebacker Terry Tate helping fictional company Fletcher & Sons improve the company’s performance by tackling and yelling like a drill sergeant at the employees.

There is just something undeniably funny in seeing office workers tackled. I’m still not completely sure what it had to do with Reebok, but its funny just the same.

FedEx used a humorous of parody of Cast Away. The Tom Hanks look-a-like arrives at the woman’s home to deliver a package after returning to society. He gives the woman the package and asks what is in it. He finds out it contained a satellite phone, GPS locator, fishing rod, water purifier and seeds — everything he could’ve possibly needed while stuck on the island. Its clear that FedEx is still riding on the movies success.

The honor for the most memorable commercial of the night is a tie, between Bud Light and Dodge Ram.

The brewer won over the television audience with an upside-down clown drinking Bud Light through his rearend.

He gave new meaning to the term “bottoms up” in a commercial that was crude and laugh-out-loud funny at the same time.

Dodge produced an ad around a passenger throwing up a piece of half-digested meat on the windshield of a pick-up.

Whether you thought the ad was offensive, it was definitely a TiVo moment, the one you wanted to replay again and again.

The night was overrun with ads that were complete disappointments. Jackie Chan and Michael Jordan promoting Hanes’ new tagless shirt can be described as pointless at best.

Perhaps the worst spots of the night were those from ABC, from the lame to the downright bizarre. Was it necessary to hire Arnold Schwarzenegger to do a Terminator-themed ad plugging the Super Bowl itself that aired just 20 minutes before kickoff? I would guess ABC wanted to make sure that the cyborg-18-to-34 demographic was nailed down.

Contact Pablo Saldana at