Game day is almost here - ads and all

| 2/3/2006

Do you watch the Super Bowl for the game or for the ads? That question seems to pop up every year, especially when the hype about those ads rival what’s happening as the teams prepare for the big contest.

And then there’s the pregame show.

Analysts say Super Bowl Sunday is the second-biggest food consumption day, after Thanksgiving. Thus, it’s not surprising that Coca-Cola owns the pregame show. One of the company’s ads has produced a lot of buzz in the trucking community. The ad shows a big rig hauling a huge can of “Full Throttle” energy drink down a residential street, attracting a following of men on all sorts of vehicles, from bicycles to monster trucks to Harleys.

Not to be outdone, Pepsi is advertising during the game, as is the perennial top dog, or top horse, Budweiser with its Clydesdales. Emerald Nuts advertised for the first time in the Super Bowl in 2005, and saw sales double, thus, they’re back for more this year. Pizza Hut drivers will be hustling the product on Sunday, as the chain has ads featuring Jessica Simpson and Miss Piggy in matching outfits.

General Motors will be pushing the 2007 Cadillac Escalade SUV, while Ford calls on the green Kermit to be its “spokes frog” for the Ford Escape Hybrid. Toyota will also go green, advertising its 2007 Camry Hybrid. The Toyota ad is a bilingual spot. And according to Toyota, “By combining both English and Spanish, the ad concept leverages the hybrid nature of blending languages and culture while preserving a unique identity.”

GoDaddy, which had its controversial ads with scantily-clad women rejected by the TV networks in 2005, tries again with the same theme, but a different angle.

McDonald’s and Visa are spending their ads dollars on the Winter Olympics, so filling the gap are MasterCard and Burger King.

Dove soap, recognizing that women are tuned in, too, will use its “Campaign for Real Beauty” with “average” women talking about the product.

A contender for the unusual pitchman award is Aleve for hiring Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. Not to be ignored is the attempt by Nationwide Insurance in its quest to see whether anyone remembers Fabio.

– By Mike Throop, staff writer