Ad Track: Pepsi hopes Earnhardt drives laps around A-B

One lucky queen will get a new throne this spring — a bathroom throne that is. To woo the gender that most frequently makes plumbing service calls, Roto-Rooter is launching a "Pimped Out Powder Room" sweepstakes. From Jan. 22 to April 1, visitors to can register for a chance to win a remodeled bathroom worth $5,000 that comes with a new toilet, pedicure footbath, heated towel rack, flat-screen TV and DVD player. The winner will be crowned on April 25, National Plumber's Day.

Sweet talk.

Wonder what the forecast is for your love life on Valentine's Day? The company that makes Sweethearts treats makes some predictions with new sayings on the heart-shaped candy: Sun Shine, In a Fog, Chill Out and Heat Wave.

The expressions highlight the "unpredictability of day-to-day change of weather and people's love lives," explains Lory Zimbalatti, marketing manager at New England Confectionery.

Naked ambition.

What happens when one publicity stunt piggybacks another? In Manhattan, they both win. Earlier this month, Time Square's infamous Naked Cowboy (Robert Burck), who strums guitar tunes in his briefs for baffled tourists, suddenly found himself with a warm coat on his bare shoulders.

The coat landed courtesy of Freddie Stollmack, founder of Weatherproof Garment, who was aiming for free PR for his $185 Ultra Tech men's jacket. Stollmack declines to say who he'll put under wraps next. How about Donald Trump's hair?

Big Game hunting.

Looking for bang for your Super Bowl ad buck? Feature an unlikely celebrity in a creative ad, then reveal the punch line before the game, advises Jim Nail, chief strategy and marketing officer at buzz-tracking company Cymfony.

That strategy paid off last year for Nationwide Mutual Insurance, which featured Britney Spears' ex, Kevin Federline, in its ad. The insurer let the world know K-Fed was on board in mid-January, then posted the ad online a week before the game. According to Cymfony, K-Fed beat other Super Bowl ad stars such as Sheryl Crow (Revlon) rev and Jessica Simpson (a pregame spot for Pizza Hut) yum to get the most positive buzz in media such as newspapers, TV and the Web.

Among this year's ads, Nail says a possible Justin Timberlake Pepsi ad already is getting a boatload of buzz.

Pepsi hasn't made it official that he's in, but fans seem to be salivating over what would be JT's first Big Game appearance since his pivotal role in Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" in the 2004 halftime.

Reebok's Super Bowl hit.

Fictional linebacker Terry Tate, at 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds, made a big hit in a 2003 Super Bowl ad for Reebok. The spot featured Tate as the Office Linebacker, who enforced office rules such as no goofing off and no personal calls. In the Super Bowl ad, the hulking enforcer took down a worker sneaking in a game of computer solitaire.

We asked readers for favorite Super Bowl ads, and Lloyd Kinlaw, 34, of Longview, Texas, raved about that ad and other Tate commercials that followed: "(They) cracked me up like no other commercials. Tate just wrecks his co-workers out of the blue!"

To weigh in with your favorite for the best-ever Super Bowl commercial, e-mail reporter Laura Petrecca at

By Laura Petrecca and Bruce Horovitz


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