Both advertisers had alternate plans for a different outcome: Reebok's ad would have ended with a moving van bringing new neighbors to Perfectville: the New England Patriots. Nike would have subbed an ad citing everything perfect about the Pats.
Salesgenie.com rethinks pandas
Vinod Gupta — the InfoUSAiusa CEO who owns Salesgenie.com and writes and produces its ads himself — is going to give his ads a trial run before they open on the Super Bowl stage next year.
He doesn't want to have to kill one after the game as he did last week after complaints from people offended by his animated pandas with Chinese accents.
Gupta says he'll create a selection of ads next year and test them with consumer focus groups.
This year, he says, he only ran the ad by some friends. "None said it was offensive," he says.
He also asserts his ad was no more offensive than an Anheuser-Buschbud ad in which comedian Carlos Mencia teaches pick-up lines to immigrants with accents.
"If it's produced by a big agency, nobody trashes it," says Gupta, who is Indian, "but if it's done by an Indian in Nebraska, you're gonna hear about it."
A-B says it test edits ads carefully — in the way Gupta plans to do next year."Before airing commercials on the most-watched program of the year, we show them to focus groups of adults from a broad range of ethnicities and nationalities," says Dave Peacock, vice president, marketing. "Across the board, this spot was very well-liked, which was reflected in the high score it received on the USA TODAY Ad Meter."
The A-B ad ranked No. 11 in the annual Super Bowl Ad Meter real-time consumer ratings. The Salesgenie commercial was No. 44 out of 53 in-game ads.
Super Bowl Idol
One of the musicians who scored big online sales gains from playing in the Super Bowl was Doritos online song contest winner Kina Grannis. Her original tune Message From Your Heart floated into the Top 30 on iTunes. Doritos produced a music video of Grannis' performance of the song and aired it in the first quarter of the game, giving her an audience of nearly 100 million people.
Also scoring was Haddaway, with Top 100 iTunes sales after Super Bowl exposure. His 1993 club hit What is Love provided the insistent beat for the bobbing heads in the Diet Pepsi Max ad.
The biggest sales winner: Tom Petty, who did some of his familiar hits in the Bridgestone-sponsored halftime show. His greatest hits album has been the No. 3 album download on iTunes since the Super Bowl, and five of his single tracks have been in the Top 100.
By Laura Petrecca, Theresa Howard, Bruce Horovitz
ASK THE AD TEAM
Q: Could you please settle a longtime debate? In the early '80s there was a commercial with the pitch:"Best eatin' in town, up 'n' down 'n' all around." I think its spokesman was a Western movies actor. The argument is whether it was for Hardee's or Arby's.
A: This took some work to track down, but the answer is Hardee's — thanks to Lee Staak, a former president of the Independent Hardee's Franchisee Association and a longtime Hardee's franchisee in Iowa, who kindly helped out with the answer while vacationing in Florida.
Staak says the campaign, by agency Benton & Bowles, ran in the mid- to late 1970s, and its eight-year run marked the longest-running ad campaign Hardee's has done.