Super Bowl ads notebook: How do this year's ads rate?

Here we go again! Yet another year of playing armchair quarterback when it comes to evaluating the Big Game's ads. Given the sour economic situation, I wonder if ad critics are going to be tougher than ever in judging the commercials. I'm sure the marketing chiefs that gave the go-ahead to spend $3 million for each 30-seconds of air time are going to be under more pressure than ever to show a return on investment. During the game, I'll post my own comments — as well as the feedback and questions of those who write in. Click here to send your question or comment.

NBC taps its stars for self-promotion

David Schwab, managing director of First Call — the celebrity consulting arm of marketing firm Octagon — was kind enough to detail many of the NBC show promos that ran during the Super Bowl. What he says on his blog: "To help celebrate NBC's first airing of the Super Bowl in more than a decade, the network reached out to a handful of their stars to film pieces that aired before and during the Game.

Some of the stars included late-night comics Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey and former Saturday Night Live star Will Ferrell. A few athletes also made an appearance on behalf of the network, such as Jerry Rice and John Elway for Heroes, and Jerome Bettis for Chuck ( Bettis is actually starring in tonight's episode). Channeling his 30 Rock Emmy Award-winning character, Alec Baldwin starred in a spot for NBC-owned online TV/film destination,"

Reader comment from Robert:

"Well I didn't see all the commercials as I was making dinner for the family. The worst ones I saw were for CareerBuilder … it reminded me of the Dippity Do styling gel commercials back in the 1960. Irritating BAD!"

Too much 'physical' humor?

It seems that much of the "physical" humor — which is very apparent in this year's ads — is offending some folks. I've been getting some comments such as the ads have "too much meaningless violence." Says another commenter: "I just have a real problem with violence being used to sell products & services…. We have enough hate and division in this country and do not need ads promoting more of the same."

Among the rough-and-tumble ad executions: a skier hits a tree, a guy gets hit buy a bus and another guy falls off the roof. (And I thought I had it rough blogging from my cubicle in a freezing-cold office…)

Reader Comment from Denise:

Doritos was AWFUL, go hideous.The Bud Clydesdale best of the bunch.

3-D ads: Where do you get those kooky glasses?

Reader comment: The 3D thing is the worst Super Bowl experience since the clothing malfunction. We checked throughout Reno, and got the same word anywhere: "We weren't sent enough, they all went the first day".

So I guess only the marketing people who over-hyped this will be able to rant and rave about the "cool experience"

General Electric

What do you think "smart grid technology" is? Can you say that phrase ten times fast after you've spend the last three quarters drinking beer?

Coke Zero

Wonder what Mean Joe Greene and the kid from the original Coke jersey ad are up to now?

My colleague Charisse got the scoop: Mean Joe is a talent scout for the Steelers and the "kid" — Tommy Okon — co-owns a company that creates countertops, conference tables and other products out of stone. and

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