Out to Launch

Welcome to the Super Bowl edition of Out to Launch. It's bigger, longer, and uncut. Hike!

Let's begin with the first quarter.

Who says the Super Bowl is just for the guys? Marketers know that an abundance of women tune in to see the year's best (and worst) ads, and some of said ads are made just for us. Take CIBA Vision, for example. CIBA Vision is airing a specially-edited commercial for its contact lens, O2OPTIX in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. The spot allows viewers to go inside the "O," to experience O2OPTIX for whiter, brighter, and healthy-looking eyes. In the ad, men and women exchange flirty glances as if a special connection has been made between the contact lens wearers. Grey Worldwide created the ad.

Lincoln is making a return to the Super Bowl for the first time in more than a decade. "Charity" features the brand's new luxury pick-up truck, the 2006 Lincoln Mark LT, and airs during the first half of the game. "Charity" opens as a clergyman concludes a Sunday service and finds an unexpected gift in the collection plate: the keys to a brand new Lincoln Mark LT. The clergyman goes to the parking lot to take a look at the Lincoln Mark LT... and he just loves the vehicle. The clergyman is brought back to reality when the owner points out that his daughter mistakenly put the keys on the collection plate. "Charity" concludes with the clergyman placing the letters "LT" on the church marquee to spell out next week's sermon topic, "LUST." Young and Rubicam created the ad.



Super Heroes always respond to the cry of a citizen in distress -- but they can take the night off in an ad for the Visa check card. In "Super Heroes," a woman cries for help after discovering someone has stolen her Visa check card. Marvel's Super Hero characters rush to her rescue but discover it's a false alarm: her Visa check card features security benefits that protect her from fraudulent charges. The Super Heroes then return to their work of assisting those who really need help. BBDO NY created the ad, which is running during the first half of the game. Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Storm, and Thor are featured in the commercial, along with a surprise guest visit -- a latecomer to the rescue., a domain name registry and online company I never heard of until they bought Super Bowl ad time, is running its ad during the first quarter and during the final two-minute warning break. The ad features a "wardrobe malfunction" and is a parody of the censorship going on today. A young "Go Daddy Girl" is speaking before a congressional board in Salem, Mass. because she wants a chance to show the panel a routine she prepared for a TV commercial. Expect some skin. The Ad Store created the spot.

Marking the 19th consecutive year that Pepsi has advertised during the big game, four spots for Diet Pepsi and the Pepsi iTunes promotion will debut in the first and second quarters of the game. "Diet Pepsi Truck" is a 45-second ad where Sean "P. Diddy" Combs unknowingly starts a trend among Hollywood stars and people everywhere after his car breaks down and he hitches a ride to an awards show in a Diet Pepsi truck. Also featured are Eva Longoria, Carson Daly, and Wilmer Valderrama.

"Guy Watcher" is a 30-second ad that shows a good-looking guy walking down the street while drinking a Diet Pepsi. He catches the attention of many admirers, including supermodel Cindy Crawford. "Bottle Songs" is a 30- and 45-second ad and features a number of popular tracks from a series of music genres. These commercials illustrate how winning a free song from the Pepsi iTunes promotion is as easy as opening a bottle of Pepsi. The 30-second spot version is still in development. DDB created the Diet Pepsi ads and TBWA/Chiat/Day created the iTunes ads.

MBNA Corporation's 30-second ad will run during the first quarter of the game and is part of a larger branding campaign for the company. Watch out for a gussied up Gladys Knight playing rugby. The campaign will focus on the wide range of affinity credit card products that MBNA offers. The campaign, developed by The Helm Agency, New York, is MBNA's first national commercial. The campaign's theme is, "If you're into it, we're into it."

On to the second quarter...

Super Bowl regulars Monster and Hot Jobs politely declined running ads during this year's game, but competitor got off the bench and stepped up for its first Super Bowl campaign. Despite the Internet experiencing an economic upturn, it seems there are less interactive companies advertising than usual. What happened to the unknown dot-com companies that would use their entire year's ad budget for a 30-second spot? (think "Apology" features a twist on office life, showing a frustrated male employee working in a chaotic work environment where his employees are chimpanzees. The man is left to pick up the slack, and tells a disgruntled customer on the phone, "I'm sorry. It's just that I work with a bunch of monkeys." purchased two 30-second spots (thank you for representing interactive, Careerbuilder) that will air during the second and third quarters. The spots feature more parodies of dissatisfying work experiences and use a new tag line: "a better job awaits."

Degree For Men introduces the world to the In-Action Heroes in its Super Bowl ad airing during the second quarter. The ad is Degree's first-ever Super Bowl appearance and showcases its new line of anti-perspirants. The 30-second spot features "The Mama's Boy," one of the In-Action Heroes that avoids risk. The Mama's Boy is described as "Always at his mama's side, he loves the clothes she lays out for him every morning." The new campaign encourages risk takers by poking fun at a life without risk through the non-adventures of the In-Action Heroes. Since In-Action Heroes never take a risk, they don't need Degree For Men. Future In-Action heroes include The Wuss and The Suck-Up. Lowe New York created the ad.

Cadillac serves as the official vehicle of the Super Bowl for the fourth consecutive year (along holding the lowest notch on Tom Brady's totem pole -- Brady recently filed a lawsuit against General Motors for using his likeness in ads after his contract with the company expired). "Break Through" is the theme for the ad, which was created by chemistri Detroit. The 60-second spot, "Barrels" showcases Cadillac's new V-Series performance vehicles: the CTS-V, STS-V and XLR-V. Each of the three vehicles is seen backing up into a dark tunnel until only the headlamps are visible. The spot opens with a XLR-V parked on a mountain road. The vehicle backs up into a dark tunnel that is carved into the mountainside, practically disappearing save its two headlights. The same sequence unfolds with the CTS-V and STS-V wedging themselves into urban and cobblestone tunnels. The spot cuts to each of the three tunnel openings, where everything is still.Then a rapid succession of sounds is heard followed by a shot of each vehicle barreling out of its tunnel. The spot ends as the voiceover says, "Bang" followed by black screens reading "The New Cadillac V-Series. Three Cars. Zero to 60 in Under Five Seconds." "Barrels" is running in the second quarter. In the post-game MVP Award show, Cadillac will air a 30-second version of "Barrels" and a 60-second spot entitled "Elope" that tells the story of a girl and her boyfriend sneaking off to get married in her father's Cadillac XLR.

Cosentino USA, a producer of Silestone natural quartz, is promoting its line of countertop surfacing during the big game. The company is touting itself as the first company to advertise natural quartz surfacing on television, let alone bring countertop advertising to the Super Bowl. The Silestone brand will be highlighted in a 30-second spot featuring football hall of famer and coach, Mike Ditka; William "Refrigerator" Perry; and Jim McMahon, all former Chicago Bears players. And watch out for Dennis Rodman in a bathtub. The ad shows how each person can discover their inner self through Silestone's array of colors, character, and quality. Freed Advertising created the spot, sporting a $1 million production budget. The ad will run during the second quarter. The subject matter is either one you'll remember or quickly forget. Chances are, I won't be able to rid the image of Dennis Rodman in a bathtub from my mind anytime soon (but here's hoping).

Lay's potato chips teamed up with MC Hammer (parachute pants and all) for a 30-second ad running in the second quarter. "Fence" tells the story of the grumpy neighbor who won't return a ball to a group of kids after it lands in his yard. A bag of Lay's is thrown over the fence, prompting the mean old neighbor to return the ball. Still feeling generous, the neighbor throws back other items that have been missing for years. Along with dog "Scruffy" and their dad's 1972 Chevy Impala, '80s artist MC Hammer is thrown back - but the kids are too young to recognize him. SpikeDDB created the spot.

NFL Network will air a 60-second commercial just before Paul McCartney's wardrobe malfunction-free halftime performance. "Two-morrow" uses the tag line "NFL Network: Where Football Season Never Ends" to remind fans that NFL Network is their bridge between the Super Bowl and the 2005 season. The spot features NFL stars disappointed that they are not in this year's Super Bowl. They take consolation that on February 7 all teams will be undefeated and preparing for a new season. The spot shows that football season never ends on NFL Network, which serves as the fans' post-Super Bowl remedy. The ad features Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Montana, Curtis Martin, Jon Gruden, Steve McNair, Roy Williams, Daunte Culpepper, Byron Leftwich, Ephraim Salaam, Marvin Lewis, and Chad Johnson. Triple Double created the ad.

Making our way to the third quarter...

There might not be any wardrobe malfunctions at this year's game, but there will be an ad on erectile dysfunction (ED). To date, Cialis is the lone ED medicine airing an ad. Cialis will debut a 60-second using the Ronettes song "Be My Baby," as its theme music, along with images of couples in romantic settings. The ad's addition to the Super Bowl line up was a last-minute announcement. The ad conveys that Cialis is the only ED treatment that both works fast and lasts long. Grey created the ad. The ad will run in the third quarter.

Olympus Imaging America is launching ads for m:robe 500, a music player with a built-in digital camera (touted as the first of its kind). Two 30-second spots will run during the first and third quarters of the Super Bowl telecast. This is the first time Olympus has advertised during the Super Bowl since 1981, when the company ran a spot promoting the OM-2 film camera featuring super-model Cheryl Tiegs. The ads are mini-music videos with special effects to show that m:robe enables you to do things you never thought possible. "Jacques Your Body Groove" features the electronica song "Jacques Your Body," by Les Rhythmes Digitals. The spot shows a young male, who, armed with an m:robe, travels through different lifestyle scenarios inspiring cool, alternative dance moves in people you wouldn't expect to be able to groove. The spot ends with the tag line, "Let Your Pictures Groove." "Pure Gold Groove" features a group called the Offcuts and its song "Pure Gold" and follows the same premise as "Jacques Your Body Groove." The campaign was created by The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

Another first time Super Bowl advertiser is Volvo Cars of North America. The company is unveiling its new V8-powered version of its Volvo XC90 SUV. Euro RSCG Worldwide created the ad that airs in the third quarter. All I know about the ad is that there's an astronaut in it. I'm guessing that since Volvo launched a Web site called one month before the Super Bowl, I figure that the new Volvo XC90 V8 has "Boldly Gone" into space - much to the surprise of the astronaut. Tune in on Sunday to find out if I'm right.

Apparently the third quarter can also be called "ads with unknown plot twists." Tabasco hasn't advertised in the Super Bowl since 1998 when they launched an ad called "Mosquito." Its new ad, "Tan Lines," has an unexpected twist. Again I'm left to hypothesize. Perhaps our sun worshipper ends up with tan lines in the shape of Tabasco bottles? If I'm completely off with my guess, feel free to let me know on Monday. The ad was created by DDB Dallas.

Here comes the fourth quarter ads...

Emerald of California is showing the world the nut brand's bold personality during the fourth quarter of the game. The ad features a father trying to avoid sharing the nuts with his daughter by telling her that all "unicorns will disappear" if she eats them. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the 30-second Emerald ad features more mythological icons, including Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Watch out for the Easter Bunny: the ad uses a puppet, a costume, and computerized graphic effects and promises a unique take on the Easter Bunny. The ad is running in the fourth quarter.

A last minute addition to the Super Bowl is Staples. The company is showcasing its "Easy Button" campaign, which demonstrates how shopping at Staples is as easy as pressing a button. The 30-second commercial, entitled "Easy Button Launch," depicts a number of challenging tasks that appear to have no easy solution -- a child in class who doesn't know the answer to his teacher's question; a cowboy wrangling a bucking horse; a father changing his twin infant's diapers; and a surgeon performing an unusual surgery. In every instance, all hope would be lost if not for the appearance of the "Easy Button." The spot closes with a voice-over that says, "Wouldn't it be nice if there was an easy button for life? Now there's one for your business. Staples. that was easy." McCann Erickson created the ad.

Subway is Jared-less in its 30-second ad, running in the fourth quarter. In this spot, one of six new ads for the company, two policemen approach a vehicle parked at a point overlooking a city landscape. While the cops are expecting to bust a young couple's romantic interlude, they're surprised to instead discover something completely different. Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the ad.

How could Fox refuse a face like Mickey Rooney's? Technically, they refused his backside. I can't imagine that being TiVoed over and over. Rooney is plugging Airborne, a natural cold remedy. The cutting room floor ad shows Rooney in a sauna, clad only in a towel. When someone behind him coughs, Rooney freaks out and drops his towel, revealing his behind for roughly two seconds. The 15-second spot would have cost the company $1.2 million. But free publicity like this? Priceless.

Here's another ad you won't see during the big game, but fear not: Anheuser-Busch made it into a viral marketing phenomenon instead. The "ad you won't see during the big game" shows a behind-the-scenes worker helping himself to a Bud Light. The young man sees an outfit hanging up and decides to use it to get a better grip when opening the bottle. Needless to say, the outfit rips, and the man makes a shoddy attempt at taping it together. The spot ends with the guy watching the half-time show on a TV backstage and hearing the TV announcer utter, "Whoa! That's something you don't see everyday." DDB New York created the ad. DDB is by far the agency darling of this year's Super Bowl; depending on how many of their ads Anheuser-Busch uses, they could have close to 10 ads showcased during the game.

Online played a huge role in this year's game. Mobile 365 and America Online launched a text-to-vote campaign in conjunction with the AOL Super Sunday Ad Poll. The campaign lets fans view and vote for their favorite Super Bowl XXXIX television commercials on AOL services. The campaign will run through February 7, when results of the AOL Super Sunday Ad Poll will be announced. In addition, Olympus, Cadillac, Volvo, and Degree all launched Web sites prior to the game.

Wondering what MTV is doing during this year's Super Bowl half-time? We all know what happened last year. They are relaunching and rebranding MTV2. If you live or work in New York, than you've seen ads for the past month featuring two-headed dogs and lines such as "GOES COMMANDO," although the spelling of the words looks more like GO ES COMM AN DO. These ads are roughly every five feet and gave viewers no clue as to what they meant or what they were for. There was even a Web Site featuring a "trick du jour" and prompted visitors to "sniff around." I even received e-mails telling me to check out the site: the signature ended in woof woof. When I wrote back asking for more information, I was growled at. This picture of the two-headed dog is the new logo of MTV2, which is launching during the Super Bowl halftime (for those not interested in Paul McCartney's performance). The network is targeting a young male 18 to 24 demographic, and will incorporate gaming and sports in a fast-paced manner into it's regular shows and new additions ("Video Premiere Day"). The halftime show is being advertised heavily on MTV and MTV2, according to Tina Exarhos, executive vice president, marketing, MTV and MTV2. The ads encourage viewers to tune in and "see the future of TV on MTV and MTV2." The 15-minute promo will show a sample of what the new network will look like. The logo redesign began about nine months ago when the company decided to separate and give MTV2 a new identity from MTV and Nickelodeon. MTV2 also made a large Internet buy on gaming Web sites and handed out 2headeddog hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts all around New York. The Night Agency worked with MTV2 on the Web site and outdoor/guerrilla aspects of the campaign.

This concludes the Super Bowl edition of Out to Launch. Hopefully, this will keep your love for entertaining creative in check until Sunday.

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