Marketing students at the University of Iowa were assigned to watch last night’s Superbowl — for the commercials. U-of-I marketing professor Baba Shiv says the expensive advertisements were, in a single word, tepid. Shiv says it’s possible companies didn’t want to offend anyone after the Janet Jackson debacle in 2004, but what they left the audience with was a bunch of boring commercials.He says last year’s ads, especially some of the beer ads, were taudry, risque and riddled with “frat boy humor.” He says that method of appealing to the lowest common denominator is unnecessary as you don’t need to resort to showing someone’s back side or other potty humor to get a chuckle or to keep an audience interested.Advertisers became overly conservative this year, even though they were spending a record two-point-four million dollars for a 30-second spot, so Shiv says it was a waste of money if they didn’t keep people entertained. Shiv says the students he’s talked with so far liked one of the beer ads the best — a patriotic commercial that was about welcoming home the troops. He says there was a humorous winner too. He says the Fed Ex ad that featured actor Burt Reynolds doing a spoof on Superbowl ads was a humorous departure from the others. Among the losers — Shiv says the M-B-N-A ad about “Daddy’s Night Playing Rugby” made no sense, even after he watched it on tape several more times. He was also puzzled by the “go-daddy-dot-com” ad which he says never really conveyed anything about the company.
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