Football, 3-D Glasses, and Pets.com

Like most Americans I went to a Super Bowl party Sunday.  Part of the hype leading up to the telecast of the game was a promotion, sponsored by a soft drink company, for a preview of Disney movie, filmed in “3-D”, that won’t be out until this summer.    To see this commercial, and that’s what it was, a commercial, you had to visit your nearest retailer and pick up a pair of “3-D” glasses.

Like Ralphie, in the movie “A Christmas Story“, who waited weeks for the arrival of his “Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Ring”  we were told to gather around the TV at the end of the second quarter of the game appropriately clad in our fashionable cardboard glasses.

At the appointed time, as I looked around the room at a group of usually sane people wearing cardboard “glasses”, it made me think of how the actual football game has become secondary to marketing at the Super Bowl.

These folks had gone to the trouble of going to the store to get their 3-D specs to watch a commercial!  If the game itself were in “3-D” the whole thing might have made sense, but to do it for the pleasure of seeing a commercial was just a bit much.  Where Ralphie had sent away for his decoder ring expecting to get a secret message from Annie, only to be disappointed to find out that the “message” was actually a commercial for Ovaltine, we knew exactly what we were going to see.

pets_dot_comWhich made me think how things have changed in just a few years.  Remember Pets.com?  They created quite a stir when they spent $1.2 million to advertise their on-line business during the 2000 Super Bowl.  The ad, featuring a sock puppet,  was rated #1 [The company would close it’s doors before the end of the year, but that’s another story.]

The idea of  an internet-only business spending that kind of money on TV advertising was unheard of.  But here we are, just nine years later, with dot com’s advertising like crazy.  E-Trade [my wife loves the baby] and GoDaddy.com both purchased multiple ads for this years event for something north of $2 million each.  Both companies ran well-produced, obviously expensive ads.

By the way, can you name the teams that played in the 2000 Super Bowl?  Probably not.

Which begs some  questions:

Is the Super Bowl a broadcast of a football game interrupted by commercials, or a broadcast of commercials interupted by a football game?

Better yet, is it really a Springsteen concert surrounded by a football game?

Does the pregame show really have to start more than eight hours before the game?

Does any football game really need ten announcers?

And finally, aren’t the Budweiser Clydesdales the cutest giant animals ever, especially when they’re in love?

[The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans in Super Bows XXXIV on January 30, 2000 by a score of 23-16, Kurt Warner’s only Super Bowl win.  If you didn’t know that, you weren’t really watching the game.]

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