SURVEY SAYS: Readers Rate Super Bowl Ads

January 29, 2003 ( - For a change the game may actually have been better than the commercials; still, there WERE some good ones, and this week we gave readers a chance to tell us which was their favorite.

There wasn’t much of a contest among readers, as it turned out.   The Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdales playing football and the zebra referee checking out the instant replay ran away with the votes, pulling nearly 26% of the total.   One reader noted, “I did like the Budweiser instant replay commercial with the ‘jack*ss,’ I mean zebra.   Given a couple of the poor calls during the game perhaps the zebra should be given a shot at the big game next year.”   My guess is he didn’t have money riding on Tampa.

A somewhat distant second was the Reebok commercial featuring Terry Tate the office linebacker, which drew more than 14% – but more than half of those who responded weren’t sure which company sponsored the ad – and about 10% misidentified the sponsor (still, I saw a report yesterday that Reebok’s website is getting a lot of hits from people downloading the video).   As one reader said, “Is Terry Tate the office linebacker available?   I have a few people that need a ‘talkin’ to’.” Or the reader who said, “Hands down – Reebok’s ‘Office Linebacker’.   Where do I sign up for that job?!”

The Pepsi Twist commercial with Ozzy Osbourne and the Osmonds tied for third, alongside the Fed-Ex Castaway, with about 8.25% each.   However, proving once again that entertaining ads aren’t always enough, one reader noted, “Bumbling Ozzy is laughable in any situation, but seeing his face when Marie Osmond sings, ‘I’m a little bit country’ is pure marketing genius.   Of course, that commercial will not make me ever actually buy a can of the disgusting lemon soda, but it certainly made me laugh.”   


Fifth place went to the Bud Light commercial about the clown who drank a beer out of his…well, if you saw it you know what I mean.   As one reader (who didn’t pick it to win, but remembered the brand) noted, “Not that I laughed, more like cringed, but very memorable.”

Sixth place went to another Budweiser commercial, the one with the “hippy” Mother-in-law, which garnered 6%.   It might have ranked higher, but there may be other readers like the one who explained his other vote by noting, “…a vote for the mother-in-law Budweiser commercial may come back to haunt me!”  

Others mentioned by multiple readers included the driverless truck, the Budweiser dreadlock dog, the Dodge Heimlich maneuver, the Sierra Mist baboon (some called it a monkey) flying into the polar bear pit, the three-armed bear drinker, the dog that turned on a hydrant, the strong-man Budweiser “pull,” and the Gatorade contest between Michael Jordan and – Michael Jordan.

We should mention that “otherwise engaged” pulled a significant 13% of this week’s responses.   As one noted, “The Super Bowl at night might be a good thing for those on the West Coast but it certainly takes the wind out of the sails for older folks who just can’t stay up that late.   If we want to play the game that late, make it on a Saturday night so we can have time to recover.   If we did, just think, we could spend all day Sunday going over the highlights.”

One that didn’t garner a lot of votes (or attention) was the pre-game offering by Schwab that, although it featured an investor desperately trying to avoid the delivery of his brokerage statement, might just as easily have been a 401(k) investor.

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who commented , “The Osborne’s one would have been better if Ozzie had removed all the bat parts from his mouth before speaking so we could understand him.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey.

You can check out ALL the SUPER BOWL commercials (at a variety of download speeds) at

Had to be the one with the clown in the bar.

My favorite commercial on TV is the Budweiser commercial where the horses are playing football.   The Super Bowl version adding the zebra watching the replay camera made it tops for me on Sunday night.  

I vote "otherwise engaged".

The Super Bowl at night might be a good thing for those on the West Coast but it certainly takes the wind out of the sails for older folks who just can't stay up that late.

If we want to play the game that late, make it on a Saturday night so we can have time to recover.   If we did, just think, we could spend all day Sunday going over the highlights.   What a concept.

The trucking commercial for only since a vote for the mother-in-law Budweiser commercial may come back to haunt me!

Favorite ad:

HP Laptops featuring Ying Mao and Mini-me.

(Michael Jordan & Bruce Lee in Hanes Ad about the No-tag "T" a close second.)

Least Favorite Ad (NO contest!):   Dodge RAM ad with the Beef Jerky -- How disgusting can you get !!!

My favorite commercial for the Super Bowl was the Bud Light Ad with the upside down clown suit drinking a beer.

I was partially engaged in some other activities (painting in the basement) so I tried to watch the game and at the same time complete my project. As a consequence, I cannot state that I saw all of the Super Bowl commercials especially those in the later stages of the game. Of the one's I did see, I enjoyed the Budweiser Zebra referee (Jackass) commercial the best.

One of the best was the Lite Beer and the clown.

Favorite Superbowl Commercial: Jamaican with Hungarian puli (only dog lovers can fully enjoy the dog with dreadlocks)

What is a Super Bowl?

Wasn't entirely focused on the game Sunday evening so my review of the commercials is less than complete.    Of those that I did see, the Dodge commercial where a pickup was used to perform the Heimlich maneuver was definitely memorable (in a repulsive sort of way).   Even though it's obvious real early where the ad is headed, the ending still caught me by surprise.

I don't know that the ad will sell many monster pickups but it I don't think anyone seeing will forget it easily.

My favorite commercial was the Pepsi spot with Ozzy Osborne, and a close second place was the Budweiser spot with the horses & zebra.

There was a GREAT Audrey Hepburn movie marathon on AMC.   What Super Bowl?

Bud Light...future mother-in-law with big hips.

Two good ones: Budweiser's "referee is an ass…no, he's a zebra" and Fed Ex's "satellite phone in the box"

I'm the only one around here that thinks so, but my favorite commercial is the one where the monkey gets catapulted into the Polar Bear pen to cool off.   I was laughing so hard, I still don't know what the commercial was for.

First (by far) favorite was the "upside-down" clown - which stunned the onlookers as he drank...and then was refused a hot dog by the vendor.

Second...FedEx - - finally delivering the package

Third...the monkeys in the zoo trying to cool off

Fed Ex "Cast Away" commercial

Favorite ad was the Pepsi one with the Osbornes.

Is Terry Tate the office linebacker available?   I have a few people that need a "talkin' to".   That had to be the best commercial I've ever seen, not just at this years SB.

I agree with you - the commercials were pretty lame this year.   I liked the Bud commercials with the Clydesdales playing football, and the "why not date both of us?" one.   However, my favorite was the "FedEx" commercial.   The Pepsi Twist one would have been funny had we not already seen it a dozen times on the news and "Inside Hollywood."   Overall - a pretty uncreative crop from Madison Avenue, ifin' you ask me.

Loved the Zebra!

For creative and entertaining commercials this was the most disappointing super bowl I can remember.   However, I did like the Budweiser instant replay commercial with the "jackass" I mean zebra.   Given a couple of the poor calls during the game perhaps the zebra should be given a shot at the big game next year.

Didn't see much of the "Bowl" or commercials. And from what I heard (or more correctly didn't hear), I didn't miss much.

My favorite Super Bowl commercial was the Pepsi ad with the Osbournes, Donny and Marie Osmond, and Florence Henderson.   The real surprise for me was Mrs. Brady (Florence) at the end in bed with Ozzie.   Hysterical!

The Reebok ad was my second favorite.   Just think how much money companies would save with that linebacker on staff!

First Hats of to AB without them we would only have had a handful of ads to talk about.

1. Reebock Office Linebacker

2. Bud Light Clown (Not that I laughed more cringed but very memorable)

3. FedEx (That was funny)

4. Sierra Mist Baboon into Polar Bear pit

5. Visa - Yo - Yao

Hats back on to ABC - I felt embarrassed for the Alias program yes she is hot but really do we need a lingerie show as our families and friends gather around watching the NFL championship game? I personally think not.

Why do people like the Osbournes?

Great Question!!!    I watched the game, and being a Bucs fan, I was very pleased that the Raiders didn't bother to show up until after the 2 nd half!!   Tee Hee!

However, I have to give you a TIE vote on my favorite commercial:

Tied for First Place:   FedEx/Castaway spot when he returned the package to the girl, and it had everything he needed in it!!   AND, the Budweiser spot with the horses waiting for the Ref (Zebra) to review the last play.

I roared at both of those!!!   I'm happy just thinking about them now!! Thanks for brightening up my day!!!

I think my favorite Super Bowl commercial was the Osbournes w/ the Osmonds and Mrs. Brady!   Although there were other equally funny, this is the one that stands out in my mind!

I thought that the Super Bowl was a commercial for the mainstream American Way of Life.

Not being a mainstream type, I was otherwise engaged.   I have a counter Super Bowl tradition.   I go to an "artsy" movie with friends.   We've done this for about 5 years.   This year we saw "The Hours".

I thought the ads were pathetic... Certainly, for the money spent to buy the spot, more could have been invested for creativity?   Glad it wasn't my money...

And you SUPER dare to use the BOWL label that belongs to only one broadcasting station?  

I actually think the pre-game ads on ESPN ("Joe", the difference in inches, etc.) were the best.   Ozzy was the only one that made me laugh, but not until the end.   Every boy I grew up with dreamed of sleeping with Mrs.. Brady or her oldest daughter that is what made it so funny.   

The game might have been as boring as watching cement dry, but the commercials certainly were the highlight.

My favorite ad was the Pepsi Twist with the Osbournes and the Osmonds.   Bumbling Ozzy is laughable in any situation, but seeing his face when Marie Osmond sings, "I'm a little bit country" is pure marketing genius.   Of course, that commercial will not make me ever actually buy a can of the disgusting lemon soda, but it certainly made me laugh.

On a side note ... Why in the world was there a post-game show with Bon Jovi??   Was it simply to generate more commercial time and therefore more commercial revenue?

The Bud commercial with Reggae dog.

My favorite was the clown walking on his hands going into the bar to order a drink.   I just thought it was sooo funny.

Okay, my absolute favorite commercial, which I have no idea what it was for (probably beer), was with the Zebra referee - - who keeps reviewing plays.   Pretty clever!

I think the Zebra play review will be the overwhelming favorite. The "Twins" are always nice too. A commercial that should have been during the super bowl is Washington Mutual, where they staple a bar code to the guys head, and then they show the teller trying to scan the code by moving the guys head back and forth over the scanner.

Budweiser had the best, closely followed by Charles Schwab.

I don't remember - but it was the 1st one aired.  It had me rolling with laughter! 

I didn't see any as they happened during the game but I have seen some of the news type coverage of many.   I personally invest in PepsiCo and have done well with their stock but still can't seem to find anything entertaining about the Osmonds or Osbournes.   Being a St. Louis boy I know more than my fair share about AB and have to place my vote for "The Jack Ass has to make a decision" line.   I've even used that one myself however when I used it I was referring to a JA, not a Zebra.

I watched the game so that I could see the commercials, I didn't really care who won.   My favorite was the Anheuser Busch Instant Replay with the zebra.

I thought, by far, the 3-armed Bud drinker was the best.

No contest-----it had to be Ozzy Osborne, Donny and Marie Osmond, and Florence Henderson.   Now if I could just remember what they were advertising?

I liked the one with the lady with the big butt...and, by the way, where can we sign up for that Fred Alger "madcap" fund?

#1   Terry Tate, Office Linebacker   (I don't even know what the commercial was for!)

#1A   The Budweiser play review by a zebra referee.

Office Linebacker..... We could use one of those around here!

During the commercial breaks, I switched channels to TNT, which was broadcasting "Gone With The Wind". During their commercial breaks, which were also long, I switched back to the game. Believe it or not, I still saw most of the game, or as much as I wanted to, and most of the movie.

The big losers were the advertisers. I didn't watch any or very few from either channel.

p.s.   I thought that's what remote controls were for!

Office enforcer (tackler) commercial, although I don't remember what they were advertising!

Favorite Commercial - Budweiser with the Zebra referee and the "Instant Replay"

1.   The Budweiser commercial with the zebra watching the replay.

2.   The Bud Light commercial with the boyfriend meeting his girlfriend's mom...the big butt in red leather pants!

I actually sat on the couch and read a book with the TV on "mute" and only turned on the sound to listen to the commercials. I loved the smiling dog who kicked open the fire hydrant.

It's a tie between the linebacker in the office and the horses playing football (with a zebra as a ref)

I am a Bucs fans and yes, the game was better than the commercials for a change!

Many were attention grabbing, entertaining, and even disgusting but had nothing to do with the sponsor.

#3   Second place to the ad - way too much money was spent, but again, a logical nexus.   #2   The Willie Nelson spot was humorous and actually had a logical connection to the sponsor.   #1 I can't believe I'm saying this but The Dodge Hemi/beef jerky spot was both revolting and hilarious.   However, I still remember the product. (3 whole days later!)

Woo hoo!   Tampa Bay!   Thoroughly enjoyed the game and the commercials.

Favorite?   A tie.   The Bud Light Strong Man contest where the 1000 lb fridge full of beer gets carted off by 3 spectators who fight for it.   Ha.   I was rolling.   That one tied with the Bud commercial with the guy whose girl friend came over with his mom and was warned by his friend that in 20 yrs she will look like her mother and unfortunately for him, mom was toting the biggest buffalo ass ever!   Mwa ha ha ha ha!   Ha.  

The Sierra Mist Monkey Dive was also very good where the monkey was catapulted into the polar bear tank.   Ha.   A couple other good ones were for Trident and Gatorade.   Michael Jordan was funny playing himself.   Another mentionable were the 'Date Both of Us' from Bud and the 3rd arm from Bud Light.

The Osbournes one didn't grab me.   I know other people will think this ad was great but I didn't.  

Well, looks like Budweiser ads are winning the race here.   They had the most and the most variety.   Hard to pick just one!

The best was the Budweiser commercial with the Zebra as referee, reviewing the instant replay.

I liked the one with the "company" that hired the football player and he went knocking folks around when they messed up.

The best commercial BY FAR was the Reebok one with the player they hired in the office to boost productivity and did so by tackling everyone who wasn't working.... FANTASTIC!

The Terry Tate Office Worker commercial.  It was funny to imagine that in the workplace.

The game was actually good.   And the commercials were not as exciting to watch.   Attending an all-gal Super Bowl party, we decided the Pepsi Twist commercial with Ozzy's kids turning into Donnie & Marie and his wife being Mrs. Brady made us laugh the most.   But I have to hand it to the Bud advertisers - they consistently come up with innovative ads (even if I wasn't fond of them all.)

Yes, an all-gal SB party.   We made the calls, knew the rules and had much better food than the guys!

Hands down, the Horses playing football / video replay.   Great commercial with attention to detail - truck tire trail in the snow for a sideline, horse's expressions waiting for the call, "fans" calling the zebra referee a jackass - which is a timely comment given the questionable refereeing in the play-offs.   It fully deserved its rightful place in the first set of commercials after the first whistle at the beginning of the game.   A distant second was the FedEx castaway entry.

The rest of the commercials were either boring or predictable (who was not waiting for the beef jerky or whatever it was) to come flying out of his mouth onto the windshield in the car/truck commercial or worse yet, the mLife Gilligan's Island spot...and too many previews for upcoming movies. I guess that is what we get when 2002 was the movie industry's best year in history...

My favorite commercial was the "Take a good look at the mother, because that's what Sarah will look like in 20 years" Bud Light spot!

Looking forward to the results of your poll!

I liked the commercial where football player Terry Tate (?) was watchdog of office productivity and tackled office workers guilty of wasting time on the clock 🙂

Not a football fan, I preferred to watch the "Murder Bowl" on A&E - a Murder She Wrote marathon.   I had to turn up the TV quite a bit to drown out the screaming coming from the living room.    My son watched the game because he's a sports fan.   My husband watched because he had to.   He's in sales, and if he doesn't watch these major sports events his customers look at him like he's from another planet.

I liked the bud commercial with the man dressed as an upside down clown!

Hands down - Reebok's "Office Linebacker".   Where do I sign up for that job?!

Our favorite commercial here is the Reebok commercial where the football player tackles the office staff that underperform/break the rules. Something we all have wanted to do from time to time!

With that, we heard there was a great one (Schwab?) about an individual trying to chase down a 401(k) participant to give him his statement. Specializing in 401(k) administration - that one really hits home!

My favorite ad happened in the beginning of the game, and may be somewhat hazy: Budweiser Clydesdale's playing football, waiting for the zebra to determine a call in instant replay.   Unfortunately, the commercial was weakened by the unnecessary delivery of the rancher's punchline(s): "this referee is a jackass"; "no, I think he's a zebra".   Even if they left in the first comment referring to the jackass, it was the best ad.   The clarification in the last quote was so lame that even my wife commented that she knew that a ref was often referred to as a zebra.

I watched Sunday's Super Bowl and--since I don't remember getting off the couch that much--I guess I watched the commercials.

To be honest, I do not remember a single commercial.

Maybe that's good for the advertisers, since I am an over-50 WASP male who doesn't cruise the bars looking for chicks and prefer wine to beer. However, you would think savvy advertisers would be interested in marketing to an older couple, both with post graduate educations, children out of school, grandchildren not yet into college, own their own businesses and home, travel extensively, buy and/or lease cars regularly, with over $100,000 a year of disposable income.

But from looking at televised sports, sitcoms, and reality TV these days--which I don't do very often--I guess we are not a desirable demographic.

We don't mind so much, since avoiding lousy television and radio aimed at stunted adolescent intellects gives us more time to read, take walks, work in great careers helping others, accumulate more assets, play with the grandchildren, enjoy good food and wine and friends, and travel the world.

As for the Super Bowl ads - the 'Terry Tate' ad was, in my opinion, the runaway winner.   The "You know you need a cover on your TPS reports!" was classic, and straight out of "Office Space."   I can think of a few people I would love to see him lay a hit on...

I liked two.

Winner for the most politically incorrect has to go to the upside-down clown drinking from his rear and asking for a hot dog.

My other choice is the football player crashing into workers who are screwing up.   I think we all wish we could do that to some of the slackers once in a while.

This year's commercials were disappointing compared to the old greats like the "I love you" Bud lite guy.   Seeing Ozzy Ozbourne in bed w/ Mrs. Brady was just plain scary!

As for as Super Bowl commercials, I enjoyed the Budweiser commercial with horses lined up to play football and the zebra reviewing the instant replay on the television camera monitor. I also liked the office linebacker commercial, but I have already forgotten which company ran the ad. Was it Staples? Maybe the commercial was more memorable than the company. I enjoy your newsletter.

Is the Super Bowl over already?

My favorite was the Pepsi/whatever commercial w/ the dog that had the air conditioner on.   (same dog as the one that kicked the plug off for his owner).

Fed - ex guy from the desert island.  

It wasn't my "favorite" but definitely the most powerful, and honestly the only one that has stuck with me. . . the one from the Drug Free coalition, where a 30-something is checking a pregnancy test that you learn is for her teenaged daughter.   Wow - you could hear a pin drop at the gathering we were at when that twist was revealed.

The Osborne's one would have been better if Ozzie had removed all the bat parts from his mouth before speaking so we could understand him.

I liked the Reebok commercial best.   An employer hired a football player (I think he was from Tampa Bay) to enforce policies.   He tackled an employee that did not put a cover on his TPS report, tackled an employee playing solitaire on his computer…

I was otherwise engaged.   I went to a movie at the most popular theatre in town, usually hopping and elbow-to-elbow on the weekends, to find it practically deserted on Sunday.

I liked the zebra looking at game replays, it took me a good 15 seconds to figure out what was going on and then I realized and laughed about 30 seconds. The rest were pretty boring.