Last year, I asked you all which Super Bowl you would like to see covered next on this site. I only got one response: "Do 1995!" Very well. To the rest of you, if you didn't want 1995, you should've said something.
The truth is, I might've picked this year anyway. 1995 is one of my all-time favorites, and when I saw the ads again, for the most part my memories held up. The icing on the cake? We've got a Portland recording this time! It's EXACTLY as I saw it!
LAST MINUTE NOTE: My apologies for the way this footage got boxed in. The videos played fine on VLC and I don't know why YouTube is translating them as widescreen. I think it's annoying too.
Just play them fullscreen and they'll appear to be normal.
|I remember enjoying the
Big Game of 1995 for the most part, but man, you wouldn't
know it from the first batch of ads we get. They're about
as fun as a wet sock. And it might be a good time to
bring up a disturbing trend I've noticed during the more
recent Bowls of late: the increasing number of
For the most part Super Bowl ads during the 90s were all about humor and spectacle -- the exception is stuff like this, which only appeared rarely. Nowadays HALF the content is people hugging in slow motion, army men returning to their home towns in slow motion, old people weeping in slow motion, slow motion in slow motion...it's not fun to watch. The only time I should have to cry during the Super Bowl is when the Patriots win their 10,000,003rd trophy.
|Now this Doritos ad? This is
what I came for. It's hilarious without being lowbrow or
stupid. It's original and surprising. It's also been
completely forgotten, but it references and stars some
pretty 1995-current NFL players.
Far more vividly remembered is this Pepsi spot where a kid on the beach gets sucked into a bottle. At the time it was very costly to pull something like this off. Now we've seen everything, but there was a time when if you didn't have a good idea for a Super Bowl ad you could just spend your way to immortality. Not that I'm calling this a bad idea. If it were new today it would probably still work, even if anyone can cut-and-paste themselves into a bottle with some training.
There's also an ad for a rental car business that repurposes some sets from the Flintstones movie. ...That was just something I assumed and wrote down, but now it's true because it's on the Internet.
|Behold the ad that killed the Bud
Bowl. The campaign lasted seven years, but this would be
the final time we would see the bottles jumping around on
the field. And they go out on a sour note, with one of
their worst. Not that Bud Bowls were ever masterpieces or
anything, but what's going on really makes no sense, even
if Bud has the excuse of it being entirely within a man's
head. Why does this one take place on a deserted island?
Why does this overacting man think he's funny? Why was it
so hard to focus on the actual Bud Bowl during these
The Bud Bowl contest would continue for a couple more years, but this was the end of its presence during the Super Bowl. Bud got off to a bad start, but things are going to pick up for them very soon....
|For what it's worth, I consider the batch of ads Pepsi delivered in 1995 to be their all-time greatest. Some people believed this man's dollar was rejected because he pushed a Coke button, but I reject that theory. The button is red, but the design is vague...and why would a Coke button be on a Pepsi machine anyway?|
|Pepsi had long been known for their
juvenile takedowns of their rival, which is why the rumor
was so believable, and why the very premise of this ad
was so shocking: a Pepsi delivery man and a Coke delivery
man meet in a diner, swap stories about their families,
form a quick bond, and then...each take sips of their
competitor's beverage, remarking how good they both
taste. Had Pepsi finally matured? Had the Cola Wars
finally come to a truce?
No....when the Coke man sips the Pepsi, he won't give it back.
|In the Atlanta Ads article I mentioned one of my faves was the Rold Gold Pretzels spot featuring Jason Alexander. The partnership between pretzel and man started one year before then, with this spot. It's great on its own, but then the ad pulls the best fake-out in Super Bowl commercial history, returning to the "game" in time to see Alexander parachute onto the field. It was one of the most memorable moments in a year filled with them.|
|It was a different breed of HBO back in the 90s; their main attraction was the movies, not the TV programs they also happened to produce. I guess this little skit is okay. Coming after the Alexander spot, though, it didn't stand a chance sticking in the minds of America.|
|I'll have to give Jeep points for this
one: have you ever heard of a car ad that doesn't
actually show the car? In fact, for the first 25 seconds
you're not even sure what you're looking at. Your best
guess is Bugs Bunny, because no one else can tunnel under
the snow like that....then the mound halts at a barely
visible stop sign and you see the blinking light of a
turn signal. Jeep had effectively communicated the
"toughness" message they wanted without saying
a word or even showing the car.
This had to be the last time Master Lock ran a Super Bowl ad.
|Yes....this was the year THAT happened. I told you Budweiser had an ace up their sleeve! Who needs the Bud Bowl anymore...they have frogs now! Frogs that croak weird noises that happen to spell out the name of their product! What a concept! The Jason Alexander ad got a lot of attention, but it was the Budweiser Frogs that dominated conversation the next day, and their career would stretch into the 2000s. For America, it was love at first croak.|
|FedEx has finally joined the
Information Age by letting anyone track and monitor
packages from the convenience of their own home, simply
by loading up......a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk. It was a
matter of months until companies would start seriously
looking into their own websites. We're nearly there, but
It's not included here, but at one point during the game my local affiliate bragged that they were "online" now -- and instead of a web address, provided a phone number to dial up a BBS.
Anyone who doesn't remember the 90s is going to have no idea what the final ad in this break is about. "No Fear" was an incredibly popular brand of T-shirt, capturing the macho image everyone was after at the time in one scrawled, distressed sentence of just two words. When the 1990s are brought up, no one ever mentions "No Fear" T-shirts, despite their being all over the place at the time, especially in school. No one ever mentions the "Mean People Suck" bumper sticker either. You know why mean people have taken over? Because we no longer have bumper stickers informing them how much they suck!
|I unexpectedly miss Jordan schmoozing with cartoon characters.|
|Breaking the fourth wall and crossing over into the Game was kind of a thing this year. An hour after Costanza dropped by, two men carrying McDonalds Big Macs opened a trap door and emerged onto the field. It's not the most winning spot of the night, not by a long shot, but repeating the success of their "Nothin' but Net" commercial (which had reached outer space the last time we saw it) would be impossible. But it's referenced here to please the crowd.|
|It took an unusually long time for
Super Bowl 29 to get its first movie trailer, and the
film being advertised -- "Just Cause" -- wasn't
exactly the most anticipated release of '95. Being
unfamiliar with it, I couldn't tell you if it was a Silence
of the Lambs ripoff, but this ad sure makes it look
Halftime followed. There are many candidates for "most embarrassing Super Bowl halftime," but I remember this one being particularly bad, and it's in my personal bottom 5. It was a tie-in with Disneyland, promoting their new Indiana Jones stage show with a poorly-acted facsimile on the field.
|Field of Dreams was a 1989
film about a man who hears a voice in his head whispering
"if you build it, they will come." So he
does...he creates a baseball diamond in the middle of his
corn field, and the ghosts of the world's greatest
baseball players emerge to play one more round on Earth.
It's the kind of film that could never be greenlit today
because it doesn't have a superhero in it. This Pepsi ad
is a parody of that movie; one of many.
It can be dangerous to mock a monkey! These tourists found that out...TOO LATE!
|I skipped an ad break at this point
because it was just a repeat of Pepsi's bottle ad,
followed by a repeat of FedEx's ad.
After that came this Bud Light bit where an ugly dog attempts to rig a dog show by bribing the judges with a six-pack. See, not everything in the pre-9/11 era was better than now. For example, dog shows were so corrupt that you could buy a win with convenience store beer.
Then there's this man who is so traumatized over having to hold his lady's purse for thirty entire seconds that he has to immediately join a support group. Talk about your snowflakes.
|Whatever "Border Lights" were, they clearly weren't as mindblowing as this pair ot Taco Bell spots wanted us to believe, or they would still be a product. Not much else to say about this break.|
|And the next one is even lamer.
Sellers of diarrhea pills shouldn't be allowed to buy
Super Bowl spots.
We've reached the downhill slide earlier than expected, unfortunately. Midway thrhough the third quarter is very premature. This was an absolute killer year, but it flamed out quickly. Repeats of earlier ads and ordinary commercials that ran in plenty of places before the Super Bowl are what remain.
|I didn't get a chance to mention what
was airing after the Super Bowl....because it was barely
promoted. The problem is, if I tell you about this show
without providing any video evidence of its existence,
you're going to think I made it up. If you were creating
a 1990s TV series off the top of your head, this is what
a lazy man would describe.
It's nothing but good-looking people who like to skydive off cliffs, snowboard down mountains, laugh in the face of danger, commit maximum attitude, wear sunglasses at night, etc. And what's the name of it, if you had to guess? "EXTREME." Just that word, just the most overused word of the age. And you better believe the logo was distressed with scribbles!
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