The Super Bowl of 1999 is another one I have fond memories of. It was a great time to be a cartoon fan, as the networks responded to the successes of King of the Hill, South Park and Daria by throwing as many animated shows on their schedules as they could.
The show that got the post-Super Bowl slot was none other than the world premiere of Family Guy, and Fox threw most of its marketing muscle behind it. Throughout the game the Griffins would appear in special animations created just for the Super Bowl, which only aired that night. Fortunately, I don't need to upload the the Family Guy Super Bowl promos because all of them were included in the Special Features section of its first DVD box set....which happens to be one of the most common DVD sets in the entire country. If you don't have it, check any flea market.
King of the Hill also produced a new animated segment for the Super Bowl....and that one is on their Season Two set. There's only one instance in which Fox didn't do my archiving job for me, and it was with the Big One. Yup, there was an original Simpsons short produced for Super Bowl 33. It never aired again and it was not included on any DVD. Not only that, it's never even turned up online! The Ullman shorts have turned up, the lost "Cosby" bit has resurfaced, the Simpsons Meet Oprah segment has been found...but this has never been recovered. It may be the last bit of Simpsons obscuria yet to be unearthed.
And I seem to be the only one who knows it exists. It aired during the pregame show, meaning not everyone saw it. So when I won an eBay auction of eight Super Bowl tapes, and 1999 was among them, I was hoping I would find some of the pregame -- and this lost Simpsons bit -- on that tape. Unfortunately, it started right before the kickoff. Rats!
But there's a tweeest....about two weeks before I had to write this, a reader told me about another Super Bowl auction. I wrote the seller, describing the short and asking if he could check to see if it was on the tape. He replied with "no, it is not."
Then he replied again with "Actually, I have two tapes of Super Bowl 33, and it turns out the one I'm not selling has that short." Not selling? Well....
He told me he was a nice fella and that he would mail me a DVD of that segment free of charge. Three days before my deadline, it arrived in the mail, just like he said. We found it, and I couldn't have done it without you (so contribute to my Patreon). Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time since January 31, 1999, Platypus Comix presents THE LOST SIMPSONS SHORT!
|The first spot is....not
up to snuff. It's the pre-kickoff break, so maybe I was
expecting too much, but there have been good ads that
made their appearances here. We got some pills, we got
some cars, we got a trailer for a movie everybody has
forgotten....and this zany Pepsi thing about skydivers
would normally be interesting, but Pepsi already did a
skydiving spot the previous year that was better!
At the end, though, there's something about The PJs that looks like another bit of animation produced for the game. Maybe I rescued some more lost cartoons? I have no idea if it's recycled from the series since I've never seen the series.
|In 1999 Pizza Hut was trying to
imitate New York City pizza. You can't buy this variety
today. It could be because trying to mass-imitate a local
flavor never works, but it could also be because Pizza
Hut hired Fran Drescher to screech into people's ears
about the product. If anything could make you NOT want to
This Dew ad is very Dew-y. Radical car stunts, bro!
Web-related brands were beginning to tiptoe into the Bowl, as evidenced by this ticklish Yahoo spot. The following year dot-com brands were going to attempt a complete hostile takeover, but more on that next time.
|This is the first of the very LAST set
of Budweiser Frogs commercials. Darlings of the 90's, but
too kid-friendly for parental groups to tolerate.
Did Apple just tell everyone to buy Macintosh computers because they were the only brand that would function after the Y2K Bug ruined civilization? Yes they did. And now you know why 2001: A Space Odyssey didn't resemble the actual 2001 in any way...it was an alternate reality where the bug was an actual problem. Anyway, this was dirty, Jobs.
Didn't work either -- the PC maintained its stranglehold over the home computer market and Apple would have to invent some new products to achieve domination.
|As I write this, Universal is
preparing to relaunch the Mummy series again, this time
with Tom Cruise in the lead, no Fraser, no Weisz, no
silliness whatsoever...and from the looks of it, no
charisma. I am not enthusiastic.
"Cartoons" is one of Mastercard's better efforts in the "Priceless" campaign. Just about every caption got a laugh out of me.
|It's too bad the frogs couldn't stick
around a little bit longer, but they went out in style.
Except for "Weis" who is oddly missing.
There are some setups that can only happen in Super Bowl commercials. You won't be seeing them in the movies, or on a TV show, or in a Drunkduck webcomic, or in commercials that don't air during the Super Bowl, or anywhere else. Case loudly in point: A guy is in a meadow, brushing dandruff off his sleeve, and a BULL comes out of nowhere and mistakes it for an invitation to charge. Use their product and the risk of this will be minimal.
By 1999 movie studios had realized the value of putting trailers in the Super Bowl. It doesn't always guarantee success, however. These would be the fourth and fifth trailers and the first quarter isn't even over yet. Neither film seen here was a box office success or remembered as a classic now.
|Because of the use of "Bad
Boys" this is another one of those videos YouTube
will never let me monetize, not that I would even try.
Making money off commercials you don't own is wrong, yo.
Anyway, I have no idea why a car blows up in this ad,
save the simple reason that cars blowing up unexpectedly
There was a bit of controversy over the bouncy-bounce of this Victoria's Secret ad, but it was light. Not nearly the amount of griping it would receive today.
And no, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you....those were ET's arms in that brief halftime plug. Progressive Insurance tried several campaigns that didn't work before they found Flo; at this point in time they were thinking of associating their brand with ET, the Extra-Terrestrial. It did not work, and later on you'll see just how badly it didn't work. Some companies don't survive connecting their brand to ET; Progressive was lucky.
|Oh heaven help us, not Wild Wild West!
This was the point we realized for the first time that
Will Smith doesn't necessarily make everything better.
Also, if you ever want to know why there's a giant
mechanical spider in this movie, ask Kevin Smith, who
will definitely tell you.
This M&M was originally named "Crispy" (and he says so here) but his name became "Orange" once Crispy M&M's left the market. Now you can buy them once more, but there is no specific M&M representing them. Back when Orange was Crispy he was always extremely nervous about the prospect of being eaten (the others just seem to be naive about it).
We've seen the very last Frogs spot, so Bud had to find a new mascot. Maybe a lobster? Nah, their faces are hideous.
|What COULD Budweiser replace the Frogs
with? Maybe puppies? Everyone loves puppies. What about
horses? Wait a minute, they already had horses....
The solution was right in front of them the entire time. Bud had been running Clydesdales spots in every Bowl for several years, but they usually went under the radar in favor of louder gimmicks like Spuds or the Frogs. Beginning with this ad (cited as a favorite by morning news anchors the next day), the Clydesdales took the throne as the Animals To Watch during the Super Bowl. It's hard not to love this particular spot too.
Okay, there was a brief period of time when the Bud Throne was taken by some dude-bros screaming "WAZZAAAAAAP" into a phone, but let's not bring that up right now.
|Why is that guy just standing there no
matter what happens in front of him? Is he a British
Royal Guard or something? ...oh, he is. When the girl
bends over in front of him, what are they implying...that
a normal person would pinch her ass? The 90's were a more
For years after supermodel Aly Landry's series of Doritos ads completed its run, she said people would spot her in public and throw chips at her, hoping she would suddenly do the splits and catch them with her mouth.
|It's hard to think of things to say
about these "business" spots. I guess they're
not aimed at me anyway....tycoons watch football too.
This one introducing a high-defintion television is priceless, though -- Mastercard priceless. Barely anybody had one of these things at this time. This looks like an incredibly stupid, dump-worthy date by 2017 standards, but in 1999 it meant he was the Cool Rich Kid.
|7Up is the Uncola, and drinking it makes you an Un, a non-conformist so dangerously unique that the Establishment will literally send men in black after you to stop your radical tastes in soda from spreading. Anyone miss the animated Spot guys?|
|I've included a bit of the game after this break because Fox almost got in trouble for it. This is indeed America's first glimpse at The Matrix, and the bullet-time scene that would be endlessly parodied for years afterward, but viewing it almost cost everyone one of the big plays of the game. This break was only 30 seconds long because they hit the button at the wrong time and the next play started after they cut away. We just barely saw this touchdown and Fox would have had a lot of complaints the next morning if they hadn't switched back. Interesting, isn't it?|
|This Crispy M&M's ad is even
better than the first one, by virtue of Patrick
Warburton's presence. The Tick makes anything great.
Guys in Bud Light ads are the dumbest people in the world. First off, the prices at this store have to be ridiculous, because they've got a big wad of bills and the cashier tells them on sight without even counting it that they don't have enough. In fact, that wad isn't even enough to cover a Bud Light case and a roll of toilet paper. They pick the Bud, of course.
|This Bud Light ad is better than the last one, but it's just kinda...okay. Your generic cute-animal stunt ad. The Clydesdale entry pulled that off better.|
|American Express had a partnership
with Jerry Seinfeld for several years. This appears to be
AmEx acknowledging that Jerry will lose his shelf life
now that Seinfeld is over and they'll only keep him
around for one last ad. It was a miscalculation; despite
never appearing in anything remotely close to the quality
and popularity of Seinfeld ever again, Jerry has remained
culturally relevant solely through reruns. Kinda like
Lucy and Mary before him.
I was never a WWE fan, but this spot came at the height of their late 90's popularity surge, so it no doubt means something to someone. All the major players from that era show up here, including The Rock, whom today's audience only knows from a string of silly family films.
|So this next ad.....um....I forgot
what it was about the second after I watched it. A giant
rat? No....I think it was a kangaroo. It was selling used
This FedEx ad is pretty great though. It's paced well, has a good payoff, and the plot revolves around the use of the product without being insulting.
|Now that's a "do anything for
beer" ad that works. It's simple, but it got a laugh
out of me. Crazy stunts and nightmarish fisheye lens
cinematography aren't needed.
The car ad that follows it is remarkably bland, but that seems like the point...counter-programming. This is the only moment of silence in the entire Bowl.
|Blockbuster has a spot here, but I
have to unfortunately tell you that it isn't an ad about
the long-lost rental store itself. Rather, it's promoting
a contest they were running. The only indication it's
from Blockbuster is the logo at the end.
The last ad that appears here still makes it on lists for Worst Super Bowl Ads Of All Time. It's about an African runner being drugged and fitted with this company's brand of shoe like some kind of animal. Couldn't imagine how THIS concept could be taken badly!
|With that, we start winding down into Also-Rans territory. Enjoy these fourth-quarter, mildly amusing promotions.|
|Oh yeah....I promised to show you what
ET shilling for Progressive Insurance looked like, didn't
I? It looked like this.
This was an ad, and also not an ad...it aired as the opening scene to the 1999 Halftime show. The acts were Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder, neither of which were promoted in the spots leading up to their concert. You only saw ET. And when the concert started, ET had nothing to do with it. Wouldn't it have been an interesting combo, though?
As I don't need to point out, this aborted campaign was incredibly awkward and Progressive dumped it within months.
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