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Best Dot-Com Super Bowl Ad?

Super Bowl commercials usually stick to a few popular genres: "guys will do anything for beer," "talking animals are funny," "talking animals doing anything for beer are funny" and so on. For the purposes of this blog, though, the most interesting sort are the ads aired by dot-coms that, over the other 364 days of the year, spend considerably less time--or none at all--selling themselves on TV.

By my count, yesterday's Super Bowl only featured five advertisers of this sort. And only one of them crafted something worthy of repeat viewing: e*Trade, whose cute-yet-witty talking-baby spots (one and two) transcended their third- and fourth-quarter timeslots.

The other four were lame in varying degrees.'s "Plan B" punch line was a little too predictable to sustain a second ad. GoDaddy's dancing-girls schtick is getting seriously old. (Disclaimer: I have a couple of domains registered at GoDaddy, but I signed up well before this company's first Super Bowl ad.) CareerBuilder's two spots were either sad or creepy. And SalesGenie--ugh, won't somebody please tell this company that it's destroying whatever reputation it might have with these witless spots?

None of this year's dot-com commercials came close to my own all-time favorite in this genre, e*Trade's 2001 farewell to the dot-com boom.

(If we're talking about technology ads in general, my favorite this year would be T-Mobile's pairing of Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade.)

Which of yesterday's dot-com spots caught your attention? Which ones do you wish you'd been out of the room for? Or were you paying too much attention to the game--for once, it was worth the effort--to notice the commercials?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 4, 2008; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture  
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I could have done without the ads for And the mysterious (Where did that company come from and what the heck was it doing putting so much capital behind an ad?).

Tech-wise, I think the T-Mobile ad wins hands down, but ad of the night would have to go to DIet Pepsi Max, which was the third ad to show.

Posted by: Brendan West | February 4, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If we're counting automotive technology, I'll give a shout out to the Audi R8 ad.

Posted by: M Street | February 4, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody else think the salesgenie spots were racist? You had the Indian-accented Apu ripoff with 7 kids and the Chinese-accented Pandas too dumb not to eat the merchandise. I mean, it would be nice if we could move beyond "white guy is dumb for beer", but there was nothing funny about those

Posted by: PIT | February 4, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

At least the spots made to go to their website to get the "payoff." E*Trade was good - until the "baby spit up."

Posted by: Guy VanderLek - Wilmington, DE | February 4, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Loved the talking baby. The voice and delivery were perfect. Made me laugh out loud. And the creepy clown - great stuff.

REALLY disliked the Careerbuilder ads. And after last year's hilarious "Survivor" ads? I still chuckle when I see those. That heart was seriously disturbing.

Loved the Barkley schtick - esp when he said how he didn't want to look fat on HD.

Whoever approved that other weird company, sales-whoever, should lose their job today. Not only were they ethnocentric but pointless AND long. Ugh. There was audible gasping from the entire room of people I was with last night - a woman next to me grabbed my arm and one person covered their mouth. Offensive, but yet ineffective. Toxic mix. I don't even know what they do, nor do I care. I hope it's something they can make that ~$10M back quickly.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 4, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The baby rocked. I don't get the sales genie at all. They had tons of ads on Golf channel coverage of the Dubai Open too...I didn't get it then either.

Posted by: Tina | February 4, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

PIT pretty much what I was going to write.

Posted by: Kim | February 4, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I think that the big winner in the Super Bowl (other than the Giants) was the publicly-traded Apollo Group's "University of Phoenix". They would like the public to think that they are somehow similar to the University of Arizona or other traditional academic institutions. Indeed, they are even trying to gain formal accreditation for their part-time programs taught by part-time faculty, and appear to have the support of the current Sec. of Education.

Posted by: TonyW | February 4, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The first eTrade was OK until the baby puked. C'mon, people had been eating junk food and drinking for at least two hours by the time that showed. The second ad had the great payoff with the line about the clown creepiness factor.

The first took about ten times as long as it should have to get to the point, and if I wanted to see a gaping chest wound, I'd rent a movie.

On the automotive front, that Audi R8 is a pretty nice looking ride. Hyundai blew their "big twist" by flashing up the website URL before throwing their name up in big letters.

Posted by: LarryM | February 4, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't think any were great. Puking baby was awful.

Posted by: A | February 4, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LOUIS GRIME | February 4, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Besides for, is there anywhere else to buy domain names for equal or less bucks?

Posted by: brucerealtor | February 5, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

E-Trade didn't close caption their ad, so I didn't have a clue what the baby was saying. You'd think for the money they spent on the ad, they could have coughed up a few hundred to caption it.

Posted by: Louis | February 5, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

No one has mentioned the Dell ad, which I think was technically before kickoff - I kept thinking - is this another Apple ad? I was shocked when it turned out to be Dell. It was my favorite of the evening.

Posted by: Jess Weiss | February 5, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to "herding cats" or the classic Apple 1984 ad? Why does beer marketing always employ the seeming crop of marketeers producing the most entertaining ads? Maybe because they drink while they work? Only they will know....

Posted by: Dan | February 5, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I liked the 'Pull My Finger' add the best. Lauged out loud for the 1st time in a while at TV. And I don't even know what it was for but I am going to google it now and find out.

Posted by: RichardBrookside | February 5, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I found it here:

It is for the Maryland Lottery

Posted by: RichardBrookside | February 5, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you think a puking baby is worth seeing again. I'm tired of seeing gross commercials and refuse to do business with companies that inflict them on me.

Posted by: Jeffrey Myers | February 6, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

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