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TV beer commercials are not super

The most-watched sports event of the year is a time when families with children gather to watch the game.

February 09, 2010|T.J. Simers

A few years back, I'm sitting in the media room at the Super Bowl in Houston, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson on stage, and I thought I saw what I thought I saw.

I looked around the room, and no one else seemed to see it, the rest of the media corps apparently all reaching for the guacamole at the same time.

As an investigative reporter, it was my duty to look closer, of course, and while I can't recall who was playing in the game, I was all over that story.

Jackson's wardrobe malfunction lasted a nanosecond -- if that long -- but across the country there was outrage, and to such an extent it led to a crackdown on indecency in broadcasting almost everywhere.

So why no such outrage on Sunday?

This time, I was sitting in my home for the Super Bowl, and had I been doing so with teenagers, I would have been as upset as any parent sitting next to a child who had just seen their first nipple shield.

I heard someone on the radio Monday morning saying this Super Bowl was the most watched sports event ever in this country.

A Super Bowl is a happening, all right, a Sunday family gathering in many cases, the commercials and halftime entertainment as important to some members of the family as the game is to others.

So why no outrage today with Sunday's violence-filled commercial messages, in some cases the message loud and clear that people just cannot go on unless they have their beer?

When some guy runs into a restaurant screaming about the bridge being out, no one reacts. But when he mentions the beer truck is on the other side, it's as if he's told everyone a child is hanging from a cliff, or they have discovered gold.

Another spot had folks stranded on a deserted island choosing the discovery of beer over that of a radio that might allow them to be rescued. Who wants to be rescued when you can drink?

The commercials were funny in some cases, a guy crashing a women's book club, the party beginning after he introduces beer to the proceedings and when "Little Women" is mentioned, he says, "Yeah, I'm not too picky."

But the message had already been delivered -- you really want to have fun, then let the beer start flowing.

The beer commercials left a sour taste here, but I'm guessing they spent $2.7 million for every 30 seconds knowing they were going to hit the mark.

Anyone who has teenagers and contends with the problems associated with underage drinking can tell you how difficult a battle it can be.

It's a fight against peer pressure as much as anything, the message to everyone Sunday: life is so much more enjoyable if everyone is drinking together.

Maybe every other football Sunday is all about beer and has predominantly a male audience, but the ads have become a part of the Super Bowl Sunday ritual, which hits a different and much larger audience.

That's why David Letterman and Jay Leno got together for a terrific 15-second spot with Oprah sitting between them.

On a bright and surprising note, Letterman didn't reach over and slap Leno, almost everyone else in a Super Bowl commercial seemingly doing so.

Tim Tebow tackled his mother to show how tough she is, a little boy slapped a potential boyfriend for his mother to warn him to keep his hands off her and the boy's Doritos, and the payback for a guy stealing Doritos from someone's locker was getting stabbed in his head by one of the chips.

I will admit I had my own violent thoughts while hoping I might get the chance to strangle the screeching chickens, but after the punching game to promote Volkswagen, the use of a stun gun and the head slapping to highlight NCIS, I'm not sure it was that big a deal seeing a sumo wrestler sit on the head of some frightened guy.

The fun of it all is the expectation that comes with every Super Bowl commercial break and what they will come up with next.

My favorite was the one featuring LeBronJames, Dwight Howard and Larry Bird.

But there's also implied safety in watching the Super Bowl as a family, which is why so many parents were upset with Jackson's surprising revelation.

A Super Bowl telecast should be the last place to cover a youngster's eyes, or their ears as well.

THE DAILY Breeze noted it first Sunday, reporting the DavidBeckham Academy in Carson went out of business shortly before Christmas.

But doesn't that say it all, Beckham's soccer academy closing in December and no one noticing until early February?

FOXSPORTS.COM, CITING an unnamed source, reported a few days ago Isiah Thomas was a candidate to become the Clippers' general manager and president.

I presume the source was Isiah Thomas because the Clippers insist they have had no contact or interest in Thomas. And I believe them, because as many mistakes as they have made over the years they already understand such a move might top the list.

TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from Tom Jeffries:

"What's it feel like to have everyone know how stupid you are when it comes to predicting who will win the Super Bowl?"

Like I'm living in San Diego.

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