In between the dropped snaps, missed tackles and first-half fumbles came the annual advertisement extravaganza that is the Super Bowl commercials.
A constant reminder that the football game is only slightly more important than the opportunity for companies to market products to the widest possible market, the Super Bowl is the championship for advertisers.
With a 30-second slot averaging more than $2.6 million, the stakes are high for advertisers to wow the consumer, and admen are always looking to do it in new and interesting ways.
The Daily News organized a panel of college students in Powelton Village to discuss their favorite and most hated spots. Here are our panel's picks:
* Bud Light - "Hitchhiker"
While several beer commercials received rave reviews, this one was the group's favorite. A couple driving their car comes upon a hitchhiker carrying a case of Bud Light . . . and an ax. "He has Bud Light," says the man. "He has an ax!" adds the woman. The Bud Light, of course, wins out, and they pick up the hitcher. Later, the scene is repeated with a new hitcher, this time carrying a chainsaw, prompting the man with the ax to cower in fear. "That was a great commercial," said Zack Linde, a Drexel student. "The scared ax-murderer was the best part for me."
* Sierra Mist - "Beard Comb-Over"
Perhaps comedian Jim Gaffigan's recent performance at Drexel tainted the crowd, but our panel loved both Sierra Mist commercials. Gaffigan's character is being laid off for his comb-over, which starts from his beard. We later discover that his poor decisions don't just end with his hair, but include his cut-off jean shorts and rollerskates for shoes. In between laughs, Ryan Loomis, 21, offered his opinion on the commercial: "The jean shorts were totally uncalled-for, but I still liked it."
* Doritios - "Live the Flavor"
Featuring some great physical comedy, with car crashes and a pretty woman going for a major spill, this commercial really impressed David Althouse, 21, a Drexel student. "I really liked the cinematic effects," he said, "but the commercial would have been even funnier if the girl had been hit by a car."
* Nationwide Insurance - "K-Fed Rollin' VIP"
Kevin Federline's mocking his own pseudo-celebrity persona in a Nationwide Insurance commercial while working at a fast-food restaurant was all the buzz on the blogs, according to the Nielsen BuzzMetric rating before the Super Bowl, but this commercial prompted only negative reactions from our crowd. "I guess it works because it's realistic as to what is happening to him, but it really wasn't funny," said German Yakubov, a student at St. Joseph's University.
"I feel like every commercial should be new during the Super Bowl. Otherwise, it's just a disappointment to me," said Sarah Byrnes, a 20-year-old college student. Her opinion was echoed by the others; old commercials by Coke especially annoyed most.
For all the buildup that Super Bowl commercials get, there seems to be an expectation that they at least hint at a level of freshness.
* Pizza Hut - "Cheesy Bites Jessica Simpson"
Maybe worse than a negative reaction to a commercial is no reaction, and that's exactly what this commercial prompted.
Pizza Hut's new commercial featuring Jessica Simpson on the red carpet, again, elicited a collected "meh" from our group.