Super Bowl Sunday frequently disappoints, especially when match-ups are lopsided.
But this time, the heavily-favored New England Patriots fell to the underdog New York Giants, a stunning result that kept viewers interested in more than just the advertisements.
The game is an unofficial American holiday, and the biggest and most expensive advertising window. In the dot-com boom, high-flying startups dominated the action. After the crash, the focus shifted back towards established heavyweights.
As expected, Pepsi and Amazon proved a potent combination, thanks to a quick-moving ad spotlighting Justin Timberlake. The Pepsi Stuff spot featured Timberlake being magically dragged around town by a Pepsi-sipping fan, a teaser for a massive redemption program involving Amazon and its MP3-based download store.
And Pepsi stuffed even more celebrities – including LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, and Missy Elliott – into its spot for Diet Pepsi Max.
Other music-focused spots weren’t hard to find. Ford promoted its voice-activated Sync dashboard before the coin toss – and tossed the Flaming Lips a nice promotion in the process.
American Idol, also broadcast by Fox, enjoyed a few special moments during the game. Jordin Sparks, the most recent winner and daughter of former Giants player Phillippi Sparks, handled the national anthem with aplomb.
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback of the Super Bowl XL champion Pittsburgh Steelers, was less convincing. Roethlisberger delivered a painful rendition of “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” in an offbeat American Idol promotion.
Elsewhere, Madonna – ranked the richest female singer by Forbes – racked more earnings by singing the praises of Sunsilk hair products. Shakira and images of the legendary Marilyn Monroe also shared the spotlight.
But superstar artists weren’t the only ones featured during the game. Developing singer-songwriter Kina Grannis, winner of the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, enjoyed an amazing promotional showcase during the first quarter. Grannis recently signed with Interscope.
But the sweetest song was being sung by the Giants, a team that pulled an improbable late-stage victory. Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress grabbed a stunning, fourth quarter pass by MVP Eli Manning that put the team ahead 17-14 with seconds to go.
MySpace is hosting all of the Super Bowl ads on myspace.com/SuperBowlAds