TODAY   |  February 08, 2010

Good, bad and ugly Super Bowl ads

Donny Deutsch, chairman of advertising agency Deutsch Inc., highlights commercials from this year's Super Bowl broadcast with TODAY's Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> al, thank you very much.

>>> the new orleans saints may have won the game, but what about the ads? here with a look at the best and worst super bowl commercials is donny deutsch , chairman of the advertising agency deutsch inc.

>> hey, guys.

>> we should mention that donny 's agency produced two of this year's ads. donny , good morning to you.

>> the two best, probably.

>> overall, rate the ads this year.

>> you know, they were ordinary, frankly. i think the overall theme for me, which i thought was strange -- and i know matt and i were talking about this -- i think there were ten ads with guys in their underwear. it was like men acting stupid.

>> some back to back as well.

>> for some reason, this was the year like, let's show the american male at his stupidest, acting goofy. there was an ad for dodge and there was an ad with men talking about their miserable lives. i don't know what it was in our society that this year, let's knock the guys.

>> and i just want to clarify, we didn't talk a lot about this, okay? let's just get that straight, okay? go ahead.

>> a lot of those ads also were negative toward women at the same time, so --

>> just men behaving badly . i don't know where it gets written where, let's on the super bowl do a lot of silly, slapsticky -- that's not what advertising is. and for some reason, advertisers think on this day they have to go for the laugh, even if it's a stupid ad.

>> let's talk about the ads that did work.

>> okay.

>> the biggest surprise was the one that included letterman, leno and oprah. let's take a look at that and then we'll talk.

>> this is the worst super bowl party ever.

>> now, dave, be nice.

>> he's just saying that because i'm here.

>> he's just saying that because i'm here.

>> see, i said before in the open, i thought that was fake. i thought somehow they had superimposed --

>> it works because it's unexpected.

>> exactly. and it holds up to who we are. is there anything more a sign of the times than the late-night wars? for those two guys to go on together to kind of make fun of themselves truly shows both their iconic stature. just a stroke of genius, letterman, leno and oprah.

>> it was letterman's idea and i guess leno came to the theater disguised --

>> somebody's thinking out there.

>> you loved this one, too, the google parisian love ad. why do you think that resonates? j that was just simple, smart, of the brain.

>> the opposite of what you were talking about before.

>> exactly.

>> they're simple, so simple, elegant, smart. this is an advertiser saying this is who we are. we're not going to behave differently on the super bowl . you go, this is where i use google. this was a brilliant piece of advertising.

>> yeah, you remember that it is google. some of the ads you can't remember what it's for afterwards.

>> and strategically, it's what the band delivers. it's not just a bit. and it does not assume the american public is stupid. it assumes intelligence on its viewers a viewers' behalf and i wish more advertisers would do that.

>> and babies and e-trade. let's look at one of those ads.

>> so, yeah, sorry about last night.

>> i just don't understand why you didn't call.

>> well, i was on e-trade, diversifying my portfolio, taking control like a wolf.

>> right.

>> what's that? that's volatility in the market. taken care of, wolf style. ow, ow, ow!

>> and that milk-a-holic lindsey wasn't over?

>> lindsey?

>> milk-a-what?

>> build a diversified portfolio at e-trade.

>> and for advertisers like e-trade, it's not even just about the commercial, it's about the internet use following this, right?

>> yes. the focus group here -- everybody just laughed. that's simple, sweet humor and also the product. it says the product, this is a simple product. but i'm a sucker, i have little kids at home. those are lovely ads. they really are.

>> there's one that caught my attention for many reasons. we showed a piece before the super bowl and this is what i'll call the betty white ad. let's look at this one. tell me why you like this one.

>> mike, what is your deal, man?

>> oh, come on. you've been riding me all day.

>> mike, you're playing like betty white out there.

>> that's not what your girlfriend said.

>> baby, eat a snickers. better?

>> better.

>> that hurt.

>> you're not you when you're hungry. snickers services. .

>> how do you not like a ad with abe and tackled betty white ? i won a match game with her in 1979 , so i can't really be objective about that.

>> but a brilliant ad.

>> yeah, we like that.

>> lovely, say. sometimes silly is okay when you're selling a candy bar . i thought a lot of the beer advertisers went too far in their silliness and i wish they would begin to celebrate the american male instead of idioify him, if you will.

>> and the vw commercial was yours.

>> full disclosure. wonderful ad.

>> where did the idea come from?

>> it's a punch buggy , going back to the early days of the beetle. you'd see a beetle and you'd punch it. it shows the full line of volkswagen with the little bit at the end with stevie wonder .

>> why do you think this works, because of the nostalgia?

>> i hathink a lot of ads that are great are cross-generational, that a mother or father can watch with the kids and explain. i was watching with a wide range of age audiences last night and everything across the board got it. i think the ones that plug into who we are as a culture are the best ads.

>> donny deutsch , thank you --

>> just went by.

>> ouch! geez. thank you, donny , so much. up next --

>> now we'll continue with the discussion.

>> yeah, right.

>>> up next, steve phillips opens up for the first time about the affair with a co-worker that cost him his