The Super Bowl ad winners and losers -- Budweiser, American Express, and Macintosh do well while 7-Up and Victoria's Secret fail

By A.J. Jacobs
February 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Yeah, yeah. John Elway, second title in a row, Broncos shoot down Falcons, blah blah blah. Now, let’s talk about the important Super Bowl stuff — how the commercials rated.

Best Co-opting of a Classic Sci-fi Character
2001‘s HAL for Macintosh. The velvet-voiced computer confesses to taking part in the Y2K meltdown. ”Only Macintosh was designed to function perfectly,” HAL admits. We’ll take this spokescomputer over Jeff Goldblum any day.

Worst Co-opting of a Classic Sci-fi Character
E.T. for Progressive Auto Insurance. I always found Steven Spielberg’s alien a tad creepy. Now I know why: He’s an insurance salesman.

Best Aquatic Budweiser Creature
The lobster. An about-to-be-boiled crustacean saves his exoskeletal butt by holding a bottle of the brew hostage.

Worst Aquatic Budweiser Creatures
Those feuding frogs and lizards. As the campaign enters its fifth year, these pond scum have become the new Bud Bowl — grating and repetitive.

Best Blatant Exploitation of T&A
The World Wrestling Federation. A masterpiece of self-mockery. ”We never use sex to enhance our image,” coos a hot blond in a Xena outfit. ”We’re a non-violent form of entertainment,” adds a grappler as he smacks a passerby with a folding chair.

Worst Blatant Exploitation of T&A
Victoria’s Secret. The plot: Jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, Web address. This embarrassingly unsubtle spot announces an upcoming Internet fashion show for the lingerie catalog — because God knows we need more soft-core cyberporn.

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