There was less hype than usual surrounding this year's Super Bowl, partly as a result of the economy, the more plaintive mood of the nation and the competition for advertiser spend provided by the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Bob Scarpelli, the chairman/US chief creative officer at DDB Chicago, believes however, that big brands may suffer for their Super Bowl absence.
"Consumers expect big brands to be at the Super Bowl, and if they're not there, they wonder what's going on," he says.
Budweiser is maintaining its huge presence with a variety of ads spanning humour to sensible-drinking messages. For the creative team, led by John Immesco, it's a nail-biting finish to the end. The team produce a vast pool of ads, which are judged by focus groups and around eight go on to feature in the game.
Feature film directors also played a major role in the advertising during this year's Super Bowl. Scott Hicks (Shine, Snow Falling on Cedars) created a Cadillac spot for D'Arcy Detroit, while the Coen brothers (Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) made their advertising debut with a spot of some style and scale for H&R Block, a tax preparation/financial services company.
Standing out from the rest of the advertising crowd is of paramount importance and Pepsi garnered acres of global press coverage during the pre-game hype as a result of its Britney Spears spot. The 90-second ad, directed by Joe Pytka, aired in the first quarter of the game and takes us on a journey through Pepsi's advertising history, with the starlet singing Pepsi jingles from the 60s to the present day.
Pepsi also tied up with Yahoo! offering fans the chance to vote for their favourite era. This section of the commercial was then made into a 30-second spot to run in the game's second quarter.
Levi's also used the web to highlight its TV ad campaign, asking surfers to vote for their favourite ad from: 'Bull' by Mike Mills, 'Up and Down' by Chris Cunningham and 'Crazy Legs' by Spike Jonze.
We present these and others on the tape.