Of all the life lessons Titanic has taught us - the power of true love, the folly of hubris, the moral grandeur of going down with the ship - the only one that seemed to sink in at Super Bowl XXXII was women and children first.

For the kids, the Captains of Consciousness rolled out some top-notch day-care entertainment, featuring an Aesop's gallery of creatures great and small. Tabasco's exploding mosquito exploded, but Pepsi's Jagger-lipped fruit fly inexplicably failed to sing "Tubthumper" (apparently the slavery-porn classic rocker "Brown Sugar" will encourage the kids to, um, avoid Coke?). We were hoping for a special appearance by the Gillette razor-riding Santa, but had to make do with a Michelin tire baby. The wiseacre M&Ms appeared in an incomprehensible spot with the world's first chemically preserved teenager Dick Clark, while the Budweiser Frogs - having long ago reached a post-Laura Palmer point of declining interest - trotted out a cast of Kenneth Grahame forest friends in an all-out effort to make kids believe in kooky magic and drink beer. Thought the credit card was a dorm room first? Guess again. Visa plugged no annual fees for kids with its imaginary pet elephant spot (which for some reason is emerging as the game's most-talked-about commercial); American Express teamed big annual fee payer Seinfeld with proto-goy Superman. On the claymation front, Lipton Brisk's saga of Yankee greats appealed to the boy in all of us. So did the rest of the ads, for that matter, but couldn't they have at least included the Animaniacs instead of dumb old football?

Next... Strong enough for a man


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