Tom Ross: You are beautiful just the way you are

Super Bowl commercials teach valuable social lessons

— The most valuable player in Super bowl XL wasn't wearing shoulder pads and a helmet. The most valuable player was an aging rock star clad in black jeans and a black shirt with sequins. Mick Jagger stole the show from Big Ben and the Bus.

After a first half during which the officials seemed intent on frustrating the Seattle Seahawks, the Rolling Stones took the stage in the middle of the football field and electrified the crowd. Jagger pranced to the 1980s classic "Start me Up." After a song from the new album, Jagger introduced "Satisfaction" by pointing out that the band could have played the same song for Super Bowl I.

The Rolling Stones' classic performance made most 21st Century rock bands look like duds.

Let's be straight, despite the terrible calls from the refs Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers made enough sparkling football plays to win the Super Bowl. They won the game legitimately, even if Big Ben never crossed the goal line on that disputed first-half play.

However, by the third quarter, our party was more interested in the TV commercials than down and distance.

We were entranced by Burger King's strange tribute to the retro 1930s choreography of Busbie Berkely. Did I really witness a lady dressed as mayonnaise flopping on top of another lady dressed as dill pickle slices, all heaped on top of a hamburger bun? I think I did.

And the FedEx commercial during which a cave man attempts to send a document via pterodactyl, only to see the pterodactyl get eaten left us with mouths agape. How cool was it when the frustrated employee kicked his reptilian dog only to get stomped by a brontosaurus?

We timed the onslaught of multi-million dollar television commercials and determined that they were coming at us at a rate of one every 20 seconds. Blink, and you missed the context entirely.

Easily the dumbest commercial of the night, in a blizzard of bizarre commercials, was the spot for a Web site called For reasons we were left to wonder about, the commercial featured a close-up shot of a woman's brassiere strap spontaneously popping in two.

What was that all about?

I know that many of you were too embarrassed to visit to learn the meaning of the commercial, so after the game, I went there for you. Let me tell you, I did not catch another glimpse of the poor woman with the exploding lingerie strap. What I found was a tame page where, had I been prepared, I could have registered the domain name for my own Web site. It was heaps of fun.

When I announced to you that Jagger was the MVP of XL, it wasn't without mixed feelings about the Rolling Stones' history of performing songs with lyrics that are disrespectful to women.

So, I feel a little hypocritical bringing you this next piece of news -- but the TV commercial that stood out from all of the clutter Sunday night was one promoting the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The commercial and the campaign are meant to elevate the self-esteem of girls ages 8 to 17 by challenging society's stereotype of what constitutes female beauty and broadening the definition to make it inclusive. The intent is to afford pre-adolescent and adolescent women the self-esteem they need to launch fulfilling lives.

Sunday night's Super Bowl broadcast bombarded us with a bewildering stream of messages about contemporary society that was difficult to decode, but the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty stood out for its dignity and sincere message.

I still insist the referees stunk up the football game, and for sure, Jagger rocked out. But the thing I'll remember most about Super Bowl XL was a quiet TV commercial that implored us to accept others for who they are.

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