Online vacation rental marketplace HomeAway and mobile pay-TV company FLO TV are hardly household names. Smart star casting (Alec Baldwin as an alien invading traditional TV territory) worked well for Hulu's Super Bowl debut last year, but it remains to be seen if famous faces can work the same wonders for these newcomers. (Other debut players include TruTV, Electronic Arts and Boost Mobile.) HomeAway is running a spot in which Chevy Chase reprises his role as the hapless leader of the Griswold family in the comedy classic National Lampoon's Vacation. FLO TV turned to mega musicians for one of its three slots. The spot will feature a remix of "My Generation" from halftime performers The Who and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, and should score some points with music fans. Still, even a Who classic might not be enough to derail a comeback by the Griswolds and their Wagon Queen Family Truckster, courtesy of Publicis in the West in Seattle. Beverly D'Angelo is also along for the ride, which sees them pulled over in New Jersey.
Which Super Bowl celebrity endorsements will prove more popular-the Simpsons for Coca-Cola or Kiss for Dr Pepper Cherry? For one of its two in-game ads, Coke and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., enlisted the cast of Fox's 20-year-old super series to tell another animated "Open Happiness" tale that turns dreary dramas into communal celebrations. In the 60-second spot, Springfield's town millionaire Mr. Burns has lost everything and looks on the bright side of things only when his friends and neighbors rally around him in support and with a Coke. Dr Pepper has the legendary Gene Simmons and the band rocking for the cherry-flavored soda's game-day debut. The 30-second commercial, from Deutsch/LA, will treat viewers to a small surprise that will likely bring laughs, but may only fully be appreciated by a fraction of the broad audience. Still, Gene's got flashy, enduring style and rock anthems. Both are powerful star properties that have endured the test of time. Kiss has been around a lot longer than The Simpsons, but the show has steadily impressed, while the band has had spurts of popularity. In the final showdown, Coke's minute-long Simpsons story will probably get more people smiling than Kiss will get rockers pumping devil horns.
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