Today in the Fortune 500: Google executive released by Egyptian government, Pepsi and Best Buy score on Superbowl ads and what’s next for BP’s ex-CEO Tony Hayward

February 7, 2011, 6:43 PM UTC
Madden '11 Inspired Doritos (Stadium Nacho & T...
Image by theimpulsivebuy via Flickr

The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT RELEASES GOOGLE EXEC who was arrested during the conflict in Egypt, likely for his major role in anti-government online activism. Protest organizers viewed the man, named Wael Ghonim, as a symbolic leader, although it’s not clear what role he played in the most recent protests. Ghonim is Google’s (GOOG) head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa. [Wall Street Journal]

AD MONEY IS BACK for many companies who paid for spots during this year’s Superbowl.  Coca-Cola (K) especially featured a special-effects heavy animated battle scene to promote its beverage. Also the major message of the ads seemed to tell consumers to spend again, the recession is over. [CNNMoney]

BUT MAYBE COULD BE BETTER SPENT according to ad experts who say that many commercials missed the mark. Anheuser-Busch, Sketchers and all could have apparently used their time on the air better. But two companies that got commercials with good reviews include Pepsi (PEP) for its ad where a guy licks Doritos cheese dust off of a co-worker and Best Buy’s (BBY) ad starting Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne. [Wall Street Journal]

YAHOO WANTS TO PERSONALIZE YOUR PHONE The company is working on a kind of software that would help deliver content to mobile phones that’s catered to the user’s preferences. The software, which may be officially announced later this month, will offer similar personalization features to Yahoo’s (YHOO) customizable homepage on the web. [Wall Street Journal]

WHERE’S TONY NOW? Ex-BP (BP) CEO Tony Hayward is looking to re-enter the corporate world, after taking some time off following the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayward has said he wouldn’t want another CEO-level position, but could be seeking a backer in Abu Dhabi for a new venture. [Financial Times]

GOLDMAN’S HIGH-RISK ASSET PLAN could have hit a speed bump. The company’s strategy following the crises has been to spend some of its $170 billion in excess capital on high-risk assets including loans and real estate. But the appetite for risk is up again, meaning these assets could get more expensive for Goldman Sachs (GS). [Financial Times]