Super Ads

6 Feb

I’m going to try something that I’ve always wanted to do…I’m going to review and rate each of the commercials in the Super Bowl.  I watched the game in real-time (or as close to it as one can get with a wife and three-year old daughter who went to bed somewhere in the 3rd Quarter), compiling notes as I went.  After the game, I went back, using the magic of DVR technology, and took a second, third, and sometimes fourth look.

Let’s get to it…(note – the names of the ads are my own, since I didn’t feel like looking up the names for 50 some ads.  Also, I didn’t link to any of them.  They are all on YouTube if you need to see them again).

FIRST QUARTER

Bud Light Platinum “Gold into Platinum”- Six minutes of game time elapse off the clock before we get to the first ad of the night.  As is tradition, Bud Light is up first.  But what is this?  A serious commercial?  For something called Bud Light Platinum?  Where are the talking animals?  The dogs doing tricks?  The beautiful women?  The kicks to the groin?  I keep waiting for the punch line and the closest I get is describing a Bud Light product as “Top shelf taste”.  D-

Audi “Vampire Party” – At first I was a little concerned because the whole Twilight/vampire scene is not my cup of tea (frankly, I was rooting for the guy to run over the vampires with his Audi).  Turns out his fancy LED headlights make vampires burst into flames.  It makes me want to buy an Audi – to kill the vampires.  Slow start, good finish.  B

A safety for a 2-0 lead?  Wonder what the odds were on that?

Pepsi – “Elton Jester” – Elton John as olde tyme royalty, dispensing Pepsi to those who amuse him?  Yep, welcome to the Super Bowl.  Due to my ignorance of pop music, I have no idea who the lady was who remixed “Respect” or thought enough of the commoners to share the Pepsi, but good call on sending Sir Elton (and his high heel boots) down into a hole.  C+ (bonus point awarded for the Flav-o-Flav cameo).

Hyundai – “Cheetah Race” – Good setup – car versus the fastest animal in the world.  Good twist – the cheetah gets smoked so badly that he turns on the guy who let him out of the cage.  Two quibbles – 1) The cheetah could not have been that fast if he couldn’t bring down Johnny Whiteguy, which means the Hyundai probably performs…well…like a Hyundai.  2) If I’m the guy, and the cheetah turns around on me, I’m getting my slow butt in the cage.  C

Bud Light Platinum “Party Office” – There’s a party going on in the office – but not the typical Bud Light party (with half-dressed girls, frat boy antics, and maybe a talking animal).  No, this party is hip, cool, and all of the women are tastefully dressed.  Two Bud Light ads.  Zero laughs.  But I am learning that “top shelf taste” is snooty and boring.  Another D-

M&M’s – “Naked M&M” – We’re at another high-brow party (strange, where is the Bud Light Platinum?  Must not be a top shelf kind of party) and the newest M&M character (let’s call her Brownda) is talking while some schumuck is checking her out, thinking that she’s naked.  Red M&M also thinks she’s naked and immediately nudes up and starts to dance.  Pretty amusing, and rather risque for a candy popular with the kids.  At least they held back on having the male candy being a peanut…B

Best Buy – “Innovators” – We meet the folks who invented many of revolutionary things we do on our phones, which is a really good concept.  Then we learn that Best Buy has all of the devices, all of the carriers, all of the plans, which is good execution.  Bonus points for having the Words With Friends guys being approached by a stewardess on a plane.  Negative points for not have zombie Steve Jobs appear.  Still, the best so far.  A-

Coca-Cola – “Lucky Bear” – Coke’s beloved polar bears are back and they are watching the game in an ice cave.  One bear is apparently quite superstitious, so he’s crossing his toes, fingers, arms, and scarf to bring luck to his team.  So when his buddy offers him a Coke, he is unable to drink it until a bendy straw appears.  The first time through, I didn’t understand why the bear was unable to drink.  The second time, I just thought it was silly – and not in a good way.  C

Chevy – “End of the World” – Nice to see somebody play off the 2012 Mayan apocalypse.  Chevy went a step farther using UFOs, meteors, and a biblical rain of frogs.  Our hero drives his Chevy truck out of the rubble while his faithful companion (our first dog of the evening?) sits in the back seat.  He meets up with his other Chevy drivin’ buddies who lament the loss of Dave, a Ford driver.  One big quibble – even if the world ends and all of the radio stations are off the air, there is no way in hell that a guy driving a Chevy truck is going to be listening to Barry Manilow.  That said, the visual gags (flaming Big Boy, etc) and the Twinkee reference more than make up for it.  A

SECOND QUARTER

Bridgestone – “Performance Football” – They made a football out of tires, which enables it to have the same handling as a tire; handling a curve with ease.  Another ad where the celebrities (Troy Aikman and Deion Sanders) were there just for the sake of being celebrities in a Super Bowl ad.  I did get a chuckle from the guy (who usually shows up in ads for Playstation – or is it Xbox?) showing Deion how to dance.  C+

Go Daddy.co “Get Noticed” – Typical Go Daddy fodder:  they want you to buy domain names because they have attractive women (Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels) painting on another attractive woman.  Then, you are supposed go to their website to “see more”, with the not-so-subtle implication that you’re going to see some serious T&A.  My 3-year-old daughter was watching with me at the time.  Her comment:  “that’s funny”.  I’m glad you think so, sweetie.  This Daddy thinks it is an F.

Lexus – “Outside the Box” – Apparently there is something so revolutionary about the 2013 Lexus, that it cannot be contained inside of this steel box.  It must break out.  Here’s the thing:  if you’re going to advertise during the Super Bowl, you should really try to stand out, and not be like every other car commercial since the beginning of time.  The three-year-old says “naughty car.”  I agree:  D

“Battleship” – Our first movie promo.  I’m not going to grade the movie ads since the trailers are nothing different from you see any other day of the year.  But seriously – a movie inspired by a board game?  I cannot wait for Samuel L. Jackson to star in “Monkeys in a Barrel”.

Budweiser – “Prohibition” – Prohibition is over.  The Clydesdales come a runnin’ (with their trust dalmatian riding shotgun) to deliver Budweiser goodness to a parched nation.  Per this ad, this is “based on a true story”.  If so, I wonder how exactly Bud had a couple of hundred cases produced, loaded on the wagon, and ready to roll within hours of Prohibition ending.  Still no laughter from the Bud family, nor the touching Clydesdales spot we’ve come to expect.  C+

Doritos – “Missing Cat” – A guy working in the yard suspects the dog of foul play in the disappearance of Fluffy the cat.  But after a corn chip bribe (side note – that dog has better handwriting than I do) the guy keeps his yap shut.  I find it quite interesting (and somewhat sad) that one of the better ads of the half comes not from a shiny ad agency, but via a public contest.  Can the man on the street make a better ad than the big boys?  It appears so.  A

Chevy – “Happy Graduation”  – Johnny is graduating and his parents want to surprise him with his present.  Mom takes off the blindfold and Johnny looks past the lovely mini fridge to the bright yellow convertible Camaro.  Johnny (and all of his friends) freak out, and Dad for some reason decides not to tell him – even after the neighbor drives away in his car.  The parents were later found buried in the back yard.  The neighbor, eating a bag of Cool Ranch, knew nothing.  B+

GE – “Turbines” – I’m supposed to care that GE builds turbines that supply power, quite frankly, I don’t.  GE knows this, so they try to spin it by saying that the power produced by the turbines they make helps to make the icy cold Bud that I can’t get enough of.  Yeah, still don’t care.  I’m trying to figure out how this spot went down – did Bud buy a bunch of slots, but not have enough good commercials to fill them, so they tossed one back to NBC/GE?  Or did Bud figure out that they could get a free turbine in exchange for this ad?  I’m hoping there will be a follow-up ad talking about the special turbines needed to produce Bud Light Platinum.  C-

“John Carter” – This does not look like a very Disney movie.

TaxACT.com “Totally Free” – Little Timmy is in the pool, when a series of visual clues makes him realize that he has to pee.  Being a good responsible kid, he tries to go in the house, but gets denied blocked out of the bathrooms.  Passing up a potted plant, a sink, and (presumably) the entire yard, he gets back in the pool and…um…warms up the water, right before his sister jumps in.  Wow.  The level of fail is really high.  I’m supposed to associate a kid whizzing in the pool with doing my taxes online?  Do you really want to associate your business with peeing in the pool?  While the visual gags were well done, the tag line (“Go to TaxACT.com and feel the free”) tells me going to their website means somebody is going to pee on me.  I’ll stick with the Go Daddy girls, thank you.  D

“The Lorax” – Looks cute.

Volkswagon “Dog in Training” – So, so close to being the (figurative) top dog.  We start with a dog so fat he can barely get off the couch (or fit through the doggie door) to chase a car.  After some canine soul-searching, he gets himself in serious shape:  stairs, treadmill, swimming, avoiding snacks – all to a very catchy James Brown beat.  Finally, he’s fit and trim and able to chase down a nice looking VW.  The tag line “back and better than ever”, is the cherry on top of what should have been the ad of the night.  But then they chase it with a throw-away Star Wars cantina scene where a guy says this commercial was better than last year’s VW commercial featuring “the Vader kid”.  A pissed off Darth chokes him from across the bar, and the moment is ruined.  Yes, VW, you easily had the best ad last year with the Vader kid (although I personally preferred the “Imported From Detroit” ad with Eminem), and we all watched the dogs barking to the Star Wars march online, but the Star Wars tie-in was not needed.  You had a winner, and you got greedy.  A-

H&M – “Beckham” – This one’s for the ladies.  David Beckham in his underpants.  The cynic in me says this ad was designed to get women hot and bothered enough to buy $15 tighty-whiteys for their man for Valentine’s Day so they can think about Becks a little longer.  As a soccer hating, boxer wearing man, who would never pay $15 for a pair of undies, this ad missed for me on all levels.  But I’m guessing the ladies liked it.  C.

Coca-Cola – “Bears on Ice” – The bears are back.  This time, the second bear leaves the cave to get a Coke.  Polar bears must not be too graceful, because the bear slips and slides over the ice, bobbling his Coke and knocking over all of this bear buddies in the process.  I was hoping that the bear would either a) spike the bottle or b) open it and get sprayed with fizz.  Otherwise, I’m not really sure what the point was other than to show bears being cute.  B-

Chevy – “First Time” – We see a basic Chevy coupe performing all kinds of crazy stunts – skydiving, a flip, bungee jumping, etc.  The message I took away was this:  “the first time you buy a new car, you probably won’t have the money for anything good, so here is this crazy Chevy so you won’t feel lame driving the 2012 version of a Citation”.  As a Facebook friend noted, it seems pretty hypocritical for Chevy to start the ad telling us not to attempt the stunts, but end it with letsdothis.com.  I’d like to go lower, but I’m giving bonus points in the hopes that the Mythbusters turn this into an episode.  B-

“Star Wars – 3D”.  Meh.  Somebody else can have my tickets for that.

“Avengers” – Aren’t they about out of comic books to make into movies?

Telaflora.com – “Give and Receive” – Sex is becoming a big selling tacit tonight.  We have a very attractive lady getting ready.  She looks at the camera and tells us “Valentine’s Day is not that complicated.  Give and you shall receive.”  In other words, dropping $75 on flowers is the secret to getting some on Valentine’s Day.  If advertising truly works, a week from Tuesday, a good chunk of the nation’s men will be thinking about this lady (and not about the money they dropped on flowers) while their women will be trying to convince themselves that their man in the tighty-whities is really David Beckham.  This is where I remind the world how lucky I am that my beautiful and intelligent wife doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day.  C-

Sketchers – “Mr. Quiggley” – Just another day at the greyhound track until Mr. Quiggley, a late entry wearing some snazzy red sneakers, shows up.  Quiggly takes off like a shot, blasts around the other dogs, and stops just short of the finish line.  Then, he fires up the Tone Loc and moonwalks around the line.  A very cute ad, but another one where they should have quit when they were ahead.  There was little need – or purpose – for the Mark Cuban cameo at the end.  Wasteful.  B+

Cars.com – “Confidence” – A guy is in buying a used car when a mini-version of himself (coming out of his shoulder on a super-long neck) sings “yeah baby, I want this car” in a falsetto.  I would have loved to have been in the room for the agency pitch:  “Okay – cars.com give you such confidence that a tumor/Aliens growth will come out of your shoulder and dance in a disturbing manner.”  “I love it.  Let’s do it.”.  I can only hope that if the 49’ers had made the Super Bowl, the long-necked growth would have replicated the Merton Hanks chicken dance.  D

Doritos – “Bungee Baby” – Big brother is in the tree house taunting baby brother and grandma that he has the Doritos and they do not.  Sure, baby brother is in a bouncy chair and probably not old enough to appreciate the nacho goodness of Doritos, but Grandma knows.  Granny uses her Rascal mobility scooter to pull the baby’s bouncy chair back and bungee the baby over to the tree house (do not attempt – by the way), where the baby snags the bag before returning back to Grandma’s arms for a well-earned snack.  The moral:  Don’t ever, and I mean ever, taunt Grandma.  She may look sweet, but she will hurt you.  Badly.  The advertising moral – having amateurs create your ads is a far better strategy than having professionals do it (with the exception of any advertising professionals that would want to hire me – you folks are aces).  A-

eTrade – “Nursery” – The eTrade baby (who looks a lot like one of the Mannings) apparently has a new sister, and dad is freaking out.  Fortunately, Baby is there to offer pops some investment advice.  That seems like a good plan – let’s take financial suggestions from an infant.  An infant who is okay with one of his friends “speed dating” newborns.  C

“GI Joe” – Bruce Willis in a GI Joe movie?  Sure, why not?

Just before halftime, and North Platte, Nebraska’s Danny Woodhead scores a TD.  Good for you, son.  I know many folks would have loved to have seen him play for Nebraska instead of Chadron State, but I’m guessing Danny Woodhead does not end up in the Super Bowl as a walk-on (or scholarship player) at Nebraska.

HALFTIME THOUGHTS:

The big news is the complete and utter lack of humor from Bud.  That is a shock.  A bunch of movie trailers, which don’t do much for me.  I can see a movie trailer during every show on TV.  The Super Bowl is just once a year.  Bring me something good.  So far there have been some nice ads, but nothing in the “epic” range that will be shown in marketing classes alongside Apple’s “1984”.

Toyota – “The Camry Effect” – We see different people who have different life experiences (births, proposals, trips to college, etc) that have occurred in a Camry.  Oddly, they make little mention of the thousands of people who have died in Camrys.  Can’t imagine why.  C

Hulu – “Hulubratory” – An odd, and slightly gross ad (with a bunch of random TV sound bytes) to tell us that you can watch Hulu on your smart phone.  C

I probably should mention the Bud Light spot with LMFAO riding in a limo to perform at Half Time – a middle of nowhere dive bar – as it is the closest thing to humor Bud Light has tried all night (except, of course, for “top shelf taste”).  But a promo for the halftime show doesn’t really count in my book.

Madonna is performing at halftime.  Welcome to 1988.  And she’s being backed by a marching band, cheerleaders, Richard Simmons on a tightrope, Weird Al Yankovic, and Cee Lo Green.  Good times.

You may have also noticed that I’m skipping the NBC ads for their shows – again, I’m not that concerned with in-house promos – but an exception should be made for a promo for The Voice (or whatever NBC calls their karaoke show).  The judges are wrestling and fighting and brawling before crashing into a hotel room.  Betty White steps out, in a robe, to deliver the two lines of the night:  “It’s about time somebody wanted me for my voice and not my body” and “my eyes are up here”.  Oh Betty, you are the matriarch of comedy.

Chrysler – “Halftime in America” – We have our winner; the ad of the night.  Clint Eastwood delivers an amazing, inspiring, goose-bump raising speech drawing parallels between halftime of the game with the mid-point of the economic recovery going on in Detroit, and across America.  “The world’s going to hear the roar of our engines”.  Goose bumps.  Yeah baby.  Shut it down.  That is the ad of the night.  And from what I’ve seen – nothing will touch it.  A Facebook friend noted that the ad would have meant more to him had Chrysler not taken government bailout money.  Fair enough, but that was still an amazing ad.  A+

3RD QUARTER

Fiat – “Italian Dream” – More selling with sex.  An average looking guy checks out this beautiful woman.  She starts speaking to him in Italian and (after an initial slap to the face) starts seducing him.  Our romeo snaps out of it as he about to tongue the passenger window of a Fiat.  Comparing a small, boxy car to a hot model?  Um….no.  She was gorgeous, but it did not make me was to purchase a Fiat – even if it close to a common mispronunciation of my last name.

Pepsi Max.  “Cheating Heart, Part 47” – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:  guy works for Coke, but just can’t get enough Pepsi goodness.  Coke Guy must purchase/drink/bathe in Pepsi so much that he cannot even change out of his deliver uniform first.  Sound familiar?  That’s because Pepsi keeps trotting out this formula year after year.  This year’s version has Coke Guy winning a lifetime supply of Pepsi Max, complete with balloons, an oversized novelty check, and a cameo from Regis.  This was a funny concept in the early years with the surveillance video of the Coke Guy having thousands of Pepsi bottles falling out of the cooler, but it is time to retire it and move one.  C.

Toyota – “Reinvent Everything” – After reinventing the Camry, Toyota reinvents everything else (sexy couch, non-poooping babies, DMV arcade and ice cream parlor, etc.).  A clever concept, illustrated nicely (even if the rain that makes you skinny could be a commentary on acid rain).  A

Coca-Cola – “Bears, Part III” – Those polar bears are still watching the game.  The bear in the red scarf gets up, walks out in the middle of nowhere, and lets out a huge, mournful bellow – arguably lamenting a tough break for his team.  He then walks back, sits down, and takes a Coke from his friend.  This reminded me a lot of the 2009 Big XII Championship when Nebraska lost to Texas on a last second field goal (after a controversial replay added :01 to the clock).  I let out a similar mournful bellow outside too, and it likely got the attention of bears, penguins, and seals.  Then I went back inside and drank a Coke (with copious amounts of Jim Beam added).  B-

Oikos Greek Yogurt – “John Stamos” – A lady is sitting down to enjoy some blueberry Greek yogurt when John Stamos shows up.  John takes the spoon and starts teasing the poor woman with the delicious dairy treat until she can take it no more and head butts him to the floor.  I can totally relate to this ad.  Everytime I have a Pop Tart, Bob Saget drops in and teasingly waves it front of my face.  I can only get him to leave by pointing out how ridiculous it is that How I Met Your Mother’s Ted Moseby – a grown man – somehow undergoes a change in the next 20 years that makes him sound not at all like how he sounds today, but eerily reminiscent of Bob Saget.  But I digress…  C.

Century 21 – “Smarter, Bolder, Faster” – Century 21 uses celebrities prove that they are smarter than smart, bolder than bold, and faster than fast.  On the first watch, I really liked this ad.  I jotted down “good use of the celeb cameo”.  But the second time through I’m rethinking things.  Donald Trump is your benchmark for “smart”?  Really?  I would have gone with Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings.  When I think of Deion Sanders, “bold” is not a word that comes to mind.  I think of words like cocky, flashy, arrogant, ego, poor tackler.  Bold?  Not so much.  Off the top of my head I can’t think of a “bold” celeb, but sure they could find somebody better.  I have no real complaint about Apolo Anton Ohno being “faster”.  B-

Acura – “The First NSX” – Jerry Seinfeld wants to buy the first NSX, but some schmo beat him to it.  So Jerry proceeds to bribe and annoy the guy to get the car.  Some of the bits are pretty funny (Jerry offering a twenty for what will likely be an $80,000 sports car and offering dirty limericks in a 70’s tux were two favorites) and some were duds (what’s the deal with the alien in the body bag?).  When it looks like the guy is going to cave for Jerry’s Manhattan zipline, Jay Leno swoops in with a jet-pack/flying squirrel suit.  Bonus points for the “Seinfeld” references, especially the Newman-esque “Leno!” at the end.  Also, history will note this as the first Super Bowl ad to use the word “Nazi”.  Still not sure why Acura needed to spend all that money to hype a car costing more than median household income – especially when the fine print notes that the NSX shown is a prototype and the real version is “projected to debut in three years.”  B-

GE – “Appliance Park” – A feel-good ad from GE, touting how their refrigerator factory is providing jobs for Americans and helping to boost the economy.  I don’t dislike this commercial – I’m glad GE choose to highlight some of the people in the plant doing the hard work – but don’t love it either.  Nothing special for my tastes.  C-

Budweiser – “Great Times” – We start back at the end of Prohibition again, and flash through images of people drinking Bud to celebrate great historical moments in our country’s history – the end of the war, the moon landing, the 1980 hockey gold medal, along with some questionable moments – a Studio 54 type bar, people breakdancing, and a grunge concert.  The message seems to be that if something historic has happened, or if you’re partaking in the current music/dance craze, you should grab a Bud.  Bud can (and has) done better than this.  C-

Bridgestone – “Performance Basketball” – The Bridgestone folks are back in the lab, making basketballs out of tires with the goal of making the game quieter.  Sure enough, the tire basketball doesn’t make any noise when it is being dribbled, which allows it to pass the “sleeping baby” test.  The tire football ad wasn’t bad, and in theory, this should have been a nice compliment to the first spot.  But it was a failure.  A better application of the tire technology would be to have tread on the bottom of Steve Nash’s shoes to eliminate the squeaking.  And the sleeping baby test?  Aside from being so weird that the faux sportscaster looked appalled by it, it is not that great of a test.  Our God-daughter used to sleep soundly – in the middle of a bowling alley – so sleeping through a guy dripping a basketball isn’t much to write home about.  D

4th QUARTER

NFL – “Evolution” – We start with a kickoff of a football game in 1906.  The guy catches the ball and runs up field as the narrator tells us about all of the safety improvements the NFL has made over the years.  I really liked how they used the yardage markers on the field as their timeline (the 40 yard line was the 1940s, and so on), and they did a very nice editing job, stitching several players into the action.  I’m not really sure of why the NFL felt the need to produce this.  Are they acknowledging that the game, while seemingly more dangerous than ever is actually safer?  Is this part of the lockout ending settlement with the players?  And seriously – enough with the Deion Sanders cameos.  This makes three tonight.  C

Honda – “Matthew Broderick’s Day Off” – I’m not sure what to make of the new practice of companies pre-releasing their Super Bowl ad the week before the game.  Sure, I understand that you’re paying several million for the time and several million more for the ad, so you might as well get your money’s worth – especially if your slot is in the 4th Quarter of what could be a 56-7 blowout.  Yet, I’m glad that I resisted the urge to preview this (or any other) ad last week.  Even the best commercials have ever-diminishing returns:  the ad you think is hilarious the first time is know just funny, and next week it will barely produce a grin before you hate it forever.  One first view, this ad had all the things you look for in a good Super Bowl ad – a big name, great concept, funny scenes, and more.  By the 4th or 5th time through, it is still enjoyable – especially if you loved the movie – but the freshness is gone.  I’d rather see an ad like this earn its buzz on the days after the game than the days before it.  Oh – and I’d like to see more cameos from the original Ferris cast.  B+

“Act of Valor” – From the preview, it appears to be a remake of “Navy Seals”, but actually starring Navy Seals.  I’m reminded of the movie “Clerks”…

MetLife – “I Can Do this” – We start off with the Charlie Brown gang strolling through the hills, where they eventually meet up with HeMan, the Scooby Doo kids (and their meddling dog too), and some other assorted Warner Bros and Hanna Barbera B-listers.  At the end of the ad, every cartoon character you watched in the 1980s shows up and….well I’m not really sure why they are all there.  Something about financial security.  I know Snoopy is on the MetLife blimp, but otherwise, what exactly is the point of all the cartoon nostalgia?  Besides the gap between words and images, I’m subtracting points for Daphne getting out of the limo with Ritchie Rich.  Thanks for playing up the stereotype that the rich guys get the good-looking girls.  Bonus points for tucking Waldo in several of the shots.  I found him four times, and I assume he is in more.  Much like a dot-com stock, there was great early potential here, but it went away much too quickly.  C-

Hyundai – “Success in Business” – Joe Everyman is driving the corporate suit somewhere in his Hyundai when the boss man decides to share the one word definition of success in business.  The boss keels over, but the panicked Everyman successfully revives him through a combination of slamming on the brakes and flooring the gas pedal.  As we fade out, the boss (presumably) shares the secret to success.  Of course, “success” is a used relatively here.  I don’t know where the boss man was headed (it looked pretty remote), but a successful CEO would be a) flying, b) riding in a luxury auto, or c) driving his Acura NSX through the rolling hills – NOT riding in a Hyundai with Gary from Customer Service.  It looks like the Matthew Broderick commercial was more powerful than I thought – when the boss first slumped over, I started to get excited for a “Weekend at Bernie’s” revival.  B-

Bud Light – “Weego” – Finally, with under 12 minutes to go in the game, Bud Light brings out the formulaic laughs we’ve come to expect.  This guy has rescued a dog, named Weego.  When you call him (conveniently, using Bud Light’s current slogan of “here we go”) this so-ugly-he’s-cute dog runs and fetches a bottle of Bud Light to the amazement of all.  They never mention why a dog with such a handy talent needed to be rescued (maybe Bud Light Platinum put him out of a job?)  but I’m guessing Weego will be removed from his new owner for animal abuse – the poor dog gets asked to fetch beers 10 times in this ad alone.  Aware of this, Bud Light drops in a very PC “help rescue dogs” message at the end.  The beauty of the Bud Light Super Bowl comedy ad is the painfully simple premise that is mined for everything its worth – and they follow that formula nicely here.  A-

Kia – “Mr. Sandman” – A little elf (the last munchkin from the Seinfeld ad?) sprinkles dream dust on the wife who dreams of horseback riding through the field with a handsome guy (bonus points for resisting the urge for the Fabio cameo).  The elf goes to the other side of the bed to get the hubby, but trips over a slipper and dumps the whole bag on him – producing what we’re led to believe is the ultimate dream – fast cars, sexy women, giant sandwiches, MMA, and a Motley Crue concert.  But that much dream dust produces some strange images.  Certainly, I understand the hot chic waving the flag and the girls in bikinis in the grandstand, but the sly wink and arm flex from the lumberjack sawing the sandwich?  Awkward to say the least.  And if I’m dreaming of a Motley Crue concert, I’m going to dream about Crue from the 80s, and not sadly old and pudgy Crue.  And I’ll ignore the bucking rhino to address the other large animal in the room:  you’re driving your ultimate dream car around a race track and the best you can come up with is a Kia?  Seriously?  I’m guessing this guy has been driving a minivan for far too long.  Overall, a very fun ad and the best back-to-back combo of the night.  Plus, I loved the “Do not attempt” disclaimer as the guy drives out of his dream and into his wife’s dream.  That is good advice, corporate lawyers.  I will avoid driving into my wife’s dreams.  B+

CareerBuilder.com – “Business Trip” – Monkeys!!!  CareerBuilder has been running a really strong Super Bowl campaign over the past few years, using the monkeys as a great metaphor for the idiots at your job (not my job, though.  Good, hard-working people at my job) with the comedic gold of monkeys.  This time around, our poor corporate lackey is on a business trip with monkeys who make his life a living hell.  A bunch of great gags – the blurred object in the suitcase at TSA, the monkey strip club, the big toothy grin from the monkey who used his toothbrush, and the monkey hand on his upper thigh as they sleep.  Hilarious.  Sadly, this was a pretty faithful recreation of some of the business trips I was on with a previous employer, which I why I loved it so much.  Easily the funniest commercial of the night and one of the few LOL moments.  A

Samsung – “The Next Big Thing” – We see long lines of people waiting, presumably for the next iPhone.  But the sight of this amazing new mobile device causes mass chaos and an impromptu concert from a guy in pink and white striped spandex.  I’m not sure what amused me more – the not-so-subtle dig on Apple-ites and their determined pursuit of the next big thing (Samsung thinks you are sheep.  Sheep who will buy their phone).  Or was it the amazing new feature on this phone – a pen that you can use to draw on the screen.  So the great technological innovation in mobile devices is a stylus?  Did Samsung stumble upon a warehouse full of old Palm styluses?  My daughter would enjoy being able to color with it, but otherwise Samsung did not show me a good reason why I should pony up for their phone.  C-

Cadillac – “Green Hell” – A bunch of images of a prototype Caddy zooming through some brutally tough course in Germany, which will apparently make it strong enough to take on BMW and Mercedes.  Let’s compare:  one U.S. automaker is bringing out Clint Eastwood and a rousing, patriotic speech to get you to buy American.  Another U.S. automaker is touting how they had to go to Germany to build a better car.  Hmm…which one gives me confidence in the American automobile?  D

GoDaddy.com – “Internet Cloud” – Another piece of junk from the adolescent boys at GoDaddy.  The more I think about GoDaddy’s advertising strategy, the more questions I come up with.  Why does any legitimate person do business with a company that appears to be at best a soft core porn provider?  Who is the target audience?  Lonely IT nerds?  Who are the losers that click to “see more now”?  Surely they know they can get much more than what GoDaddy is (likely) providing with a few more clicks.  And the biggest question:  how well is this campaign working that they keep doing the same thing year after year?  Apparently it works, but for me it still doesn’t.  F.

Ahmad Bradshaw just scored the most pathetic game winning touchdown in the history of football.  Was he trying to mimic the moonwalk of Mr. Quiggles from Sketchers as he fell backwards into the end zone?

Game over – All Super Bowls should end with a Hail Mary that gets batted around.

What did we see?  Frankly, a bunch of so-so commercials.  It is up for debate whether that is due to our expectations of greatness creating an impossibly high bar, or if the ads are in a slump.  There was a lot more selling with sex than I’ve seen in the past.  More 80s references than an episode of Family Guy.  And if there was a dog in the ad, it likely was a good one.

Regardless, it was fun.  Thanks for staying with me through this marathon, and we’ll see you next year.

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3 Responses to “Super Ads”

  1. RJ February 7, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    About Ahmad Bradshaw’s touchdown. The Pat’s started screaming “Let him score Let him score” as the ball was being hiked and did not try to stop him so they would get the ball back. Manning was screaming “Don’t score Don’t score” but Bradshaw did not hear or understand that manning wanted the clock to keep running and when he did he tried to turn around and keep the ball from crossing the goal line but it was too late and he fell over backwards. This explanation came from Manning in one of the many TV interviews he gave Monday. It might have been on the Lettterman show, I just don’t remember.

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