|
|
|
St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Super Bowl: Bad Game, Lackluster Commercials

    • email print
      Comment
  • Quick Super Bowl question: what was worse, the 43-8 clobbering, or the uninspiring commercials? Answer: It's probably a push. Super Bowl advertizements set another record this year, at a cool $4 million for 30 seconds of air time. The cost of a 30-second ad has skyrocketed an astounding 70 percent since 2004, when the price tag was $2.3 million. Judging by the quality of the ads Sunday, it wasn't money well spent. Right off the bat, you know it was going to be a rough night with that turgid Ford ad for their Fusion Hybrid getting double the average miles per gallon--talk about overwrought! Between fronting that ad, and sleeping his way through hosting the Academy Awards a few years ago, you have to wonder seriously about James Franco's judgment. Also complete garbage was the Bud Light “Up for Whatever” spot where an “unsuspecting” guy is tossed into a succession of bizarre situations, like meeting Don Cheadle in an elevator with a llama, beating an oddly-costumed Arnold Schwarzenegger in Ping-Pong, and ending up on stage with OneRepublic. It was incredible hype, promise and build-up that delivered nothing but pointless moves from non-sequitur to non-sequitur. (Some would say that accurately describes my life. Perhaps, but I still don't want to see it in a television commercial.) Also overselling and underwhelming was the GoDaddy ad where a woman quit her job and...and, well, that was it. Lame! (Also, she does puppet shows? There's a career in that? Good luck, lady.) Bruce Willis for Honda Safety was another disaster. He just stood there for what seemed like an eternity telling us all to hug each other while Fred Armisen was wrapped around his torso like a sloth hanging around a tree trunk. You wanted to laugh, but it was supposed to be a serious ad about safety. That kind of cognitive dissonance is always a no-no. At the start of the ad, Willis said he wouldn't be living up to his action star persona by blowing stuff up; midway through the commercial, I wanted to blow myself up! Also, tip for Soda Stream: if you have Scarlett Johansson actually say you want the ad to “go viral,” it absolutely will not go viral--especially when all she does is sip a drink. You have the actress many consider the sexiest woman on the planet, and that's all you do? Talk about a lack of imagination. On a more positive note, the three best ads, for me, were each star-fronted. First, you had Tim Tebow in two ads for T-Mobile reminding everyone of the company's willingness to buy out people's wireless contracts. Tebow made the point that contracts were bad, winking at his own inability to get a deal in the NFL. Because he wasn't in the league this year, he was able to avail himself of all manner of special opportunities, like saving puppies from burning buildings, tackling Bigfoot, and delivering babies. Personally, I, like many, dislike Tebow, but self-deprecating humor is always a winner, and it actually made sense and enhanced the commercial. Winner! Speaking of self-deprecating humor, Radio Shack also did well to acknowledge their own dated image by bringing in 1980s icons--like Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, and “Cheers'” John Ratzenberger--to ransack their store. The message? The store is leaving that bygone era behind and moving into the modern era. Brilliant! Finally, how do you assure a celebrity in your ad will have true gravitas? You take someone like Bob Dylan, a bastion of anti-establishmentism famous for never selling out and rarely cooperating, and have him deliver a defiant ode to American invention and ingenuity on behalf of Chrysler and Detroit. “American pride can't be imported,” he proclaimed. “Let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.” They even got Dylan to take off his shades, which he famously wouldn't do even when President Obama presented him with the Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2012. My personal favorite ad, though, aired during halftime, and it was for a series--“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”--I've never seen. So, why did it so delight me? Because it put Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander (George Costanza), and Wayne Knight (Newman) back in character from their days on the greatest television show of all time, “Seinfeld.” It was only a few moments, but the conversation rang true; it was just the same inane, blessed nothingness that the show thrived on--which makes sense, because it was written by “Seinfeld” creators Larry David and Seinfeld. (P.S. The best "ad" wasn't an ad at all, unless you consider it a commercial for Joe Namath proving to still be the coolest man on the planet with that coat he sported during the coin toss. "Broadway Joe" has still got it, obviously. Look, I love animals, and so I'm anti-fur...but, come on, that coat was marvelous.)

        calendar