Getting an ad spot during the Super Bowl is an advertiser’s wet dream-which explains the ridiculously high pricetag (even as far as advertising’s concerned), and overhyping of the ads.
And yet, these past couple of years, the ads have been sorely disappointing. It’s like the bozos who make the ads think we’ll all love all the garbage they slap on our TV screens, just because we expect Super Bowl ads to be funny, quirky or innovative.
They’re wrong; while each year produces some true gems, most of it is either unmemorable or memorable for all the wrong reasons. This year had a mixture of all three. I give to you a review of the best and worst of this year’s Super Bowl commercials.
Bud Light: Rock, paper, scissors
So simple, yet so effective. Two guys, vying for the last Bud Light, go for the tried-and-true problem solving method: rock, paper, scissors. Except when the first guy pulls out “paper,” the other guy throws an actual rock. The only way this could have been better was if the guy threw a pair of scissors instead.
Coca-Cola: Grand Theft Auto parody
If you’re not a video gamer, you probably didn’t get the reference. But it’s still brilliant. A guy who looks suspiciously like the silent protagonist from GTA:III walks into a store, about to rob it-then drinks a Coke, and walks around performing random acts of kindness. I knew it was a GTA reference when he yanked open that car’s door, before proceeding to do everything you’re not expected to do in that game. It made me chuckle.
Nationwide: K-Fed goes for broke
I doubt K-Fed’s ‘debut’ album sold more than 10 copies, which is why this commercial had me rolling in my chair (but not on the ground-none of the spots were that funny). Starting off with a blinged-out K-Fed rapping away, surrounded by bright lights and big booties, the ad then cuts to him working the fries at your local Burger Crap. Trivia: the last celebrity to poke fun at his falling career-though it’s debatable whether K-Fed ever had one to begin with-in a TV ad was MC Hammer. Non-coincidentally, it was also a spot for Nationwide Insurance.
The Decently Memorable
Emerald Nuts: Robert Goulet on the loose
This skit teaches us that Robert Goulet (for those of you who, like me, didn’t recognize the name at first: he’s the guy Will Ferrell spoofed in the skit where he’s promoting his new rap album) likes to sneak around the office, causing mischief and mayhem by spilling coffee on keyboards and duct taping people to chairs. The moral of the story: eating just one Emerald Nut is enough to send Goulet crawling away on the ceiling. Lesson learned.
Doritos: Boy meets girl
In this spot, a guy is driving a car, spots a girl, and crashes. Naturally, they’re both eating Doritos at the time. The situation is used to point out Doritos’ qualities (the boy is “cheesy,” the girl is “spicy,” and the crash is “crunchy”), to great success. The commercial was different, and featured a very awkward moment with a very happy ending. The best part was the fact that it was done by people our age, with a budget of $12, with an execution most million-dollar McCommercials can only dream of pulling off. Morons, er, I mean, advertising suits: please take notes.
Sprint: Connectile Dysfunction
This one advertises the cure for an apparently commonplace condition known as Connectile Dysfunction (CD). The poor folks afflicted with this condition can’t network with anyone, and it really gets them down.
Fortunately for them, Sprint has a solution-a nifty new network card to get their connections up and running. This spot earns my seal of approval for taking a jab at the root of all evil: drug commercials. If there’s one thing more insidiously evil than the pharmaceutical companies themselves, it’s their advertising. It represents everything that’s wrong with medicine, marketing, and society in general. Hats off to Sprint for poking fun at the bastards.
The Insultingly Deplorable
General Motors: Robot Suicide
It starts off simple enough, then goes horribly, horribly wrong. An assembly line robot screws up, gets fired, gets depressed, then finally jumps off a bridge, only to wake up and find out it was all a bad dream. Ha, ha. Good one, jackasses. I’m sure all the workers you just laid off, as well as the families of people who have actually jumped off of bridges share your laughter. You wonder why GM is in the gutter right now, and after seeing this commercial, I doubt they’ll ever get out. In fact, I hope they don’t.
I never thought I’d see the day. Advertising has become self-conscious, and I weep for the world. The perennial, sublime pitch of any ad, “use our product and you’ll drive fancy cars, get hit on by hot women and have your boss kiss your ass in front of all your colleagues,” has been presented in the most brazenly obvious manner ever. I should have expected this from a sales company-those snakes really do know no lows. They may not even be human.
Snickers: I have officially lost all hope for mankind
Enough has been said about this commercial, so I’ll keep it short. The blatant homophobia doesn’t bug me that much. Neither does the blatant man-on-man action. I’ll leave that discussion for the pundits. What really bugs me, though, is how they can make a commercial so stupid and expect us to think it’s funny. Future advertisers, heed my advice: please, don’t ever make commercials like this. There may still be hope left in me.
And that does it for my review of this year’s Super Bowl ads. We now return to our regularly scheduled crappy commercials.
You can watch the commercials at http://www.youtube.com/superbowl
Jay Rooney is the Opinion Editor and a senior majoring in journalism and history. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org