Goldieblox and Weathertech, the two sides of America in the super bowl.

 
 

Goldieblox and Weathertech, the two sides of America in the super bowl.

I Doge-plated* the super bowl of 2014: Such patriotism. So flag-waving. Wow. America.

The 2014 Super Bowl Commercials reveal an interesting schism between winners and losers, there's America and then there's America. There's two teams duking it out here, and you can see it in the Super bowl ads.

Using the "America, rah rah" patriotic tactic worked better for some brands than for others. Coca Cola sung "America the beautiful" in many languages, which we've sort of already seen in both Hilltop and Hilltop reunion, as what it boils down to is people of all backgrounds, singing together. With an added dash of "rah rah, America", this time. It was well shot, full of diversity, and possibly not written by only a team of white hipster guys in an ad agency. Sure sure.

Nothing groundbreaking there, but a surprise contender was Weathertech - "You can't do that", which promises made in USA laser cut floor-mats to lay down in your made in America, Chrysler "import" car. It was smart of a non-sexy product to push their "made in America" angle on this super bowl, where every ad seemed to have a dollop of patriotism. A made in America niche product put together its advertising budget skillfully, and managed to make an ad that doesn't look out of place in the Super bowl. No pre-press, no stars, no overbudgeted hype. Just a straight up promise and a description of the company - #AmericanFactories #AmericanRawMaterials #AmericanWorkers - shared with a wink in the execution. America likes it.

Meanwhile, as the polar opposite of that is Goldieblox, the pandoras box of marketing hype that won a slot in the Super Bowl from Intuit Quickbooks. Founded by Debbie Sterling, 29 years young, the graduate of product Design at Stanford in '05 has cut her teeth working in branding and marketing ever since. She's come up with the pitch-perfect product for these interesting times, a toy targeted to girls (parents) that claims to promote STEM thoughts. It's not a gender neutral building toy like Qubits, it's not a programmable toy like Lego Mindstorm. It's not even a doll house toy that teaches you about physics and electricity created by engineers from MIT & Caltech. It's a book starring a golden haired heroine, coupled with some yellow spools & string.
Hung up on the idea that "narrative play" is for girls Goldieblox is steeped in sly sexism that's simply designed to part parents from their money. The brilliance is in how it's marketed. It was kickstarter funded, Upworthy seeded, and talked about everywhere. They had a youtube spot where little girls sang Queen's "we are the champions" (where the music was not licensed) on youtube and hordes of fans already. Then Goldieblox competed for this Intuit super bowl spot. Mid-voting, when according to sources, ad agency RPA already had shot the four commercials for the four potential super bowl ad winners, Goldieblox released their Beastie boys soundtracked "Girls" ad on youtube, and encouraged people to vote for their submission in Intuit's competition.

When the "Girls" ad got attention - it was on Upworthy so it would - Goldieblox filed a preemptive suit against the Beastie Boys claiming using their song was "fair use", but the press represented it as the girl-underdogs were being trampled on by the big bad music business. With all the ensuing attention, getting voted for at Intuit's page was as easy as linking it, and the Super Bowl ad was a given. As soon as the Goldieblox commercial aired bots on twitter congratulated Goldieblox for the ad incessantly, perhaps to ensure notice in the roundups of "most talked about" super bowl ads.

And talked about it is. People are understanding that what's being sold to you in that pink toy, that promises to "disrupt the pink aisle" by adding yet another blond heroine to it, is the idea of 'empowering' your daughter more than anything else. Meanwhile, the yellow spools, pink ribbons and purple board are made in China. China! A country that has a notoriously bad track record for girls, starting with the 2000-year old tradition of female infanticide. "18 million and rising" a group for activating Asian americans demands in this petition GoldieBlox: Tell us more about your Chinese supplier, to find out more about the Chinese supplier Goldieblox uses before they can with good conscience buy the toy. To draw things out, the Google approved legal team for Goldieblox have gotten permission to delay their response to the Beastie Boys until after the Super Bowl. MusicTechPolicy is trying to piece together the Goldieblox timeline, because after NORML were pushed out of the competition by Intuit, Goldieblox really didn't have much in the way of competition.

Being in the super bowl only adds to the copyright controversy, as when the Slade song was licensed for the super bowl, it undermines Goldieblox's "parody" & "fair use" positioning in the suit against the Beastie Boys. Speaking of the "parody" defense, using Beastie Boys name in the title and promotion of the "Girls" ad veers into trademark territory, where there's no such thing as a parody defense. The reverse copyright trolling done by Goldieblox is where "disruptive" becomes douchebaggery, where they're not shaking up the market as much as disregarding the livelihoods of everyone from the American factory worker, to songwriters in the process. There's your other side of America, kids. #NotAmericanFactories #AmericanIP-theft #AmericanWorkersIgnored. At least the lawyers are getting paid.


Intuit QuickBooks Presents GoldieBlox - Come On Bring The Toys

Meanwhile, Jaguar embraced that it's good to be bad with a British accent, which was the least American ad of the night, served up by a very British brand trying to compete with the American cars of the Super Bowl. The difference is, we really like when those blokes play bad guys.

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