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SuperBowl XL - an XL disappointment

 
 
 

SuperBowl XL - an XL disappointment

Super Bowl XL. Was it an XL disappointment?
Just like every year, the Super Bowl commercials this year were celebrity packed. Stars included with Fabio, Nimoy, P.Diddy, Jackie Chan, Jessica Simpson, lots of sports stars and many others. Even ABC's promos for Desparate Housewives went the celeb route. Then. of course, there's the chock-a-block use of animals, from chimps to horses, bears and felt frogs.

We saw a lot of tackles (from Michelob, Bud Light, AirTran's regional spot) too. But perhaps this was the year of "destruction" with Vault, Bud Light, Degree and Toyota Tacoma using this theme somewhere in their ads.

It was also a year of emotional advertising too, with ads from Dove, Toyota Camry, the Beer Institute, and Budweiser.

But as adgrunt Tlevitz so succinctly quipped "Verdict: The Super Bowl Commerical is a Victim of Its Own Legend "
Read on for the reviews and ratings from the core Adland posse.

PreGame

Vault - "Field of Dreams" :30
Summary: A man decides to give his son fifty yards of backyard and gets to building it by wrecking all of his neghbours backyards. Ad Agency: Publicis, NYC
Dab:
It starts so unassuming "Mitch must be proud of his boy..." Wha? Who's Mitch? And...my god - did that guy just chainsaw his way through a fence!? And then the tagline kicks you in the head, explaining the mayhem you just saw. I want me some of that! I don't care if it tastes like bubblegum drained through used athletes socks! Gimme!
Caff:
I'd hate to live next to that fella. I have to wonder if there's some sort of interesting social commentary in this, how many parents go to far for their kids. Nah. It's just all about destruction!
Clay:
Slogan: "Drinks like a soda. Kicks like an energy drink."
Translation: It has manly bubbles and tastes like ass.
Good spot. Bad neighbor.
Hint to beverage companies: Never name your product after a burial chamber. Why? Because in the proud tradition of Dr Pepper/Mr. Pibb and Mountain Dew/Sierra Mist, you'll soon have a competing product called Mausoleum. Mmmmm... Mausoleum.

Budweiser - One At Every Party :30
Dab:
Not bad, not bad at all. Considering how often these ads can get bland, preachy and even annoying they managed to make a decent spot here, complete with the return joke at the end. Also, very good time to air it.
Caff:
Very very decent designated driver spot.
Clay:
Seems a bit inspired by the current Tanqueray campaign - i.e. the food hog, party etiquette, breaking the fourth wall, etc. Good designated message though. Needed more cleavage.

Full Throttle - "Truck" :60 Summary: Tough men follow after a truck with a Full Throttle bottle behind it. Ad Agency: Mother, NYC
Dab:
That's what all the fuss was about? Heh.The big truck doesn't run the itty bitty Red Bull car off the road. It's just that the bigger truck has the bigger can, see? And that's what this is all about. Measuring cans.
Caff:
Oh only the macho macho men run after the truck. Yeah, right. Trying very hard to pinpoint their target market.
Clay:
What's a Super Bowl ad without chaos and wanton destruction!? Would also work as a WWE spot. Bonus half point for bear inclusion.
Slogan: "Let your man out."
Translation: This drink will be very popular in gay bars.

Vault - "Scarecrow" :60 Farmer gets creative reinventing the scarecrow. Ad Agency: Publicis, NYC
Dab:
Yesssss! Fire-spitting remote controlled robot-scarecrow. Oh I like this.
Caff:
I like this for the same reasons I liked Nationwide's robot spot. Similar but different. I prefered this one to the other one. A bit less far fetched, and yet still zany.
Clay: Good and violent and fun. Be nice to hippies, however

Pizza Hut - "Made for Poppin" :30 Summary: Singer Jessica Simpson causes a kid to pass out. Ad Agency: BBDO, NYC
Dab:
Is this something I need to be a lust-sick teenage boy to understand? ;) "Boots" is a great tune though, too good for this shill, so as far as jingles go, this will stick like the image of baby-sister Simpson Ashley lip synching on SNL.
Caff:
Not bad. Not great. But I do keep having that jingle in my head since hearing it. So for that it works. The funnier version is the Miss Piggy one.
Clay:
For Jessica Simpson version 2.5 for Miss Piggy version.
Lyric sample: "These bites were made for poppin'."
The concept for this is as bland as their pizza.
BBDO takes a song about women's liberation and turns it into the worst commercialized rewrite since Kraft Cheese Crumbles' wretched reworking of EMF's Unbelievable into "Crumbelievable." Listen up, Pizza Hut - You're running out on ways to bastardize the pizza experience with your insipid fad variations. Bring back the Priazzo instead - 20 years is long enough for me to wait. Grrr.

AT&T- "Transparency" :30 Summary: Special effects to make the world look transparent - revealing AT&T's hidden telecom network Ad Agency: GSD&M and Rogers Townsend
Dab: Honestly, I thought this was a little creepy. AT&T are everywhere, invisibly! Like germs, viruses and the NSA! EBOLA! Aaaaaah!
Caff:
Not a bad idea for showing something that is hard to show. I just don't like these ads that tell me how my world is different or unique, as if they know anything about me.
Clay:
Big. Expensive. Shiny. Completely forgettable.

Disney - "Practice" :30 Summary: NFL players practice saying "I'm going to Disney World/land" Ad Agency: Unknown (inhouse?)
Dab:
Huh? Oooh, it's referencing an ad I have not seen. So I guess I'll just judge it on it's direction - which ain't bad at all.
Caff:
Cute.
Clay:
Nice spin on the classic. I'll give you this one, Disney.


Blockbuster Summary: Talking head-type fella about promo. Ad Agency: TBA
Dab:
What the hell was that? I thought he was selling me a calling plan. So it's like Netflix but with bad advertising?
Caff:
Yawn. Not what I'd consider a Super Bowl ad. Half a point for trying for reach and frequency.
Clay:
Proves once again how easily one can turn a once perfectly good company into complete crap. And just like crap, this spot can easily be flushed away and forgotten. Listen up, Blockbuster. You run this same single damn boring ad three thousand times during the biggest night on television - an ad so boring that the arthritis medication commercials cause mind-blowing orgasms by comparison - and what's your message? That you're just like Netflix, only with more overhead. Brilliant.

Bud Light - Moral Booster Summary: Workers are inspired by hidden Bud Lights around the office. Ad Agency: TBA
Dab:
Mighty silly carrot. Mayhem ensues. Good for a very cheap larf. Still, it's not exactly award winning stuff this is it?
Caff:
Destruction. A Super Bowl commercial's best friend. The first tackle of the night too. Got a "heh" out of me.
Clay:
This one came straight out of the patented Bud Light Institute Instant Wackymercial Maker 2000. Fun, but they've done much better.

Burger King - "Whopperettes" :60 Summary: The King and Brooke Burke star with the 92 "Whopperettes" dressed as burgers, flames, and pickles while singing and dancing to new "Have it Your Way" jingle lyrics. Ad Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, Fla. Related website: whopperettes.com
Dab:
stunned silence.
Ho-kay. It's clear they're going for that special surreal magic that last years "Fantasy Ranch" had, and the sheer lunacy of dancing salad and onions is up there, as are the lyrics. But they mess the magic up at the end with the extra slapsticky sound effects as the tomato-lady plops herself down on the beef-lady. Still, I think people are going to love this. Who's that girl dressed as the top bun again?
Caff:
The tomato and lettuce gals through the water shot was witty, and how they got tossed onto the bun. I could still care less about Brook Burke.
Clay:
I would have given it five marks, but it looks like those tomato women were left out on the counter a little too long. Beautiful production. Working "schpiel," "hard core" and "freaky king" into a burger spot featuring a grunting multiple lady sandwich was brilliant.

Pepsi-Cola Co. - Sierra Mist :30 Summary: Features the Mis-Takes improv group and one can't get a bottle through airport security. Ad Agency: BBDO, New York
Dab:
Call me stuffy, but I don't think it's wise to crack security at airport jokes when recent years have brought on some insane airport security measures. Innocent people like three years old kids on "terrarist alert" no fly lists, chefs robbed of their sauce-pans as they might be "a weapon", and all sorts of crap. It's just begging to become unfunny, which indeed it did. Meh.
Caff:
Probably one of the funnier of the Mis-takes ads, of which I'm not a huge fan. Just don't find them very humorous. And, yes, I do get dry humor.
Clay:
Jim Gaffigan is a comedy god, and he deserves much more than just a poop finger gag. Somebody get him into a Hot Pockets campaign already!

Bud Light - Magic Fridge Summary: Using a revolving wall, two guys hide their beer in their neighbor's apartment. Ad Agency: DDB Worldwide
Dab:
Heh. Silly boys. I'm sure they're hoping Bud-fans all over will mimic the fridge praying move, but that comic relief could be seen coming a mile away.
Caff:
Guys at the end made the spot worthwhile.
Clay:
That's more like it. I'm betting this one was made in Canada.

Toyota Motor Corp. - 2007 Camry Hybrid- Bilingual :30 Summary: A Hispanic father explains how the hybrid car switches between gas and electric power, the son compares it to his father switching between English and Spanish. Ad Agency: Conill Advertising, Torrance, Calif
Dab:
The only thing I noticed about his ad was dads intense blue eyes. It's not a bad way of explaining the car, and it's nice to see a non-stereotypical ad starring a hispanic family for once. But that's all it is, lukewarm.
Caff:
Schmaltzy. And not in a good way. Feels too forced and not very real.
Clay:
Bland as a Camry, so it's a perfect fit. At least it's a hybrid. Next time, make it an English/Pirate-talk bilingual thing - "Ferrr yarrrr futurrrrrrrrre!"

FedEx - "Stick" :45 Summary: Caveman uses prehistoric overnight delivery via pterodactyl. Ad Agency: BBDO, New York
Dab:
Nooooo!
Massive dissapointment. I always look forward to Fedex as they are, suprising but always with a point. I loved We Apologize (1998) and Fedex Alien (2004) had me in stitches... But this....Ugh. This didn't work at all for me. It feels like they had demo-love for some old Cup-a-Noodle advert and re-did it minus the funny.
Caff:
Good. Follows in the footsteps of other great FedEx ads. Benefit shows well. And "on brand". Still have to wonder how they know of FedEx if it hadn't been invented.
Clay:
My favorite of the year. I know a few who hated this one, but I found it brilliant, absurd and fun as all gitout. I'll ignore the "early man lived after the dinos" argument, because it was so damn great - this was the only spot this year to get me to laugh out loud more than once. And yes, I own Ringo Starr's Caveman on DVD. FedEx is important.

Bud Light - Grizzley bear attack Summary: A hiker is attacked by a bear. When he tries to allay him with beer, his friend steals it. Ad Agency: DDB Chicago
Dab:
*Moahahaha* What a bastard. I laugh but I'll soon forget which beer made me smile, or why. Extra half point for the fulfilling the superbowl tradition of using a bear in an ad, without me seeing the theft gag coming.
Caff:
I know too many guys like that. I wanted to see the bear get drunk. Good way to make you look left then right.
Clay:
Strange that I watched Grizzly Man on the Discovery Channel two nights before the Super Bowl. Had an eerie effect, but I think it made it even better. I wish I could say that I saw the main gag coming, but I didn't. Good job. Beer is important.

Pepsi-Cola Co.- Diet Pepsi: "Hip-Hop Can" (:60) Summary: The can's agent, Jay Mohr, meets Sean (P. Diddy) Combs turns to Diet Pepsi to help him produce a new hit song. They both go into the studio to create a new track, "Brown and Bubbly," that immediately races up the charts. Ad Agency: DDB, New York
Dab:
(Can't review this ad, too busy laughing at Caff's dirty mind, and Clays which is even worse. Ahaha, my sides hurt.)
Caff :
Alright spot. Am I the only one who thought something a bit phallic about the top popping up and the mist?
Clay:
Catchy tune. Perhaps not coincidentally, "brown and bubbly" is also happens when you eat PepsiCo's Frito-Lay Wow! Chips with Olean.

Bayer - Aleve - "Nimoy" :30 Summary:Leonard Nimoy's hand pain gets in the way of a gig. Ad Agency: Energy BBDO, Chicago
Dab:
What is this, a Mac Keynote speech? *rubs eyes* Heh.
For the product advertised, this is pretty funny though. Gets an OK.
Caff:
Ah yes, it *was* a Star Trek convention. How conventional. ;)
Clay:
Typecast, anyone? Good job making the concept fit the product though.

Ameriquest Mortgage Co. - :30s Summary: Patient's family walks in on medical misunderstanding. Ad Agency: DDB, Los Angeles
Dab:
HA! Oh I am going to hell for finding that so darn funny. Hell!
Caff:
Better of the two. Still not quite up to last years. Although I did love the killing of the fly bit. Strong concept but I'm stuck in comparison land to last year.
Clay:
Everything about this ad adds to the funny. Great spot to a great campaign.

Bud Light - Rooftop Summary: Men grilling and drinking beer when supposed to be working on the roof. Ad Agency: DDB Chicago
Dab:
Are all guys lazy-ass bastards or is this only in the beer-ad universe? Kinda funny, and if y'all need me, I'll be on the roof fixing the antenna.
Caff:
Sorta so so. Did give an extra point for the tool box hitting the guy on the head.
Clay:
Hooray beer and personal injury! God bless Bud Light.

Up next - 2nd Quarter

Comments

The big looser that no one seems to be mentioning IMHO is Mobile ESPN. I just want to know what marketing genius felt it was a great idea to leave out the URL: http://mobileespn.com/ out of ALL their Superbowl ads? The one 30 second ad which ran at least twice and the 15 second ads which ran 3-4 times?

They must just want people to KNOW that they have a new sports related wireless products, but they really don't want to acually SELL any of these products to people watching the Superbowl.

This has to be one of the biggest marketing blunders in Superbowl ad history.

I really just don't get it?

Dan

Good point, but I'll come up with two excuses for them anyway:

1) They want people to go to Best Buy to check it out. That way, they can see it, and more importantly, hold it and boop around on it - that's half the sale right there.

2) Most people who are able to use advanced cell phone features are also able to type "Mobile ESPN" into Google. As for the rest... well... even if the URL was shown, they'd type it into their MSN search bar anyway instead of the address bar.

National brand no longer really need to show their URLs in their commercials - that is, unless the campaign continues at the website or their URL is clownpenis.fart or something. You type "Coke" into Google, and you get the Coke website. If you type "Mobile ESPN" into Google, and you get Mobile ESPN at the top result. The rules have changed now that the mid-90s are over.

Does anyone else see CP+B stumbing a bit recently? The Cock Rock campaign, the Coke work, and the Fantasy Ranch, I mean the Wopperettes ad doesn't seem like the stuff Gold Lions are made of. Ok, maybe this is just my bitterness about constantly hearing, "Why can't we do the kind of work Crispin does?"

Did anyone else think the beer ads all sort of run together? I doubt those not in the ad business would know what ad was for which beer.

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