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Monday, February 05, 2007

The Superbowl in Hindsight

The Superbowl was great. It was a game worth watching, and SaurKid was so excited that I wasn't allowed to look away for a moment. Toward the end, he was getting fidgety, but I can't blame him since I fell asleep after the halftime show and woke up just before they declared the Colts to be the winners!

Although I preferred the Bears, there was no coach better deserving of an award than Tony Dungy (of the Colts). While I didn't know Tony personally, I have a friend who knew him well when he was a coach for the Tampa Bay Bucs. Tony was well-loved, admired, and respected by all for his gentlemanly style, his calm and steady demeanor, and his Christian faith. When his son killed himself last year, many people mourned him for Tony's sake. But Tony soldiered on and this Superbowl was, perhaps, his reward.

Halftime was interesting, wasn't it? Prince must have the best plastic surgeon in the world. The man is an artist! He should win awards! Prince actually looks younger than he did in the 80s, and prettier, too. Although his music never really appealed to me (why do they keep inviting has-beens, anyway?), he pulled it off as well as anyone could. But who was the large woman who went prancing by in white rags, and joined him briefly at the mic? Does anyone know?

And did you notice that if it was up to the TV set, we'd never know that either team had cheerleaders? It's no loss, IMHO, but it's very interesing.

Overall, the commercials were pitiful. Oddly, some companies chose to air the same commercials they've been airing for months. Geico really missed big when they chose to air an old caveman commercial, instead of introducing a new one.

The Doritos ad was previewed to many of us before the Superbowl, and it wasn't impressive then. Although the gimick is admirable (see if you can get the fans fired up by causing them to compete to film ads for your company) the result is bland. The lesson to be learned: It's fine to encourage amateurs to donate time and energy to your cause, but don't air the results on the biggest commercial day of the year.

The other Doritos commercial, "Cleanup on Register 6", displayed excellent comedic chemistry between the two people but the ending was foul (hint: it's the title of the piece). SaurKid turned to me and said "I don't get it!" "You don't want to," I replied, crossly.

Salesgenie.com produced an ad that was able to simultaneously insult intelligence, blonds, women, sales people, and people who work hard. A scrawny giddy blond runs up to some guy in the office and asks breathlessly if she can go for a ride in his new sports car. As he goes through the office, others fawn all over him. He finally reveals his secret: He uses some kind of sales data base because people who work hard are fools, and he works "smarter", not harder. I am not even going to bother to pick this horror apart. It speaks for itself.

Sierra Mist continues the tradition of atrociously horrid Superbowl ads by producing two more pitiful ones. One guy wears tacky clothing and has a horrid combover, and is shown as an example of a "bad" decision, but his boss is drinking Sierra Mist, which is a "good" decision. Another commercial has the same comedians doing some sort of martial arts class which teaches how to defend your Sierra Mist. I think. Needless to say... *yawn*

Budweiser, one of the bright shining lights in a murk of awful productions, has once again produced memorable, funny commercials. They include "Rock, Paper, Scissors," "Wedding Auction", "Mind of Mencia", "Dalmations", "Slap Fight", "Gossip Problems", "What'd You Say?", "It's a Bottle Opener!", "Our God", and "Shula vs. Jay-Z".

Blockbuster's "Click a Mouse" ad is at least a year old (maybe two)? Are they losing so much market share to NetFlix that they can't afford a new one? Great commercial, time for the sequel.

FedEx's "Moon Office" was cute, but didn't really say much about the product. Why was a dog floating around the office, anyway? Are restrictions loosened on the moon? And who cleans up the doggy poo? Those questions were floating around in my head as the song "The Final Countdown" played at the end, which also made me wonder "Why is it the final countdown? Is there some disaster awaiting these moonies?" Good graphics, but the unintended subconscious messages caused it to fall flat.

Their other commercial, "Names", has everyone arguing over the name "FedEx Ground." The argument is that FedEx Ground is a very fast service, and the name doesn't mean anything. Then they ask for agreement from all the little toadies that are standing around, whose names do represent what they are. It sends a mixed message, at best.

Schick's "Quatro Titanium" is another yawner. And does anyone really believe it takes all that to create a razor? With that much research and scientists contributing to it, that razor had better sit up and tell you all the day's headlines as you shave.

The Toyota ads bored me. One guy that was watching briefly looked up and commented on how strong the truck seemed to be, but otherwise everyone was reaching for the chips and dip.

Chevy's "Sing a Song" was a commercial featuring lots of people singing rather poorly while ogling Chevy products. I think they could've produced something a little snappier.

Snickers' "The Kiss" had the makings of being great. Demonstrating homophobia in a pair of brawny males can still be funny to most blue-collar Americans. Here's how it was set up: Two guys, working on a car. Guy #1 sticks a Snicker's Bar in his mouth. Guy #2 is so enamoured with Snickers that he can't resist chomping on the other end. When they meet, mouth-to-mouth, they jump apart and decide to do something "manly" which involves ripping hair off their chests. All good, except for the ending. I would've stopped at the "kiss" and had RuPaul come flouncing in with a wisecrack, instead.

My mother went to school with Ken Howard, and she assured us that he was a very nice guy, so our family has always rooted for him. However, I didn't recognize him in the new GoDaddy commercials at first, due to some very extensive plastic surgery and bad hair dye. Still, Ken was the only good thing that came out of that commercial. Their advertising department seems to think that big-boobed women pole dancing will sell their product for them. Perhaps they're right, but I wonder if they're missing their mark at this point. The initial shock value (which they sought a couple of years ago) is gone, and there are many women who also might want to use their services. These women are being ignored.

Coke surprised me by re-running two commercials: "Give a Little Love" (an obvious take-off from the Grand Theft Auto game) is clever, but it was introduced last year. "Where Your Quarter Goes" is a viewer's delight and is quite entertaining.

Coke's "I Have a Dream" was a nice tribute to MLK, but I don't know if it will do anything for sales. "The First Diet Coke" was about an old man in a nursing home who takes his first swig of Diet Coke, asks "What else have I been missing?" and proceeds to go out and live it up. That was pretty funny, and it created a strong message that if you're missing out on Coke, you're missing out on life.

The Honda, Lexus and Nissan ads were dull as dirt.

Garmin's "Mapzilla" was very clever, with excellent graphics that entertained. A large map becomes Mapzilla and a GPS unit becomes it's arch enemy. They battle it out, and send the message that GPS units have conquered the mystery of maps.

Chevy's "All Male Carwash" was pitiful. I didn't even recognize the product. All I felt was a slight sense of concern for those women who were stuck in a car as ugly, semi-nude men crawled all over it. Later, I discovered it was an ad for Chevy... and that's because I bothered to hunt it down. Most people won't.

Careerbuilder.com decided to try the whole theme of survival in the workplace. The ads were cute, clever, and it was fun to watch people running from pens (instead of dart guns), dodge large watercooler bottles swinging down from trees, and dueling to the death. Many of us can identify with it.

The American Heart Association tried to weigh in with a commercial that fell flat because it simply took too long to get to the point. You see this idiot wearing a silk heart costume, and then various bad guys wearing labels like "High Blood Pressure" take turns beating him up. You keep expecting something else to happen, but nothing does. They really needed a superhero to show up at the end, wearing the American Heart Association symbol on his chest, but he never came.

GM's "Robot Unemployment" made us feel very badly for the cute little robot and gave us the unintentional message that GM is heartless to it's employees.

Sprint's "Connectile Dysfunction" tried to poke fun at erectile dysfunction commercials. Sorry guys, that was all played out last year... and they didn't even do a good job of spoofing those commercials! This was another commercial that made such a drab impression, I had to do some research to discover which company produced it!

"Dungy and Smith" was a dull little Frito-Lay commercial showing lots of black people watching the Superbowl. OK, we get it! Dungy and Smith are the first black coaches in Superbowl. It's sad that so many people are trying to make a big deal out of their color, instead of their quality. It's no surprise that Frito-Lay was the only company to do this: It's kind of a moot point. Again, this commercial was not able to produce brand identification.

E-Trade's "Bank Robbers" was a magnificent commercial. It was able to convey that your own bank is robbing you, and you need to turn to E-Trade instead. It was attention-grabbing, with a message that packed a punch and strong branding. This is the firm that Frito-Lay should have turned to.

I didn't like Van Heusen's "A Day in Reverse" but it got the message across that if you wear Van Heusen, you get to sleep with a sexy girl and the clothes aren't half bad, either. Although I felt the graphics weren't up to the standards of the Coke or FedEx commercials, and I wasn't sure why the guy was regressing through the day, losing clothes as he went, I think it did what it was intended to do.

SaurKid and I liked Taco Bell's "Lions", despite the fact that there are no Taco Bells in the wilderness of Africa. Cute, simple, and you remember the brand.

Robert Goulet made his appearance in Emerald Nuts' "Low Blood Sugar". It was just kooky enough to be hysterical. The premise is that if you don't keep snacks on hand (such as Emerald Nuts) you can get low blood sugar and your work can suffer. But their advertising firm substituted "Robert Goulet" for "low blood sugar" and a marvellous commercial was born which includes Goulet climbing on the ceiling, tearing up paper and eating it, and generally wrecking havoc.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance has proven that Kevin Federline has no shame. It shows him going from being a rapper to working in a fast food joint and doles out the message that it can all be over in a split second. The fact that it rings appallingly true for Kevin may be irony at it's finest, but it gets the message across.

Prudential's "The Rock" just talked about various uses for rocks. At the end they mentioned that they were a rock, too. Or something like that. They need to perform a little corporate espionage, and discover the marketing firm for Emerald Nuts.

Izod's "Snow Globe" had people playing winter sports, morphing into people enjoying the tropics. In the end you see everything pull away to show that they're swimming in the Izod Islands, apparently. Finally the camera pulls away to show you that even this is part of a snow globe. Good graphics, and at least they had the foresight to put the name "Izod" in there in island form. Izod is enjoying a resurgence among teens, who no longer identify it with their grandfathers, so it's a good commercial targeted more at them than toward the rest of us.

E-Trade's "One Finger": Do you really want to associate your product with a proctology exam? Enough said.

Snapple's "Quest for Snapple" was disappointing. As one reviewer said, "Guy travels great distances to find the elusive answer to the eternal question ... "what is EGCG?" He's told he could have learned the answer by looking at the back of the bottle. Clearly, drinking Snapple green tea makes you stupid, and we want no part of such a product." I couldn't agree more.

15 comments:

~QZ~ said...

why would the american heart association need to advertise, are they selling hearts? i didnt' watch the game, or even know who won. we don't get TEEVEE here in the backcountry

Matt said...

Budweiser has always been a patron of the arts.

~Deb said...

I wasn't quite impressed with the commercials either! And the one where the little robot jumps into the river to commit suicide could have and probably did offend a lot of sensitive people. Even the one with the 'heart attack' offended many.

Anyway, Prince did look great, but I wondered how all of them didn't get electrocuted in all that rain while dealing with all their equipment.

Cranky Yankee said...

I thought it was interesting that he played a Foo Fighters song.

Scott said...

Prince rocked out there. People forget what a great guitar player he is.

Up here in Canada we get the US ads bumped by ones for Canadian products, they are not at all entertaining.

Cranky Yankee said...

Scott - True, I bet the Foo Fighters wish they they could play The Best of You as well as he did....in the pouring rain.

He is a great guitar player, but not really my cup of tea.

Respect and props to the man...

I think they should get Borat next year.

daveawayfromhome said...

Hey, Saur, how about some links to the good ones for all of us lazy folks?

The Lazy Iguana said...

I thought the commercials were weak this year. Too many ads I had already seen. I did like the Toyota commercial - it made me want to go out and steal a new Tundra so I could put the cool oversize disk brakes on my Tacoma!

But all the rain ruined my plans to start a riot so that I could get those oversize brakes, a 1080p television, a PS3 game system, and whatever else I could loot.

The game was the best game I saw all season. Of course it was also the only game I watched all season. If you do not watch any games, the Super Bowl is never a total snoozer. It helps to be at a party, so if you get bored you can always go hang out with the people not watching the game and have a beer. Or some tequila.

Prince put on a good show.

R2K said...

biggest post eva

<3 <3 <3

----{-@

Badoozie said...

r2k, here's one for ya

(.Y.)

Senor Caiman said...

Saur,

I have the attention span of a gnat, I'm not reading this book. Summarize this and maybe if you're lucky I'll come back.

If I were gay I'd probably be attracted to Prince. That's all I'm sayin.

Meow said...

Sadly, we don't get the superbowl, or all the ads. Must be great though ... so many people have blogged about it.
Were you anywhere near the recent storm / tornado / hurricane (not sure what it was) that caused so much devastation ?? Hope not, hope all is ok in your world.
Hope you are having a great week.
Take care, Meow

R2K said...

Boobs lol : )

Some Random Girl said...

I couldn't hate the Godaddy girl anymore if I tried! She looks like a whore all the time! Why do men always have to use women's bodies to sell stuff???? It makes me sick!

Paul said...

Are you saying that you spent up to five hours watching for those commercials, then spent maybe up to two hours composing this post...and that this is important to our culture? (This is good post, btw, despite my distaste for the subject matter.)

IMHO, that "big" game is nothing more than an annual yawn bowl, a brilliantly concocted, super-hyped money-making scheme of the NFL. If it's so important, why are they going to do it again next year? Oh, and does a man who just signed a $93M contract to throw a football really need another red Cadillac?

I'm all for a good football game, a good baseball game, bowling, darts, basketball tournaments, Wii, sports in general--you name it. But it just looks to me like our values have been twisted way outta whack.

And the teacher said, "There won't be any homework this weekend because of the super bowl..." See what I mean?