Monday, February 10, 2014

Super Bowl Adstravaganza™ 2014

Last year, I put a lot of effort into summarizing the commercials I viewed during the Super Bowl, yet after the game, I was not inspired enough by what I saw to finish the piece and publish it in my blog.

Let’s see if this year’s entries fire my imagination and motivate me enough to share my observations and personal opinions.

As always, I have avoided prejudicing myself by not reading about or viewing the leaked commercials prior to the game. This was NOT easy. I subscribe to advertising publications and have a number of social media accounts.

So here we go. I’m commenting on commercials that aired between the opening kickoff and the final gun.

Once again, Anheuser-Busch scores the first commercial. It was Bud Light in 2012 and Budweiser Black Crown in 2013 and Bud Light once again in 2014. This year, we’re treated to the story of an unsuspecting Ian, who is asked if he is up for whatever. Who isn’t? So he’s taken on a limo ride with some Bachelorettes, rides an elevator with Don Cheadle and a llama named Lilly and plays “tiny tennis” against Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a wild adventure for Ian - told over three commercials dispersed throughout the Super Bowl airing - that climaxes with him defeating The Terminator. But wait! The room walls collapse and Ian is onstage with OneRepublic in concert! Not that’s big.

A common technique deployed in many Super Bowl commercials this year was action thriller shrouded in mystery. A narrator tells a story as fast-paced action unfolds. The product isn’t revealed until the final ten seconds.

The first of these was a “scenimatic” 90-second automobile ad, but which manufacturer and model? Ghibli, by Maserati? Have I ever seen a Maserati commercial before? None come to mind. Yes Maserati, you did walk out of the shadows and strike, but I suspect you’ll be back in the shadows, out of sight and mind rather quickly.

M&M’s followed suit. I lost interest by the time the yellow peanut M&M was revealed in the trunk of his captor’s car.

I positively adored the Doritos time machine commercial.

The Chevy Silverado commercials didn’t impress me one iota. They’re well done, but nothing different from what they’ve produced previously. Boring.

TurboTax – are you kidding me? You are advertising to the biggest male viewership on the planet and you’re trying to convince them that the Super Bowl isn’t relevant to them? That these disenfranchised men who had the day stolen by an undeclared sports holiday should take it back by going online and doing their taxes? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Ellen Degeneres is cute, but the Beats family plan commercial did not delivery a fairy tale ending.

The new Bono release Invisible was anything but in the highly-stylized commercial. Very satisfying. Apple’s iTunes scored big.

Dad has a sixth sense for everything but the distraction of a pretty girl, apparently. Thank heavens for automatic emergency brakes, from Hyundai. I love it.

The Cheerios commercial won me over and it had nothing to do with the modern family message it espouses. It’s just flat out cute.

My favorite commercial? Radio Shack. The company has finally accepted the need to modernize its brand, stores and image. I loved how the characters from the 80s ransacked the store and took everything back with them. The 80s was a crazy decade, one that’s to be remembered, but definitely left behind, Loverboy. Welcome to 2014 Radio Shack. I hope it’s not too late.

Gwen just quit her job in front of a hundred ten million people. Yes you did, Gwen. More power to you. How fortunate for you that GoDaddy gave you priceless advertising exposure to help launch your new business, Puppets by Gwen. You’re even featured on the GoDaddy home page. Somehow, I don’t think the rest of us will get the same treatment from GoDaddy. Yes, I’m envious, and yes, I love the commercial. (I hated the GoDaddy Body Builders/spray tan commercial, though, so it balances out.)

The T-Mobile “no contract” commercials starring Tim Tebow were fantastic and quite humorous. Tebow proved he’s more than just a talented actor who wants to play NFL quarterback; he is quite versatile as an obstetrician (nice audibles…way to deliver), Sasquatch hunter (excellent selfie), world ambassador (way to put Iceland on notice) and astronaut. All of that in one 30-second commercial. The second 30-second commercial might be even better:

Contracts may be limiting, but Tim Tebow’s acting potential appears to open up another career path for him. It might be wise to get a contract, though, Tim.

Let’s see, what other commercials caught my fancy:

All of the above were quite riveting and memorable.

Chrysler (and Detroit) scored big again with Bob Dylan pitching for the car manufacturer and the beleaguered city.

So let Germany brew your beer.

Let Switzerland make your watch.

Let Asia assemble your phone.

We will build your car.


And now for my list of forgettable commercials (all of the Chevy Silverado installments head the list and were mentioned earlier in the post):

It’s not that they’re poorly conceived or executed, they just pale in comparison.

Well that about covers it. I’m sure I missed a commercial or two, but this post is already too long (and polluted with too many links, right?). Do you agree with my favorites? Do you vehemently disagree with the commercials I dissed? Tell me about it.