Erin Petersen

Super Bowl ads- The Good, The Bad, The Strange

By - Feb 7th, 2011 04:00 am
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The $3 million price tag for airtime during Super Bowl XLV (and the abundance of teasers on the Internet in the days leading up to it) didn’t exactly translate into better, more interesting commercials, as one might have hoped.

As always, there was the staple “chauvinism dressed up as bro-humor” spots we’ve come to expect from purveyors of domestic beer and luxury sedans. There were ads that seemed desperately overproduced (I’m looking at you, Kia. What the hell was that?) and ads that aimed for twisted humor, but fell short and wound up in a strange, strange place ( cough* Doritos).

Once again, Go Daddy cornered the market on unnecessary flesh pandering, and Snickers phoned it in with the same Betty White ad they used last year, except with Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr. Pepsi Max tried its hand at irony, but missed the mark with cheap groin shots and blows to the head. Admittedly, I think the Snickers commercials are clever, but the violence against women (albeit slapstick and presented in a tongue-in-cheek manner) just wasn’t funny when contrasted with  Ben Roethlisberger’s smug face all night long.

There were high points: Hyundai’s attempt at trippy sci-fi was fun to look at, Volkswagen went for adorable and won, and Chrysler’s rally cry for Motor City was more like a short film (however, the choice of Eminem as a spokesman puzzles me), and Audi’s “Old Luxury” ad featured a sweet Kenny G cameo. The lowest point in the evening, though, came from Groupon, who assumed that making fun of Tibet was good for business. I appreciated the half-price massages and glasses of wine, but I’m no longer subscribed to Groupon. Timothy Hutton: “But they sure can whip up a great fish curry” is now your legacy. Bravo.

Without further ado:

The Good

Bridgestone’s “Reply All”

Volkswagen “The Force”: Small child + Darth Vader costume = always funny.

The Bad

Timothy Hutton for Groupon. JEEZUS. Groupon takes a page from the Kenneth Cole guide to general ass-hattery.

HomeAway. com. Everything was going just fine, then they threw a “test baby” at the wall, and we had to watch its weird, CG’d face slide down the screen. It’s stupid, and the fact is no one likes to see babies getting whipped around– even fake ones. What’s more, I still have no idea what is.

(Dis)Honerable Mention.

All Bud Light/Budweiser commercials. Boring, stale, douche-y. As always.

Everything from Go Even Joan Rivers can’t make this funny, and that old jigsaw puzzle is hilarious.

Kim Kardashian for Sketchers Shape-ups. Please stop encouraging people to wear those ridiculous shoes. In fact, just stop. In general. Forever.

Justin Bieber and Ozzy Osbourne steal costumes from Black Eyed Peas’ halftime show, film stupid ad for Best Buy. What the…?  Also, let’s pause for a moment to ponder why Ozzy looks a lot like Kelly Clarkson these days.

The Strange

Doritos. For a second I thought the cheesy fingers could be just weird enough to make processed food funny again. Then I got sort of freaked out and lost my appetite.

Eminem…for Brisk Iced Tea and Chrysler. I’m still on the fence about the latter. I like the ethos of it, but I would rather not associate that with the author of lyrics like “My peepee goes boing, boing, boing.”

0 thoughts on “ADversary: Super Bowl ads- The Good, The Bad, The Strange”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Erin, I have to say that your assessment of some of these ads is harsher than mine, though there’s no harsh enough criticism of Groupon and Timothy Hutton. Holy cow. But the smooshed baby cartoon was funny, it just was. I’m with you, though, about I have no idea what they do.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually I enjoyed the Coke commercials. Especially the one with the dragon breathing fireworks. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Erin, the Dorito’s ‘lickingfingers’ was great…because it was SO gross. Yup – it was great.

    And I think I am the only one in the country who thought the Chevy truck ad that acted like ‘Lassie’ was fantastic. “What? Jimmy is in the well?”

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really miss the Clydedales. They are usually the best.

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