Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Ads of Super Bowl XLI

I think it was some where during the third (out of a total of four) features I saw the day after the Super Bowl discussing the ads of Super Bowl XLI that I realized the great Super Bowl ads are a thing of the past. Now I’m not just saying that because the ads of Super Bowl XLI were probably the worst set of Super Bowl ads I can remember, I’m saying it because whenever things become huge enough that they need that much coverage (and this was only on the ESPN family of networks, I can only imagine that practically every major newspaper and every morning show in the country had their own features on the ads), they tend to become more and more important to the people who do them, which means more input from the top. And not to insult all CEOs and other top executives, but those people didn’t get to where they were because they were funny and creative. I don’t necessarily blame them when so much is riding on a single ad. Think about it; it’s not just the huge amounts of money spent to secure the place during the broadcast for the spot and the money to actually produce it, its also that because people spend so much time talking about them after they’ve aired that a bad ad means what would have been a normal failure because a colossal one. So I get why this happens, sad as it may be.

Despite the overall crappiness I was able to compile a list of my favorite ads, a task that was much harder to come up with than the list of my least favorite ads. I didn’t rank the ads for two reasons: First, I didn’t think I was going to come up with ten I liked, and I figured having a top seven list would look dumb. Second, ranking is so much harder than just listing them in semi-chronological order. I hope you understand. And now, on to my list of the Best and Worst Ads of Super Bowl XLI. (By the way, if you can't remember the ads I'm talking about, go here to see all of the ads from this year's Super Bowl)

The Best

- Doritos Homemade ad – This was the ad that featured the guy driving in the car eating Doritos. It was mildly amusing and pretty well done, and strangely enough, professionals didn’t do it. People have been joking about what this means for the industry, I just say this is further proof that advertising is the fall back position for every college graduate. It’s so easy, even a caveman could do it.

- Sierra Mist Beard comb over – I thought this was funnier for the cutoff jorts than the beard comb over, but still, not that amazing. Lost points because anyone who drinks Sierra Mist Free cannot, and I repeat, cannot tell other people that their decision making is flawed.

- Garmin GPS – Campy is good most of the time, and it was pretty good this time. I saw a piece Monday where someone rated this the third worst ad during the Super Bowl and in their description for why they didn’t like it they also managed to point out that they found the ad entertaining. Guess what? The person who said this was in the advertising industry. And once again I start to think about how if I quit my job today, I could be making six figures at some ad agency in no time at all.

- Careerbuider.com Surviving the Workweek – When I first found out that Careerbuilder.com was removing monkeys from their ad campaigns I nearly cried; they did the best monkey ads ever. But I’ve got to say, it’s a real testament to their marketing department for their ads to make my top Super Bowl ads list. I was predisposed to hating them, and yet, I found myself enjoying their series of ads where work was likened to fighting for survival in the jungle. Could the ads have used monkeys? Hell yeah. But they didn’t suck. I’m a little sad, but yet, impressed.

- Old Person drinking the Coke for the first time – I’m not sure I buy that there is someone that old who had never had a Coke before, unless they were a Mormon or something, but I still liked this ad. It was cute and memorable and that counts for a lot I suppose.

- Bank Robbing Their Customers – This made me chuckle a bit. Decent concept, well executed. Can’t ask for much more than that.

- Emerald Nuts with Robert Goulet – While this ad doesn’t even come close to the Egomaniacal Normans, it was still pretty amusing. Although, if I’m fighting through the workday by eating Emerald Nuts, perhaps I should be logging on to Careerbuilder.com to find a better job. Perhaps a job with monkeys. Now that’s synergy!!

- FedEx Ground – This ad featured a very simple concept, but it was done right. See people, it doesn’t always have to be tricky to work. Sometimes calling someone Mr. Turkeyneck is all it takes to succeed. At least in my book.

- K-Fed Nationwide ad – I suspect that this ad would have been funnier if only K-Fed had really allowed them to make fun of him. In the ad it made it seem like he was dreaming of having a rap star life while serving fries, but it should have been better about transitioning from being a rap star to serving fries. I get why K-Fed might not have wanted it to go like that, but sometimes you’ve got to suck it up for the sake of art.

- Bud Light Ax Murderer – Ordinarily I eliminate all beer ads from the start because every beer ad is a variation on the same theme of people doing stupid things to get a beer. However this ad, in which the people pick up the guy on the side of the road carrying the ax because he was also carrying Bud Light was actually entertaining to me. It wasn’t really the concept, it was all about the way the ax murderer responded to being questioned about why he was carrying the ax. I can’t really explain it, but something about the way he delivered that line was just perfect.

The Worst

- GM Robot committing suicide – This ad was chosen out of a group of finalists which included the robot who was forced into early retirement coming back to the plant with a gun and killing everyone and another ad in which the old robots were systematically destroyed by a group of new robots, who while much more cost efficient, were extremely brutal towards robots of different types. Seriously though, suicide and the Super Bowl are really two things that shouldn’t go together. People are trying to avoid their problems during the game, not face them head on.

- Rock, Paper, Scissors for Beer – You know what’s hilarious? How alcoholics will do terrible things to those around them just for a beer. Like throw rocks at them. Same thing here as with the previously mentioned ad. We don’t need depressing reminders while we’re trying to enjoy football.

- Snickers Gay Kiss Ad – Ignoring the extremely implausible scenario the ad starts with in which two men for some reason latch on to the same Snickers bar, this ad had potential until they decided that ripping out one’s chest hair was manly. Based on this logic, the following things are also manly: punching oneself in the crotch, sticking a fork in ones own eye, sawing off one’s own leg with a chainsaw, and drinking gasoline. Because as we all know, nothing says you’re a man like hurting yourself.

- Monkey Bud Light ad – I have always believed that ads with monkeys are guaranteed to be funny; until now. Seeing this ad was, for me, kind of like a young child finding out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I can only pick up the pieces of my shattered life and try and move on.

- Promos for Rules of Engagement – I’m supposed to believe that David Spade is a ladies man? Come on now. I’d sooner believe…nevermind. I’m not going to finish this joke, because I’m sure everyone has already made a similar version of it by now. Let’s just move on.

- Salesgenie.com – What the fuck was this thing? Seriously, what? An ad for sales leads. Not only could most of the public not use this service, but most of the public wouldn’t even care. These guys are getting ripped by everyone, and deservedly so.

- Revlon and Sheryl Crow – Before this ad I just couldn’t stand Sheryl Crow. Now, I can’t stand Revlon too. Good work there marketing department.

So what do you think? Are there any you liked or hated that I left off? I'd love to hear from you. Only my lovely girlfriend, Julie, has left me any comments, so why don't you be the second person to do so?


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