This year, several companies seemed to pull out all the stops to either get a laugh or provide the most convincing advertising during the breaks in this year’s spectacular Super Bowl game. What follows is an examination of some of the best-and worst-of this year’s Super Bowl advertisements.
We’ll start with a look at some of the best commercials. Topping out this year’s selection of commercials was Budweiser and Bud Light. One of the early commercials in the game involved two friends determining who would get the last bottle of Bud Light by playing a round of Rock Paper Scissors. In an unexpected-by some-twist, the usual hand motions are disregarded by one of the two men, who instead opts to throw an actual rock at his comrade’s head. When the fallen friend weakly exclaims, “I threw paper,” the other passively replies-as he walks off with his beer, of course-“I threw a rock.” The commercial ends with the fallen man receiving a “Down low” hand slap from another nonchalant party guest. The slapstick humor of this commercial was enough to give it the top vote of not only myself, but also the handful of other football fans who watched along with me. The general nonchalance of the party guests to the fallen man’s pain only served to comically emphasize the commercial’s message that Bud Light is “Always worth it.” Watch this commercial here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819647
Bud Light continued with the slapstick humor later in the game, with a commercial showing us that “the fist pound is out” . . . replaced by the ever so slightly less pleasant slap in the face. The commercial goes on to show a series of almost painful to watch slaps in the face, including one man who manages to smile through two slaps, and a bride who gleefully receives a slap from a bride’s maid. Once again, the “Always worth it” slogan is emphasized under extreme conditions, not only appealing to our funny bone but also showing us just how far Bud Light is willing to take a literal interpretation of their catch phrase! Of course, this ad spot ends with a little reminder to be careful with whom you share this Bud-moment, by showing that slapping your boss in the face after a business meeting may be taking it a little too far. Watch this commercial here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819694
Career Builder also dominated this year’s Super Bowl commercials with a series of spots set in the “office jungle.” The first spot features a group of jungle office workers who find themselves faced with a sudden, unexpected attack of office supplies ranging from pens to water cooler jugs. To escape the deadly office seminar, a large number of these office workers willingly run headlong off the side of a cliff. The commercial ends with a message declaring that Career Builder could help you “do more than just survive the work week.” Other Career Builder spots follow a similar pattern. In a later spot, office workers do battle-quite literally, decked out in office-supply based “armor”-for their promotions. We get to watch with smirks on our faces as the disgruntled employees battle it out with telephones, clocks, computer monitors, and packages. In yet another spot, performance evaluations prove torturous as employees are forced to walk on burning coals, endure terribly wedgies, and other such horrors. These commercials are Career Builder’s way of reminding us that with them, a “better job awaits.” Watch this commercial here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819655
Some other mentionable good commercials include a Fed-Ex Ground commercial reminding us never to judge something from its name, a message Mr. Turkeyneck teaches well (www.ifilm.com/video/2819733), another Bud Light spot where an unwise driver ignores his girlfriend’s fears when a man with an axe-and later a man with a chainsaw-hitchhike on the side of the road with packs of Bud Light (www.ifilm.com/video/2819735), and the GM commercial with a little yellow robot who shows us just how obsessed GM workers are with their quality (www.ifilm.com/video/2819657).
Yet not all the Super Bowl commercials were memorable for their entertainment quality. Others were either generally annoying or overly offensive. This year’s selection as the most obnoxious commercial was a spot for Revlon Colorist featuring Sheryl Crowe. I almost feel bad voting this Most Obnoxious-I personally like Sheryl Crowe and her music-but the commercial seemed almost ridiculous in its poorly written attempt at a mock-u-mentary. Seeing close-up shots of Crowe’s hair, and having her stylist finally “come around” to a product that basically makes his job a non-factor, wasn’t exactly the Super Bowl crowds’ idea of a memorable, must-see commercial. You can decide for yourself by watching the video here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819728
An almost equally annoying commercial spot goes to Chevy. In their commercial, a series of Chevy-lovers drive around singing about their love of their car. It started out well enough . . . but as the number of Chevy-lovers increased, and the commercial dragged on, I and other viewers began wondering, “Okay . . . is this commercial going to end soon?!” When you take into account the fact that Toyota managed to get by in their Tundra commercials with silent actors and a narrator () . . . one may wonder why Chevy didn’t try a similar approach. I wouldn’t say it was the content so much that made the commercial annoying; it was most likely the length. Check this commercial out here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819650
Two commercials managed to come off as generally offensive to viewers. The first was the Go Daddy commercial where “everyone wants to work in marketing.” Female viewers may have found themselves a bit-if not very-appalled with the scantily-clad women dancing around in wet shirts as other office workers gapped and grabbed at them. Sexually appealing: maybe. Effective marketing? I would say not. Check out this commercial (when your kids aren’t watching, of course) here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819690
The other highly offensive commercial was the Snickers’ “man kiss” commercial. First, one might wonder why the Snickers-eater’s comrade would choose to latch onto the same candy bar. Secondly, many viewers are probably getting sick and tired of the homosexuality stigma running rampant in television advertising and programming; the idea that after the “accidental kiss” the two men must find something absurdly manly to do was not only stupid . . . it was also offensive to many homosexual viewers who find themselves manly enough without ripping off chest hair! The fact of the matter is, like the female over-sexuality displayed in the Go Daddy commercial, the anti-homosexual nature of the Snickers spot was not exactly something modern society sits still for anymore. Watch this commercial here: www.ifilm.com/video/2819686
Other not-so-great commercial spots were aired by Sales Genie, a commercial telling us that it’s not necessary to work hard, just to “work smart” by giving the work we’re paid for to a website (www.ifilm.com/video/2818942); the Garmin “Ultraman” spot in which a super hero-type GPS system does battle with the evil “Maposaurus” (http://www.ifilm.com/video/2819691); and the almost too pointless for words Footlocker Kevin Garnett ad that told us to “love thy sneakers” (www.ifilm.com/video/2819738).
Overall, this was a good year for both the Super Bowl and Super Bowl ads! Companies like Bud Light, Career Builder, Fed Ex, and Toyota caught our attention with humorous and memorable commercials. Others didn’t fair quite as well . . . but overall, I think we all could end this Super Bowl weekend with at least a little something to smile about!