The 2007 slew of special effect laden, trained monkey exploiting, oversexed wet t-shirt contest ads began shortly before kickoff in this year’s Miami match up between Indianapolis and Chicago. The first quarter, filled with the biggest and best of the year’s advertising offerings was almost overshadowed by the slippery sliding fumble fest on the field.
But the ads are never to be underestimated and this year proved to be a step up from last year’s half hearted stable of monkey jokes. Fedex takes their delivery area from prehistoric times to the moon as their spaceship touches down to “The Final Countdown” and the fist bump is officially out but who stuck out the most this year with the right balance of clever and funny, and who merely threw more wet t-shirt contests our way?
The long awaited Kevin Federline commercial, the one floating around the internet for the last two weeks is still funny as he shows us what we’ve all been thinking – he wouldn’t even make a good fast food employee. On the down side though, we’re subjected to almost 20 seconds of his rap video.
Budweiser has always had their finger firmly planted on the pulse of the American public and the advertising arena, from Frogs and Lizards to “Wassup?!” they’ve managed to keep it funny and offer something new and refreshing each and every year. Part of that’s the dozen or so ads they plop the big bucks down for, but if they didn’t what would we talk about on Monday? This year is no exception. Their trademark young male audience throwing rocks at each others heads in a full contact game of Rock, Paper, Scissors led the pack. Carlos Mencia makes a spirited appearance teaching immigrants how to ask for a Bud Light in different cities, and an ax murderer woos his way into the back seat of a couple driving home with a case of Bud Light.
Coca-Cola’s own array of ads wasn’t half bad. They win points for originality and exploitation of pop culture, taking a generic video game style world (which we can all identify easily as Grand Theft Auto) and as soon as its anti-hero takes a sip of a Coke is turned into a giant musical montage. The former car thief begins helping people and singing along as the Coke slogan plays in the background “Give a little love and it all comes back to you.” It’s a nice play on the ultra violent realities of our entertainment and the healing powers of a little Coke.
Another favorite of mine which I’ve actually seen in the movie theaters before today but not on television shows the fantastic goings on inside a Coke machine. Coca Cola gets points for creativity and I’m a sucker for creativity in these days of rehashes and talking animals.
One more ad that deserves mentioning, sure to be talked about nationwide in the morning is the Snickers ad. In fact, that’s probably all you need to read to know what I’m talking about. Two men are working on a car, big goofy looking manly men with plaid, greasy clothes. One man whips out a snickers bar and sticks it in his mouth, the other latches on and it all ends with a sloppy kiss ala Lady and the Tramp (remember that spaghetti sharing scene?). The two immediately detach and in a show of reaffirming their manliness, tear tufts of hair from their chests.
The ad is good for multiple reasons. First, it’s memorable. No one will forget the two guys kissing over a candy bar commercial. Second, it’s funny. They’re goofy guys and seemingly not very bright. It plays on the homophobic nature of a lot of men, and the stereotype of a man working on his car being afraid of that image. And there’s better than poking fun at stereotypes and ignorance humorously in the Superbowl. But let’s not read into it too much. It is just a commercial after all.
Of course, the ads aren’t all good every year. In fact, for those that remember last year’s pitiful bunch, they can be mostly bad. This year was no exception. It was controversial once and funny the second time, but the GoDaddy girl is getting repetitive. The commercials aren’t funny and there’s nothing especially revealing in the commercials – the controversy is played out. It’s time to retire the GoDaddy girl and move on.
Chevy throws their lame attempt into the ring with a star studded, American Idol sing a long attempt. Alternating with musical stars of the day and regular people singing some jingle or another (which Chevy seems to have in ample supply these days). It’s dull, it’s random and hard to keep track of who’s singing, and it cost two and a half million dollars.
Don’t let the singers in Chevy’s poor attempt rule the bad commercial field. Sheryl Crow throws her hat in the ring with an incredibly poorly written documentary style commercial for Revlon. Attempts at humor with a cowboy attired stylist fail as does the entire commercial, not because I don’t like Sheryl Crow (which I don’t) but because an advertising executive decided that a half-hearted attempt at emulating an unrelated film genre was the right way to go.
One of the more interesting developments this year was the introduction of the fan produced video. Both Doritos and Chevy offer up entries into the User Generated Content field. It’s been a year of the UGC, as even Time Magazine made note of and the commercials this year reflected the same. The Doritos commercial was classic YouTube fodder, two goofy kids doing goofy things, only now they’re shilling chips. It was a better commercial than the actual Doritos commercial in which an overly amorous cashier comments on a customer’s purchase of various kinds of Doritos.
There was a bit of an uptake in the willingness of the advertising companies this year to take risks that last year and the year before most shied away from after the Janet Jackson debacle. It played to their advantage as this year’s fare will prove to be much more memorable.