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Sun 6 Feb 2011
It’s a game unlike any other. It pits formidable opponents against one another, each vying for the attention of over 200 million eyeballs. Each determined to occupy a sliver of consciousness and a splinter in the sequoia tree of pop culture. It’s the Super Bowl of advertising and here is the critique of Super Bowl commercials from the editorial board of The Lint Screen.
The ground rules are simple: no pre-game sneak peeks or reading about what’s to air. We walk into this venture fresh with eyes untainted by hype. Here’s the blow by blow.
Who got their money's worth? Who blew 3 million bucks?
Ford Focus –– Six Ford Focus cars are going to rally across this great land. Here we meet the teams and their members. Do we care enough to go on-line and follow them? We’re invited. I’m not that intrigued. Pass.
Bud Light–– An amped-up spot spoofing home makeover shows. Our host is over the top enthusiastic about the couple’s ‘new kitchen’ which has a bucket of Bud Lights on the counter. The husband goes nuts, he loves the re-done kitchen. The wife points out it’s the same kitchen, just with a bucket of Bud Lights on the counter. The host agrees and says it is the most popular room of the house. A wild part ensues. Cue the beer pour and a lame end gag with landscapers staking twelvers of BL in the yard. Let’s hope Bud Light didn’t lead with its strongest spot. If they did, it’ll be a long, lame night for them.
Doritos–– A man who inside a house teases his woman’s dog who is outside in the yard. The man thinks he’s safe behind the back door as the dog approaches. Oh, stupid, mean man! Guess what happens? Could it get any more telegraphic? Doubtful.
Audi 8–– Finally, a clever spot. It happens inside a rich guy’s prison as we see the Madoff-rich class languishing in luxury behind bars. Nice sight gags as a prison break is underway. Two fatcats escape. One goes to a Mercedes. The other, an Audi. The Mercedes is a trap– right back to prison for you, richie! The Audi man goes free. Escape the ordinary, there’s your message and there’s even some Kenny G. humor thrown in for good measure.
Doritos–– Creepy guy loves him some Doritos. How much so? So much that he licks Doritos dust from a coworker’s finger and sniffs Dorito’s dust from another coworker’s pants. Well, it’ll probably test well, but I’m not biting or sniffing Doritos dust.
Chevy Cruz Eco–– Ever notice how old people have lousy hearing? I SAID, EVER NOTICE HOW OLD PEOPLE HAVE LOUSY HEARING?! Well, here’s a bunch of seniors watching a Chevy Cruz commercial at ‘the home’ and they’re repeating the copy points they thought they heard. Gratuitous, yes, but I do get that the Cruz gets over 40 mpg, so these gray panthers were not mocked in vain. Well, not too much.
Pepsi Max– A man is trying to sneak fattening foods while his woman tries to keep him on the low cal trail. He gets abused, face mashed in pie, soap placed in mouth, etc. Stupid silly man! Now man is on a park bench and thinks he’s cheating on his diet with a Pepsi Max… but wait, his woman walks up, sits at a bench next to his and is drinking the same beverage! What’s this, great taste that’s got 0 calories?! Why this old fat dog’s learned a new trick. But wait, this old horn-dog also sees a sexy jogger, gives her the once over. This makes his woman so angry that she throws her can of Pepsi Max at his head, but he ducks, and the pretty woman jogger gets beaned. The Pepsi Max-lovin’ couple slink away. Why, it’s like a Three Stooges skit, without the humor.
Bud Light–– Simple premise, a director protests when he sees a product in the scene of a movie he’s shooting. He learns that with product placement, you get lots of products as a reward. Well, now, let’s have wacky hijinks with Bud Lights in every scene of the movie! And go. Yawn.
Chevy Silverado–– A brilliant spot. A father learns that his son Tommy is trapped in a all sorts of nasty places: the bottom of a well, the belly of a whale, a cave, a volcano, etc. Good thing pops has the rugged Chevy Silverado to take him on his adventures to rescue the clumsy little kid. It’s fun, it’s relevant, it’s the good stuff for Super Bowl Sunday sponsors.
Fast Five– Like fast cars, tough guys, sexy girls? Have we got a flick for you opening this April 29 at a theatre near you…
Pepsi Max– A nerd is taunted by preppies who enjoy Pepsi Max. Hey, a cool guy seated by the nerd has a cooler that launches Pepsi Max! The nerd uses the catapulting cooler to deliver a can of Pepsi Max to the groin of a taunting prepster, followed by a can to his head. It’s the first use of groin humor! The second konk to head gag (also by Pepsi Max). The creators on this campaign stink of desperation for grabbing some attention. Sorry, not amusing.
Doritos– A friend is leaving for the weekend and asks his housitting pal to watch the place and feed his goldfish. Time passes (as it will) and the fish is dead. Guy puts a little Doritos dust in the fishbowl and the fish comes back to life. What the….????!!!! On we go as more dead things are brought back to life– including some ashes in an urn that fall from the mantle and the dead rise again. Doritos as Jesus-raising-Lazarus dust? That’s some tasty snacks with incredible power.
Hyundai Elantra– Cool sound design and music, not terribly clever but the point is made without trashing old people. No, we have not been hypnotized to think compact cars are good enough. Here’s the 40 mpg Elantra.
Cowboys & Aliens– Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig. Indy and Bond as cowboys aiming to fight them some aliens. Deal me in. Cool spot, a movie concept that anyone could have come up with– but didn’t and wish he/she had.
Kia Optima– What can you do with special effects? Damn near anything. Poseidon, aliens, Aztecs– they all want this “epic ride.” Goes a long way and spends a ton of money to make the point. The car does look cool. A bit overboard, but point made and made well.
Bridgestone– A simple, terrific premise. Two buddies in office cube farm. One says to other, “You sent this e-mail ‘reply all.” Suddenly, the buddy is up and trashing computers all over town. He drives fast and we see some tires squealing as they hug the road. He ends up back at office and his buddy says that he was wrong. the guy only sent the e-mail to him. “Could you imagine if you had hit reply all?” Cut to Bridgestone logo and bit of copy. Nice spot, well produced.
Chevy Volt We see great moments when history is made for the ‘firsts’ in history. Ben Franklin and his electric kite, TV, Hendrix at Woodstock, Jobs and buddy in garage, NASA launching rockets… all leading up to electricity in the new Chevy Volt. History is made (wasn’t there an EV1 way back when?). Good spot. Good point.
Go Daddy Danica Patrick is introducing the hot new GoDaddy.co girl, a busty sexpot with skimpy jean shorts. Who is this ravishing creature? What– it’s Joan Rivers! Special effects, you are evil for conjuring such imagery. GoDaddy, go to the corner for a time out.
AT&T– A hip song accompanies vines and flowers that are creeping across America and blossoming orange flowers. The point is that AT&T covers 97% of America. Dramatic and nice effects. If only science could get kudzu to grow some orange flowers and AT&T worked well with iPhones…
Budweiser– The Clydesdales are in the old west delivering cold Bud to a bad hombre who sips and starts singing Elton John’s Tiny Dancer as the locals all join in. A long way to go for that gag, and who’d have ever seen it coming? Borrowed interest double-dipping, and not much Clydesdales. No, it’s not one of the great Bud moments, but that Elton John wrote him some tasty tunes.
Teleflora– No effects, one celeb. Faith Hill gives a music engineer the encouragement to write a note of “what’s in your heart” to his girl as he is about to send her some Teleflora flowers. He writes how he likes her rack. Oh, men, you are so stupid! A simple gag, dumb, but simple. It will be talked about for use of the word “rack.” Yes, it’s come to this, people.
Transformers– Love him, hate him, but Michael Bay makes some cool looking movie clips.
BMW– A bunch of folks from Spartanburg, South Carolina talk about how the BMW is made there. We see shots of robots making the cars (I guess these southerners fix the bots and drive the cars off the line). The point is that the cars are made and built in America. Hmm, interesting strategy, but not sure if it’s smart. I suspect true BMW people like its German heritage, not the southern stars and stripes waving sugar. If you’re going to shop patriotic, I suspect you buy from American car company cars (even if they are made from all over the world).
Motorola Xoom– This spot has a quirky kind of creep factor to it. A guy is among all sorts of people, all wearing white. He’s reading George Orwell’s “1984″ on his Motorola Xoom and has a bouquet of flowers. The Xoom device looks cool, but hardly as cool as an iPad. The guy creates a little stick drawing movie of a guy giving a girl some flowers. He then gives a girl in white his flowers and we cut to the product and frankly the spot is pretty stupid, but, well, what can you do when you have to compete with an iPad? Oh, maybe show the product do something really unique and cool…
BMW Diesel– Bowie’s song “Changes” plays as we see dirty smoke from all sorts of diesel vehicles billowing out into the air, but here comes a clean-burning BMW diesel and it’s ripping up the road and looking great. Nice, simple, clean, Bowie.
Coca-Cola– Game-like animation in which a dragon is terrorizing advancing troops as they approach a city wall. An iced dragon is wheeled into the walled community (a la Trojan Horse). The dragon breathes fire, ice melts, bottle of Coke is revealed, dragon drinks, likes, then breathes out colorful confetti. The advancing troops celebrate. All is good. Coke made the world better. What could be easier?
Thor– A commercial for a movie that only announces the fact you probably want to avoid this movie.
VW Passat– Early money has this as a pick hit. Incredibly simple idea. Kid dressed as Darth Vadar tries to work his magic on inanimate objects, to no avail. Dad drives home in Passat. Lil’ Darth goes out and tries his spell on it. The car starts and even blinks its lights! Cut to dad in kitchen doing this black magic with his remote control. Cool and charming, memorable. Spike the ball, creatives, you’re clubhouse leaders…
Snickers– How do you follow-up on the incredibly successful Betty White spot? How about Richard Lewis whining as Tony, a lumberman. Then Rosanne Barr whining and getting hit with a log. Rosanne getting crushed– trumps a Pepsi Max to the nuts. “You’re not you when you’re hungry” is a brilliant strategy. Not as good as the original Betty White, but a nice effort.
CareerBuilder.com– Our first furry primate entry. The monkeys are back! But this time it’s convoluted. The monkeys are driving and blocking a human in his car then wrecking his car on other side. Lame line about caught between bad job and not getting anyplace… sorry, no banana. More about monkeys as bad drivers than monkeys as coworkers.
Super 8– Spielberg, J.J. Abrams. You had America at Spielberg, you locked them with Abrams. Looks cool.
Chevy Cruz –Spot opens as guy kisses his date goodnight, gets in his Chevy Cruz. Asks for his Facebook news feed. The car voice tells him “Jennifer Frech– best first date ever” and AVO tells us now you can do Facebook updates in the car. The guy smiles. I don’t know if it’s the technology or the spot, but it felt kind of creepy and techno-stalky.
Captain America– Looks interesting, but I hope those weren’t the sexiest bits of this film. Needed more.
CarMax– The prize for Pythonesque humor. A guy is at CarMax and says he feels like a kid in a candy store. Cut to kid in candy store who says he feels like a geek at a science fair. Cut to… on and on getting further and further out there and more ridiculous until we end up back at CarMax. While I admire the gonzo nature of the humor, it didn’t tell me a thing I didn’t already know about CarMax. They’ve got a lot of cars, got that. You spent $3 million to state the obvious thing that people get from driving past your lots?
Toyota Tundra– A truck drives through a nasty animated world. Who cares? Give me a Silverado and let’s find out where that darn Tommy kid is now!
Nascar– Sewer lids are popping off streets like crazy. A guy runs and stands on one and is lifted into the air. Cut to fast cars going in ovals. Stupid, meet crappy production values and long distance borrowed interest. Yellow flag.
Chatter.com– A weirdly animated world where a hip guy tells us all sorts of copy points and I don’t know what any of it means. Will there be a test? Hope not.
Here’s another Chatter.com spot. This one shows how the world is made a better place somehow or other by whatever it is this service does. Really?
cars.com– “Sometimes it best to let others go first” says our friendly announcer (he is one sell guy, that guy). We see the king’s taster drop dead. A guy in a scientific experiment morphs into a mutant. A cowboy becomes a pin cushion for arrows to see if the coast is clear for his buddy. (It isn’t.) And the point of all this is– with cars.com, other people review the cars you might be interested in buying. Good point, good spot.
E-TRADE– Here’s that adorable talking baby and now he’s being measured for a suit by Enzo and he gets to do a bad stereotypical Italian accent (laughing yet?). Not a great moment in talking baby spot history and perhaps the weakest link yet in this long-running campaign. Hope I didn’t make the baby cry.
Best Buy– Ozzie and the Bieber in one turd of a spot. Star power, meet your super nova explosion. What a waste of money.
Pirates of The Caribbean on Stranger Tides– Yes, it looks like more of the same, but can we ever get enough of Depp doing Keef Richards? Not until it stops being box office gold.
Mini– The game show has the title Cram it in the Boot and is all about stuffing stuff in the back end of a Mini. Double entrendre meets benefit copy point. Oh, so naughty but so effective.
HomeAway.com– A weird man flies about and we see a test baby get its face smashed on a glass wall and it’s all about why use hotels when you can rent a home instead. I get it, but did the test baby have to get its faced mashed? Probably. It’s all I’ll remember tomorrow (but not the product’s name).
Hyundai Elantra– We’ve got the Dude’s voice with Lebowski trippy effects and he’s yakking about the Elantra not being boring and getting 40 mpg– all well and good, but are the Coen Brothers getting a taste of the vig for their work on this spot?
Groupon– Timothy Hutton’s voice talks about Tibet and its people and I want to help the cause of Tibet against evil China, but wait, we Tim and he’s enjoying some Tibetan food in Chicago at half off and I have a bad feeling and taste in my mouth about any company that exploits people to make its point.
Coca-Cola– Two guards are walking respective borders. They are cold and austere in demeanor. But, one has a Coke. The other looks on with hungry eyes that thirst for it. Behold, there is one Coke left in the cooler (let’s hope it’s not a Pepsi Max launching cooler– we could have war). The guard places the Coke on the ground so that the other guard can get it. They drink and we achieve detente through refreshment. Then, they go back to work marching. Simple, yes. Magical? Hardly. But, engaging.
Stella Artois– A man croons in a dark bar. Pretty girls cry. They drink Stellas. The man gets his Stella. Huh? For this you spent big money?
CarMax– A guy pulls into an old timey full service gas station and a small army of attendants care for his vehicle. The guy is spooked by this and runs off paranoid, and the point is that CarMax doesn’t believe customer service should be a thing of the past. I get this point better than their earlier spot, but still I wonder what CarMax customer service is…
Chrysler– A beautiful and tough tone poem to Detroit married with great cinematography makes the point that we (Detroit) know luxury and making cars and kicking ass and now look who’s driving that great looking car– Eminem, and he points a finger at us and says ‘this is what we do in the motor city’ and damn if I don’t believe him and feel much more American pride than what those Spartanburg BMWers were pushing my way. Good stuff and a good looking car. Nice.
Rango– This time, Johnnie Depp’s animated. Looks fun, I guess. Glad our kids are too old for this stuff.
Cars.com– Various vehicles discuss their reviews on cars.com. Who knew steel could be so clever. I get it, but not sure I like it.
Bud Light– Another buddy housesitting for buddy tale, this time there are lots of dogs and a cooler filled with Bud Lights! Oh, boy, where is this going to go! PAR-TAY!!! We’ve got dogs serving beers, dogs drawing taps, etc. We’ve got fun and attractive women and well, pretty much every cliched beer spot trick in the book. How I yearn for a spot from The Most Interesting Man in The World…
Hyundai– A brilliant spot. What if we settled for the first things that came along? People with penny-farthing bikes, big honking early cell phones, playing Pong, a Zeppelin in sky, etc. Well, Hyundai didn’t settle and here’s a sexy new Sonata to prove it. Fun to watch, simple point to make. A strategy that could have worked for a number of items, but Hyundai got there tonight.
Pepsi Max– Battle of sexes at dinner table as voices in heads play. Girl wonders if guy is the one and other deep emotional issues. Guy wonders if she’ll have sex. Over and over and over he wonders this. Here comes Pepsi Max and something happens I can’t recall what but the spot sucked and at least no one got a shot to the head or crotch with a can. We have that to be thankful for, I guess.
Rio –Another animated film. Looks colorful. If you have kids, you’ll be there.
Bridgestone– Simple and strong critter spot. Man driving on rainy night avoids a beaver in the road and goes across bridge. The beaver gives him a thankful wave. Six months later, same man driving on rainy night slams on brakes to avoid a tree that’s fallen in his path. We see the bridge has washed out by rising river. The beaver has cut down tree. Many gives beaver a chest salute. Never thought I’d write that sentence. Terrific spot.
GoDaddy.com– Another in the seemingly never ending sexploitive series. Go on line to learn more. Who cares?
VW Beetle– Here’s an animated jungle scene as insects of all stripes are at work and here comes a souped-up beetle running through the jungle and it matches the shape to announce that the 21st century Beetle is coming. Attention-grabbing, but pretty light on conceptual gas power.
Merecedes Benz– Janis sings “Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz” as Benzs across the country go to the motherland to see the four new models and welcome them to the family. Good use of Joplin, cool effects, point made. Interesting, but that’s about all.
Chevy Camaro– A spot that may be too hip for the room, but I doubt it. We hear the voiceovers of the creative team of this very spot as they concept the spot and we see their words change the visual instantly. It’s got every tired car commercial cliche but is told in a fresh, compelling and fun way, right down to the set-up of the announcer and hearing a real announcer voice. I like this cheese. Smart, different, very well done.
Verizon– Romancing an iPhone as a voiceover extols its incredible virtues and powers then asks, “What’s it matter if the network doesn’t work?” iPhone rings, the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” guy answers and says he can hear you now. Pretty damn brilliant, and especially effective to all us schmucks trying to operate an iPhone on the AT&T network.
E-TRADE– Talking baby has a cat that sneezes. Goes long way for a bad gag as baby tells cat, “I told you to get a flu shot.” May we have a muzzle for talking baby, please? I think the shark has officially been jumped.
Mars Needs Moms– Creepy animation from Disney. Looks bad. But hey, it’s also in 3-D so it can be bad in three dimensions at once!
NFL– From those wonderful folks who bring you professional football, a spot featuring anybody who’s anybody in pop culture of the past 30 years or so wearing NFL garb as they prepare to watch a game (all while the theme song of the TV show Dallas plays). A big, simple, very expensive idea that’s very well done. I imagine it took an army of attorneys to handle licensing fees on this sucker. It’s the ultimate in celebrity endorsements, brought to you by special effects and deep pockets. Great end line: Best fans ever. Proof that if you’re going to borrow interest, borrow big!
Wendy’s– Two guys eating lunch. One has a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich. His buddy asks him what the sammy tastes like. Wendy’s guy slaps him in the face. “Wow, you’ve got yourself a sandwich, sir.” Well, well, a slap in the face gag. How refreshing. Ycchhh. Kindly serve the creators a Pepsi Max to the crotch.
AT&T– Simple, good gag. Two pals on a ski lift. One asks other if he can ask out his old girlfriend. Sure, says pal, but I don’t think she’d go out with… suddenly, the guy gets three quick texts message and a video from his pal’s ex saying that she’d love to go out. The friend asks to see the video, gets phone and heaves angrily. “Sparks fly faster on AT&T network with 4G.” Nice. AT&T is doing beer gags better than beer companies do beer gags.
Oscillococcinum– If the name doesn’t get you sick, the crappy animation in this spot will.
O.K., my head is filled with goo. Rumor has it Green Bay won. Goodnight.
Mon 8 Feb 2010
The ante started at $2.4 million and went up to a cool $3 million to air a spot in this year’s “big game”, which is code for Super Bowl, a trademarked name. I can use the term since I’m paying $126,500 in licensing fees and have a team of Lint lawyers at the ready.
Giving Super Bowl spots a look-see with virgin eyes. Yipes!
I’ve shielded myself from the annual hype about Super Bowl commercials to keep virgin eyes and a clean slate for my opinions. The criteria of my grading is this: is the spot entertaining, relevant to the product or service, informative, interesting, memorable and the holy grail of all– persuasive
? A tall order, I know, but for a $2.4-3 mil investment plus production costs, ad agency fees, etc., it seems like appropriate ground rules.
Am I being too rough to expect more than just entertainment? No, this is supposed to be marketing, right? If you’d like to re-watch any of the spots, the good people of Ad Age have most of them posted here.
I apologize in advance for any errors. These are gut reactions after one viewing, so there.
Hyundai Sonata– Nothing breakthrough here: pretty car shots, The Dude’s voiceover extolling the Sonata’s virtues and car reviews, lots of features, great gas mileage and an attractive price. Simple, well-produced, product-focused and great eye candy. I like, but then again, we’re now a two Hyundai family (attribute it to the smart advertising, a great website, terrific products and rave reviews had something to do with it).
Bud Light– The first shot from the deep A-B coffers is a blank. Some people enter a house made of Bud Light cans. The people think the cans are empty, but wah wah wahhh– they’re not, they’re full! Now the fun begins. Blah blah. There’s an end gag with a shower curtain being pulled back as a naked woman screams. Huh? It’s going to be a long night…
Snickers– Young dudes are playing football with Betty White (yes, Betty White). They tell “Mike” he’s playing like “Betty White”… she eats a Snickers, and is suddenly transformed from Betty into a young man. AVO tells us “When you’re hungry, you’re not yourself.” End gag with guy tackling Abe Vigoda (yes, Fish Vigoda). It’s a smart strategy, and breakthrough creative execution. Not in the same league as previous Snickers work, but that was some of the best.
Focus on The Family– The controversy was bigger than this commercial. Mom Pam Tebow talks about her baby and how she almost lost him. Suddenly, son Tim Tebow tackles her. Yes, the brat tackles his mother. This is the thanks she gets?! Look, religion and politics consume all other aspects of the airwaves, the Super Bowl should offer some relief. Hey, this is about talking babies and cute animals and stuff! Now, can we get on with our lives?
Hyundai Sonata– Beautiful cinematography of a factory making a Hyundai Sonata. The Dude tells us about famous classical sonatas and compares this to the new Sonata. A long way to go, then we learn the Sonata has a better paint job than a Mercedes. Hmmm. Pretty spot, point made, but it feels cheap.
BoostMobile– A hateful spot playing off the old Chicago Bears shuffle. Mike Ditka, etc. Why and for what, God only knows. Have no idea what this product does, nor do I care. Let us never speak of this again. Please.
Doritos– The master wants his dog to speak for Doritos, the dog doesn’t, instead he sneaks behind man and puts collar on him! Oh boy!!! Then, get this, the dog takes the bag of Doritos and shocks the man! Ain’t we got fun? Oh, I feel shame for all ad people.
Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (with Russell Crowe). Looks like what you’d expect. Get your tights out of the mothballs. (Insert your mothball-tights joke here.)
Doritos– A guy goes to his girl’s house. She goes to get ready. Her son is there with a bowl of Doritos. The man reaches for one, takes it and little boy slaps him on face. Tells man to keep his hands off his mom and his Doritos. There you have it. Check, please. This is not a great moment in advertising history.
Bud Light– Get a load of this: a meteor is coming to destroy Earth so all the scientists and astronomers begin celebrating impending death with Bud Light. The end gag– meteor is just a pebble that bounces off telescope. Cue the trombones, wah wah wahhhhhh wahh! Sigh, where’s the Most Interesting Man in The World when you need him?
Coca-Cola– The big gun goes celebrity with all of The Simpsons Springfield as C. Montgomery Burns is broke, we see his life being turned to crap. Some decent sight gags but nothing as witty as classic Simpsons. At the end, Burnsie gets a Coke. A lot of celebrity power here, but not nearly as powerful or charming as the parade character balloons spot from a couple years back.
GoDaddy.com– The ‘GoDaddy girl (Danica Patrick) is getting a massage. Her masseuse recognizes her, wants to be like her and asks if she can be a ‘GoDaddy Girl’… then masseuse rips her shirt off of herself to reveal a T with web address. We’re directed to go check out more. Welcome to soft porn. Heavy sigh.
Doritos– We’re in a church at a funeral but the guys in the pews are snickering because they’re buddy’s in casket-full of Doritos watching the game. Cut to man in coffin with lots of Doritos and a small TV. Oh, why bother describing what happens after this… it’s a hateful spot. Death and Doritos, we’ve come to this. Sob.
Bud Light– Dude has party voice and Bud Light. All pals have party voices and Bud Lights. No reason to go into it any further. Another bad Bud Light spot.
Monster– A beaver plays a fiddle. Yada yada yada. A voiceover says something. Yawn. Was there a woodchuck gag in there? Who cares? Anyone remember when Monster did cool ads? I do. Sad. Maybe they need some fresh talent. Hey, look on Monster!
The Wolfman– Looks good. Dark, moody, spooky. Deal me in.
Bridgestone– a killer whale is in a car with some guys. They’re splashing it with water. They take the whale to the sea and it dives in. The driver says, “Now that was a bachelor’s party”… looks like someone in the creative department saw The Hangover last year.
cars.com– Timothy has an amazing life delivering tiger cubs, saving high school students from a twister, oh, but he doesn’t know doodly-squat about cars. Fortunately there’s cars.com. to make car buying easy. A long way to go but a message is sent. Is there reception? We’ll see.
Budweiser– Man enters diner and announces the bridge is out. No one cares until he says there’s a Bud delivery truck on the other side. Suddenly, the townsfolk run to help. They form a bridge, truck drives over. Party in diner. End gag, drivers say they need the bridge to get back across. Please, people, if you must drink, don’t form bridges.
Shutter Island– Scorcese, Leo, insane asylum, mystery. You had me at Scorcese.
The Late Show With David Letterman– Letterman eats a chip and complains about the boring Super Bowl part. Camera widens out, we see Oprah who tells Dave it’s not that bad. Camera widens out more and we see Leno on the other side of Oprah. If Oprah can bring those two together, let’s get her on a plane to the Middle East. Nice spot.
CareerBuilder.com— It’s a guy talking about his problem with the office and casual Fridays. We see his coworkers in underwear (they are pudgy, not model types). Where are we going with this? To Punville! The AVO tells us to “expose yourself” to new job opportunities with careerbuilder.com. I feel like I should earn frequent flier miles for following this.
Dockers– A bunch of men wear no pants and march across a field chanting “We wear no pants…” (Did they know the previous spot had no pants for a gag?) All of this is to get you to go to a website for some free pants. Hmm, FREE– that should sell some pants…
Hyundai Sonata– This spot makes a point of the product’s long warranty by showing Brett Favre in 2020 getting the MVP award. The Dude’s voiceover says, “We don’t know what the future will be like, but we know the Sonata will still be covered.” Clever, simple, powerful sales point. Put more points on the board for Hyundai.
Bud Light– Here’s a spoof of the TV show Lost. The surviving passengers are on the beach, a woman approaches and announces she has a way to be rescued off the island, but wait, some guy has found the beverage cart and it’s fully stocked with Bud Light (hmm, maybe they could build a house with all the cans). Party ensues and they use radio to get party music. Umm, that’s some powerful party beer, that Bud Light. The best BL spot of the night, but that’s damning with faint praise. Still, I’ll bet this scores big with the USA Today poll. It’s got the proper balance of pop culture heat.
Dove for Men– It’s all about some man’s life. We see him born, he ages, he marries, has kids, etc., etc., etc. Then somehow this wraps into him in the shower and copy about new Dove for Men and the clever slogan be comfortable in your own skin. Why? Don’t ask– because Dove says so, that’s why!
Dodge Charger– We see a series of close-ups of men as they say “I will” and run-off a litany of emasculating things they ‘will do’ for their women. All of this is to set up that because they do all this p-whipped stuff they ‘will drive what they want”– and that’s a Dodge Charger. Vrrroooom! There, there, of course you will, fellas. Just ask your lady for the keys. The car looks much stronger than the beaten-down men.
teleflora.com– A hot girl is berating a less attractive worker. Hot girl gets a box of flowers. She opens it and a talking flower starts berating her. A guy coworker asks, “Who sends flowers in a box? A guy in prison?” The AVO tells us use teleflora and get flowers in a vase. Stupid. Kindly put this spot in its grave and send it a box of flowers.
Papa John’s– Look, it was a Papa John’s spot. Do you really have to wonder if it was any good?
Alice in Wonderland– Disney gets hip, hires Tim Burton who hires Johnny Depp. This movie looks very cool and visually stunning. What would Walt think? I like.
Dr. Pepper– The rock band KISS pimps Cherry Dr. Pepper. Oh, I can’t even describe it any more. Slap everyone involved with this mess (you might want to wash your hands after you slap the members of KISS, greasepaint stains). By the way, what is with Dr. Pepper? Why can’t they ever do a decent spot?
TruTV– We’re in Punxsutawney for a groundhog day set up as the mayor pulls a miniature Troy Polamalu out of a hole and announces “Six more weeks of football.” Long way to go for a copy point, but point made, you can catch six more weeks of football. Put points on the board.
Universal Orlando– Harry Potter world comes to Orlando. Is there ever any reality in Orlando? Oh well, if our kids were still that age, we’d be there.
FLOTV– We see a guy shopping with his girl as a narrator tells us the man’s girlfriend has removed the boyfriend’s spine and so he can’t see the game. But lookee here now, with new FLOTV he could see it. The device looks like a little iPhone screen. Are all men in commercials whipped? The device does look interesting, I’ll give them that.
Intel– An engineer talks about new processors being “the greatest thing we’ve ever done” as we see a little robot approach with a tray of food. The little robot is sad as he hears the guy talk about how great this new processor is. I get a Wall-E vibe from the robot. The point is this new chip is hot stuff. Not bad, I guess.
IT’S HALFTIME– LET’S HOPE PETE TOWNSEND DOESN’T EXPOSE A ROGER DALTRY NIPPLE IN A WARDROBE MISHAP.
Mon 8 Feb 2010
There's still many more spots to see.
“Hope I die before I get old…” P. Townsend, age 97.
FLOTV– The Who’s “My Generation” plays as we see news clips of our lives. Swatches of history are laid out in a mosaic that frankly is astounding to see back-to-back. Jerry was right– what a long, strange trip it’s been. The message is simple: never miss a moment. You don’t have to, babe, not if you’ve got a FLOTV. Oh, did I mention Will.i.am is in this spot– not sure why, but there you go. Nice spot, I toss a flag for flagrant use of celebrity when they didn’t have to, but one of the smartest spots so far. Does not feel like it fits well with the previous p-whipped guy shopping spot, but there you go. A campaign for these A.D.D. times.
NFL Network– Cool spot. Beautiful cinematography, all hail football– it gives us something to put commercials into.
Prince of Persia– Looks like The Mummy XXIII , lots of special effects and action. Think I’ll wait for the DVD.
Motorola– Megan Fox is in a bath and takes a picture of herself and wonders what would happen if she sent it out. Then we see phone lines explode, a mother knocking on door of her son;s room wanting to know what he’s doing in there (oh, mom!), a gay couple slapping each other and so on. Then Megan says never mind, she won’t send the picture after all and I wonder why they bothered making this commercial. Phones that take pictures, what black magic is this?
Volkswagen– We see various VW cars drive by and people punch one another. A play off the old punch-bug game called punch-dub. Feels forced, but at least there is a heritage to build on. Makes me think more of the Beetle than any of their new products, though.
Denny’s– A man talks to chickens and warns them that soon Denny’s will be offering a free grand slam breakfast. The chickens are worried, concerned. The man says this is great news for people but bad news for chickens (because they’re going to be working overtime). Not a great spot but a great message– FREE FOOD! What’s not to like?
Michelob Ultra– Lance Armstrong and other super healthy people run and ride and push themselves to the limit then chill at the bar with this beer-like substance. Me no like. Me like fat people beer. Burp.
HomeAway.com– The Griswalds (Chevy & Beverly) are getting constant disappointments at their hotel. They’re billed for the ‘complimentary water’… the desk clerk explains that it is “complimentery with an ‘e’ water– the water compliments the room decor.” Good joke. The whole point is that HomeAway.com can save you money when you hit the road. Sounds interesting. Not sure I needed Chevy & Bev, would have been good without them, but I guess new companies need a little fame to rub against.
Bridgestone– Dastardly evilniks have a roadblock set-up for the James Bond guy who drives up in a sportscar this rainy night. They tell him “Your Bridgestones or your life!” He skids to a stop, hot woman gets out…. wait for it… bad guy says, “I said your money or your life, not your wife!” (Hear the rimshot?) You’d think bad people could afford to just buy a set of Bridgestones, but apparently not.
kgb– A stupid spot for a service started by the Russian secret police about finding the answers to questions by texting. Uses sumo wrestlers. Has there ever been a good spot done with sumo wrestlers? Not that I recall.
Coca-Cola– A beautiful shot spot where a man sleepwalks in Africa past many jungle dangers for a Coke. He ends up going to a fridge and opens it, grabs a Coke (no, there are no Bud Lights in there). He walks back, drinks Coke and pets a big cat, all while still asleep. A nice spot. Surprising, entertaining, likable, nice.
E-TRADE– Oh, those talking babies. Baby boy calls baby girl on computer cam. Little girl asks him if he’s seeing another little girl she calls a ‘milk-a-holic’. Other little girl enters frame and asks, “Milk-a-what?” I smell catch phrase. This will be a buzz-worthy spot. The babies will become more famous. Does that translate to e-Trade business? It must, they’ve been doing this campaign for a long while.
U.S. Census Bureau– The Christopher Guest company of egotist filmmakers are going to make a film called Snapshot of America… but what do you know, that’s what the U.S. Census is all about. A goofy idea. I love the characters but the idea is weak as a drunk’s knees. Why is this supposed to make us feel good about being counted?
Google– Ironic. So far the commercials have been big on special effects, celebrities, famous music, sophomoric gags and sexy women. Now here comes a spot that has none of those. It’s a lock-off shot of a computer screen that shows someone Google-ing. And it is so true to Google, showing how one thing leads to another to another to another and another more. And the story just builds from hunting for a job to Paris to a church to marriage to a crib. It’s an amazing journey told on Google. It wraps up with the simple line: Search on. What a perfect idea. Smart, relevant, interesting and compelling. It’s the anti-Bing. This is the best spot in the Super Bowl, so far.
KIA Sorento– Sock Monkey and other toy pals are getting their groove on in a KIA and end up ripping it up in Vegas, cut to see the toys not as characters but as toys in the back seat of the vehicle as a kid gets in. Car starts and goes down road. A lot of razzle and dazzle for not a lot of purpose or reason. It’s about the vehicle, stupid! (But it’s always good to see sock monkey– wonder what he was like to work with…)
RoundUp– It kill weeds. Got weeds? You might consider buying some. This may be the best weed killer spot in the Super Bowl.
Select 55– A light commercial for a new light beer. Bottle floats in air, Don’t let me down plays. O.K., thank you.
NFL– Incredible cinematography of players and fans as music builds and the league says “Thank you”. Nice, simple. Well done, start the wave.
VIZIO– Giant claws grab the best of internet sites and and entertainment properties, they all are assembled in the new VIZIO. The message is the best of the internet and entertainment are now in the VIZIO. O.K., now can I have my TV back?
Emerald Nuts/Pop Secret– A gonzo trip with a guy feeding jumping people at a water show Emerald nuts and Pop Secret popcorn. Goofy, and not in a good way.
Dante’s Inferno– A guy battles all sorts of demons. Stunning visuals, action as Bill Withers sings “Ain’t No Sunshine”. This is for a new video game where you battle the forces of hell. Looks like sales heaven. Great spot for the product. Just show how cool it is and get out of the way.
Budweiser–The big storyteller spot. A longhorn calf looks on as the Clydesdales go by. Title tells us it’s three years later. Now we see a large longhorn look on as the Clydesdales come down the road. The longhorn charges through the fence and joins the beer horsies. Two guys are standing by. One says, “Nothing comes between friends.” The other says, “Especially fences.” Oh, does this thing ever feel forced. Where’s the charm? It may be time to take the Clydesdales to the glue factory, or at least find a fresh story line for them.
Honda Accord Crosstour– Cool animation of a squirrel putting away nuts and such and ends up in the vehicle that has a place for everything. Animation is killer, car looks nice. Good stuff, stands out.
Denny’s– Chickens across America do various things as “the Battle Hymn of The Republic” plays. The wrap up is that Denny’s is giving away free Grand Slams on Tuesday. It’s going to take a lot of eggs. Yeah, I’m thinking Denny’s will be pretty packed on Tuesday. As for Wednesday and beyond…
Audi– A terrific spot. We see people getting busted for violations of not being eco-friendly. Cheap Trick’s song “The Dream Police” is changed to “The Green Police”– could have done without this– and it’s visually surprising and entertaining. We see a roadblock where the Green Police give the go-ahead to the new Audi because it is eco-love. Elaborate spot for a simple premise. Audi is awfully green. Well done.
Taco Bell– Charkes Barkley walks through scenes carrying Taco Bell crap. He recites Dr. Seuss-like poetic copy. Had enough yet? I have.
Doritos– Guys at a club enjoy a bag of Doritos that one dude got from “Tim’s locker”– the other dude says this is bad. Why? Because Tim is a Doritos freak. Cut to man in an outfit made of Doritos swinging a weapon and he leaps and attacks. Cut to logo. These spots are as artificial as reading the ingredient list on a bag of Doritos.
Bud Light– Wow, it’s girl’s book club, and the ladies have a bucket of Bud Lights. Guy comes in, and get this, he wants to talk about chick books! What ensues is a certified LAFF RIOT. Oh, sarcasm, why do you feel so right?
Hyundai– The plant in Alabama makes the Sonata as we see a bunch of hands carrying the car through the various production stages. There are no machines, just hands. The car goes through the stages of assembly, finish. The simple point is this: with so many quality inspections, it’s like the Sonata is hand-made. Nice. I think Hyundai will be selling a lot of Sonatas. .
E-TRADE– Another baby spot. Missed most of it. Was it any good?
Sketchers– This stands out for it’s crappy production values and lack of any real concept. But, it does stand out, I give it that.
GoDaddy.com– Danica Patrick is being interviewed by two women about the controversy of her being the hot new GoDaddy girl and they’d like to know if they could be part of the hotness… blah blah, they rip their shirts off to show T-shirts directing people to the site. Please go, GoDaddy, go now.
Denny’s– A woman gets ready to blow out candles on her birthday cake and a chicken rises and screams. The message: get a Free Grand Slam on your birthday! Denny’s is cornering the market on free breakfast! IHOP, whatcha gonna do now to rival free food?
E-TRADE– Now the talking babies are on a plane. They’re talking about something or other but all I hear are babies… babies on a plane (where’s Samuel L. Jackson when you need him)! They over-power whatever the message is. No wonder W.C. Fields hated working with babies.
Chevrolet– We own the company now and our ads are telling us our cars are winning consumer awards. We like us! Although it’s not a stand-out spot, it is a smart message. Let people know other people like the cars.
Chunky Soups– Here’s the message: go on line for a $5 coupon. ‘Nuff said. Cheaper soup. That should sell.
Pace Picante Sauce– Got me what this is about. A woman watches TV and cooks with Pace. Maybe I can’t pay attention any more. Has my brain turned to mush already?
FLOTV– Lots of sports celebs tell us we can get FLOTV in our car. Thanks, technology. The branding on this campaign is all over the place. The unifying campaign epoxy seems to be the logo. Hmmm, that’s pretty lame.
Intel– We see a couple geeks as they age. In the stages of their development they witness new stages of technology. The wrap-up is the new Intel processor. Simple. I always liked the group of engineers singing the obnoxious Intel notes at the end of the spot.
Sun Life– The company wants to be better known so they want to use Cirque du Soleil because it’s name has to do with sun. Oh, brother, I think my mind is now officially toast, which should go with the mush it turned into recently. Regardless, this commercial is crap.
WalMart– A hubby is busted buying his wife Valentine’s Day gifts. There. Not bad, simple message. WalMart’s got lots of Valentine’s stuff, so there!
Hyundai– The Dude asks “What if we made luxury available for everybody?” Fun visuals of everyday people and situations with super luxury touches. It’s surprising and fun to watch. The point is the Genesis makes luxury affordable to everybody. Very well done.
The Crazies– This new movie looks like a hoot. Hey, you had me at “The.”
Final observations. A lackluster year for spots. Standouts spots are Google and Hyundai.
I am left to wonder why all guys in commercials are neutered idiots, and why exactly are we so obsessed with celebrities, famous songs and talking babies and animals?
Oh, one last note– The Saints won.
That’s the 2010 Super Bowl commercial wrap-up, feel free to dispute, agree and add your perspective. Lint welcomes all, all welcome Lint! Thanks.