The Super Bowl was overshadowed again by its heavily hyped commercials, with advertisers paying about $2.6 million per ad this year in order to broadcast them to a large audience. While some ads are interesting, funny, weird, flashy or just stupid, they all serve as an example of what advertisers think will gather attention and money from consumers.
In the past, movie trailers were deemed boring by commercial testers (yes, there actually is such a thing), but there were still several shown. Avatar: The Last Air Bender, Robin Hood, The Crazies, Alice in Wonderland, The Back-Up Plan, and Prince of Persia premiered, as well as a highly-stylized spot for the new Harry Potter movie series themed attraction at Universal Studios. Am I the only one who thinks a new National Lampoon vacation movie is in order after seeing the Griswolds in a funny ad for HomeAway.com, though?
Some of this year’s commercials looked to touch a nostalgic nerve with people. While Boost Mobile’s parody of the Superbowl shuffle and Bridgestone tires’ homage to “Free Willy” missed the mark, Intel had a fun spot where two geeks express their amazement from video games in 1982 to wireless internet in 2003 before being impressed by Intel. Perhaps one of the best of these was Flo TV’s recap of world events from the 1960s to today.
Other commercials used celebrities to attract attention, ranging from Stevie Wonder playing slug-bug with Tracy Morgan for Volkswagen to Betty White and Abe Vigoda belittling themselves for Snickers. The worst of these was a dull Late Show With David Letterman ad that featured him, Oprah, and Jay Leno watching the game together. The point seemed to be “Look how many celebrities we can fit onto one screen!” Way better than that was Coca Cola’s spot featuring characters from The Simpsons. It was better than The Simpsons movie.
You hear about how bad the economy is every day on the news, but several commercials would dispute that fact by being flashy for the sake of being flashy. A Vizio TV commercial featured Beyonce, a zombie, and the Twitter bird mascot for no apparent reason, while a Mercedes Benz crashed through a museum of the car company’s vintage cars. Coca-Cola put its money where its mouth is, though, in a highly detailed ad where a man sleepwalks throughout an exotic wilderness in order to get a Coke.
Doritos premiered four advertisements and all of them were either odd or mediocre, except for one hilarious spot where a dog gets revenge on a taunting Doritos eater with a shock collar.
Bud Lite had the most new commercials, and many of them reflect the cliché of men being dim-witted but fun and women being uptight and demanding. However, their spot spoofing Auto-Tune with T-Pain and the one featuring the cast of Lost serve as a virtual time capsule of 2010. Budweiser also continued its tradition of spots featuring Clydesdale horses, this time about the friendship between a young colt and a baby bull.
Sweet commercials that tug at your heartstrings became an unexpected trend. Google Search had one that started out with an unseen searcher googling about a trip to Paris and ended up googling how to put a crib together. Dove’s Men+Care soap spot had a funny yet endearing look at life as a man. Some controversy was made over a Focus on the Family commercial that was said to be pro-life, it featured football player Tim Tebow’s mother telling about how glad she was that she gave birth to him.
Many commercials deserved to be controversial, however. A Dodge Charger ad declared their car to be “man’s last stand”, the last stand, apparently, against domineering women. GoDaddy.com continued its tradition of misogynist, trashy commercials that stereotype women starring Indy Driver Danica Patrick. They definitely earn the title of the worst in show.
Best in show however, goes to either Monster.com’s violin playing beaver or the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba as daydreaming toys in the Kia Sorrento’s backseat. Kia even put out commercials prior to the game, advertising that ad. Also, where else are you going to debut a commercial with a fiddling beaver in it?
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