Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Super Bowl Ads 2011

Is it just me or was this Super Bowl the biggest anticlimax in sports? I don't mean to cast aspersions, but what a boring game (and this one was actually good, I think). Is this game worth getting your head concussed for? I don't think so.
In any case, I was there for the ads. You can watch them all here. Except for a couple here and there and with the notable exception of the very best of them all, the VW Passat Darth Vader spot, the ads were dismal.
The Passat spot is an instant classic. What makes you laugh, beside the pitch-perfect deadpan, mock-heroic style is the subtext: Obviously this kid is going through a phase so long and monomaniacal that even the dog has lost interest. The parents bear this obsession with a welcome dash of sangfroid. The kid is not obnoxious or rude; in fact, he is rather awesome in his zeal, but by the time he tries to immobilize his sandwich, and worse, denies his father's embrace, he has crossed a line (in a meta storyline that could be derived from the Star Wars mythology!). I love the minimal reaction of the mother when he spurns the sandwich and of the father as he gets his revenge. I love how the kid emphatically spurns the father, and we never see the father's face, just his unrequited hug. When the force finally manifests itself and the kid jumps in fright,  where does he turn to first? The parents.  
How or why this has anything to do with the Passat is beyond me, except that if I ever buy a car, it's not going to be an Audi anymore (belabored and vulgar commercial), but one of these: smart, sophisticated, cool (and they don't break the bank).
Everybody remembers the brand it's for and better yet, they must have spent a pretty penny on the use of the music and the Darth Vader character, but otherwise, a fantastic story told simply with 3 actors, a dog and a car in one house. Way to go!
The Chrysler Detroit anthem ad with Eminem was very effective. Great music and some Diego Rivera murals thrown in for good measure. It made me want to go to Detroit, but not to buy a car from Detroit.
I also liked the VW beetle ad, although at this point I'm afraid I have developed incurable computer graphics fatigue. 
Meanwhile, I had trouble distinguishing between the dumb ass humor of Pepsi Max, Bud Light, and Snickers (Overkill. Just Richard Lewis would have been funny enough). What's with all that dumbass violence?
The "Reply All" commercial from Bridgestone really made me laugh.
I adore the E-trade babies but this year they felt forced, although I liked the tailor spot.
Coca-Cola was a huge disappointment. I absolutely loathe their "Siege" ad. Horrible, horrible, horrible computer animation, soulless, uglyass shit. This is Coca-Cola? The spot about the guards was also heavy and labored. A huge letdown from that fantastic commercial with the Thanksgiving air balloons a couple years back. 
The rest are not worth talking about. Many are a huge waste of money and resources with little storytelling. The Stella Artois spot is a good example. All they are saying is what all the other beers are saying: that men prefer beer to women.  They may couch this idea with as much "sophistication" as they can throw around, but it's a dumbass sentiment.
Give me mini Darth Vader any time.

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