Super Ads: Super Bad
Coke, Blockbuster, Emerald Nuts Among Few Bright 'Spots'
What kind of sad display of commercials during Super Bowl XLI was that?
I was surprised, but then not, that Anheuser-Busch commercials -- there were 10 of them -- were voted among the best on two websites and lauded by ad critics, who otherwise thought this year's crop was pretty pathetic.
To me, it seems that most commercials -- just about all of A-B's and most of the rest of them -- show really dumb people using the products being advertised, and I don't get it.
The guy who wants to pick up the hitchhiker with an ax because he's carrying beer: Dumb. People eating Doritos who get in a car accident and then trip running to the scene: Dumb. Wedding minister replaced with auctioneer: Dumb.
I think it's pretty clear what A-B and other advertisers think of their customers: Dumb. Personally, I can find nothing humorous in something that insults my intelligence.
Then there was that other pretty disgusting Doritos commercial of the supermarket cashier and the biker shopper and the Snickers moronic fiasco with the mechanics. I'm not sure why anyone would think those commercials would entice me to buy those products.
In that vein, I don't think I've ever seen a good Sierra Mist commercial. These people are annoying and unfunny. I don't drink Sierra Mist, and those commercials aren't helping them.
Then there was FedEx, who has had some decent commercials in the past. The moon office and the one where people had names that fit their personalities -- which is the opposite of their point. I don't get it.
Why Did Career Builder Forsake the Chimps?
Similarly for Career Builder, which has had several winners for a few years with the monkey coworkers. This "surviving the workweek" with all these weird jungle scenarios were typically over-the-top and kind of just stupid. Compare that to the monkeys with the laser pointers. Or anything with the monkeys.
I mean, really, have you ever, ever seen a bad commercial with a monkey or chimpanzee in it? (Not to be confused with gorillas or apes -- was that another A-B spot?)
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Or, a more Super Bowl-appropriate proverb: Do what got you there.
On the other hand, Snapple, like Pepsi with Sierra Mist, insists on dragging out a failed concept with the guy scaling the mountain (there's hewn steps?) to ask the monk guru about Snapple ingredients. This pinhead traveled around the world and climbed a mountain. I went to Google and typed "EGCG".
When CGI Animals Go Bad
Possibly worse than having humans act like idiots is having animals acting like humans acting like idiots -- a la Taco Bell and the two lions discussing pronouncing a trilled "r". Inspiring. Can you believe that not only did Taco Bell (they're owned by Pepsi, aren't they?) pay somewhere in the vicinity of $2.5 million to CBS, but they also paid an agency or someone probably a whole lot of money to come up with that?
Now that's inspiring.
It wasn't all bad.
Contrast the Taco Bell lions to the Blockbuster pets where a rabbit and guinea pig attempt to use a living mouse to get online. The differences may be subtle (well, not really), but those are the differences between a good commercial and a stupid one.
Honda didn't do anything particularly "out of the box." They told you about the product and why you should buy it. "Boy, what morons! What were they thinking?"
I think Coca-Cola had several interesting (if not entirely new) commercials. Typical of Coke ads, they show people enjoying the product and good things happening to them. No one getting hit in the head with rocks or getting document clips stuck all over them or running a poor-man's pathetic Three Stooges ripoff.
Not All Bad: From Coke to Nuts
I also thought Coke's Black History Month -- and I try to stay away from political discussions here -- was very classy and elegant. Doritos had one too, but that was lost in the retardation of their other ads.
Emerald Nuts, who has had some bizarre but memorable spots in the past, scored a win with Robert Goulet messing up people's office desks. Like monkeys, you can't go wrong with Robert Goulet-based comedy.
GoDaddy.com extended their "wardrobe malfunction" spoof. Not great. Not bad.
So, my favorites: Coke ("video game", "inside the machine" and "Black History Month"), Emerald Nuts ("Goulet musses desks"), and Blockbuster ("Using a Mouse").
Among the worst: Most of the A-H, Sierra Mist, Doritos and Snickers.
What were your favorites and worsts?