Monday, February 7, 2011

Yet Another Super Bowl Ad Analysis

A football game. Commercials. Everybody's talking about the damn thing, so it's not like I need an intro, so let's just do yet another thing where someone gives their opinions on Super Bowl ads, shall we?

Surprisingly, the winning spots this year on USA Today's Ad Meter were these two dog-related spots that didn't really impress me. I guess I'm not a good predictor of what the public likes. Apparently, it likes dogs.

I personally think this Doritos spot was much more amusing than the dog one.

Although not one of my favorite spots of the night, since it also has a twist ending and a lot of people were commenting on it, I might as well point out Groupon's spot. Groupon had two others before and after the game using the same unexpected twist ending, regarding whales and the rainforest, respectively, but the one during the game got a lot of flack online for using the oppression of Tibet as a punchline. Personally, I thought the ad was amusing, though not one of the best of the night. Groupon is actually raising money for the whales, the rainforest, and Tibet- it would have been nice if they actually pointed this out at the end of their spots or something and thus avoided themselves a lot of negative publicity. Either way, at least they're trying to do something regarding the serious problems they're making fun of, which is more than can be said for a number of people.

Best Buy uses the mismatched pair of Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber to poke fun at the rapidly-obsolete technology world. Say what you will about Justin Bieber- his recent TV appearances to promote his upcoming film and this ad prove that he can make fun of himself. Plus, this ad implies that, much like Ozzy, someday he will be obsolete. Which would not surprise me at all.

Volkswagen's spot is an example of one where the extended online version is more amusing than the aired version, probably because it gives more time to set up the theme before hitting us with the surprise ending. Plus, a little kid walking around in a Darth Vader costume is just cute.

Though technically not a 100% Super Bowl spot, Chevrolet's tie-in with Glee was very clever, both in terms of setup and brand positioning and cross-promotion. This year's post-Super Bowl fare just happened to be a new episode of Glee (and it was a fun one-probably the best of the year so far), so it's not surprising that Sue Sylvester and company showed up during the game. Multiple times. (That's Fox's self-promoting for you). Chevy's Super Bowl spot featured a typical in-character Glee set-up (really typical- it was pretty much the plot of a first-season episode) to lead into the ad Chevy showed during the Glee episode itself: a fun performance of the classic "See The USA In Your Chevrolet" jingle followed by a very funny wrap-up where Sue's master plan is foiled once again. Both spots were very much in the Glee style of humor and performance, and just plain fun to watch. Much like Glee itself.

But, surprisingly, true self-promotions took the night. At least for me. Fox had a very funny promo for House where the curmudgeonly doctor takes the role of Mean Joe Greene in a remake of the classic Coke ad with typical results. But by far the best spot of the night for me was one for the NFL itself, featuring classic TV characters getting ready to watch the Super Bowl. Much like these TV greats, the Super Bowl- and its commercials- are certainly a pop culture institution and a phenomenon that brings millions it for the game or for the ads.

Oh yeah, and Roseanne Barr getting hit with a log.

Go packo.

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