A Movie Critic Criticizing Super Bowl Commercial

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lincoln fallon USEAt the Super Bowl party where I watched the game, a group of men had the biggest argument. No, it wasn’t between 49ers and Ravens fans. It was from the small group of men that wanted to hear the commercials, and the other guys that yelled “This is a football game! Commercials are a time when we go to the bathroom and grab food.”

Not during the Super Bowl it’s not. We are now aware that CBS sold out all the Super Bowl spots at $4 million for 30 seconds, which is up about half a million from the previous year.

What I think is strange is when people get on their computers days before to watch the commercials. We spend enough time on our computers; the idea of watching advertising online, no matter how clever, just seems crazy.

As I’m writing this, all the news and day time talk shows are talking about three things: Beyonce, the blackout, and the commercials. The actual game comes in 4th.

One popular show even showed long clips of two different commercials. I’m guessing those advertisers are thrilled about the millions they spent. They’re commercials are now being aired on other programs that they didn’t even pay for!

I laughed at how when my friends discussed our favorite Super Bowl ads over the years, we couldn’t remember the products that were advertised. It was statements like “That one with the dog breaking down the door,” or “The one where the guy makes a mess of the house…”

A perfect example of that is the story I read in the paper a few days ago. They mentioned the top Super Bowl ad of all-time being the Pepsi driver that tries to steal a Coke while making a delivery to a liquor store. It was clever, but in my memory, I had no clue if it was a Pepsi driver or a Coke driver. That means the competition got just as much publicity out of it.

Sometimes the millions companies spent can be wasted. We all booed and threw things at the screen when Korean rapper PSY came on singing Gangnam Style. I have no clue what product he was pushing.

A few days before I heard there would be controversy with three ads. One of them was a Coke commercial that had various people on a chase for a huge bottle in the middle of the desert. I’m guessing the guy on the camel is what people were bothered by. I also heard people would be upset about the white office workers talking with Jamaican accents. Again, I don’t see the problem (and have no clue what product they were endorsing).

Now, the Go Daddy spots, with the always annoying Danica Patrick, were a bit disturbing. They showed a nerdy guy making out with a super model. It might not have been so bad if we weren’t subjected to the sounds (as football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan pointed out). It’s also strange that they’d do that, considering how the Super Bowl got into so much trouble with the “wardrobe malfunction.”

There are families and young children watching the game too.

When the game started, I was disappointed with the Budweiser commercial that aired early on. They’d have a few duds (one for a product called Budweiser Black), but just as the 49ers found their way in the second half, Budweiser came back strong with some Stevie Wonder voodoo spots that were fun and fit the New Orleans vibe. They eventually scored the winning TD with the spot that had a young Clydesdale growing up and seeing its owner in the crowd at a parade.

One of the guys I worked with loved the Audi spot that had a kid show up at his prom, kiss the prom queen, and get punched out. It was cute, but I’m wondering why the advertisers would go there. We live in a a day and age when we hear so much about bullies and kids getting into fights. It seems that would’ve been a topic that’s taboo right now.

As usual, Doritos had some great spots. One had a goat eating up all the chips, and another had a father and his football buddies skipping the game to play dress up with the young daughter.

The milk commercial with the Rock was cute, as he goes on a quest to find milk for his kids. It was also nice to hear the Sam & Dave classic Hold on, I’m Comin, as performed by the San Diego band The Styletones.

The M&Ms commercials are always cute, and you gotta love them singing Meatloaf. That is, until two people in the room yelled “Is that a Kardashian?”

Never a good move to use celebrities people hate in your ads.

Now, in regards to celebrities, we saw Amy Poehler do a funny spot for Best Buy. Willem Dafoe was clever as a devil trying to steal a soul in a Mercedes commercial.

Oprah Winfrey did an ad for Chrysler which was a salute to troops and their families, with letters being read. It was two minutes long, and I felt a tad exploitative.

The Paul Harvey/farmers spot for another car company was a lot more effective.

One car commercial that got overlooked was the Lincoln spot that featured tweets and mentions Jimmy Fallon, the former Saturday Night Live star that now has his own late night show. Anybody familiar with it knows he does a funny segment where he reads tweets from his fans. In this Lincoln commercial, we hear a tweet that’s recreated while a couple drives their car on a road trip and sees various bizarre things.

When I was getting ready to do a movie review on Fox 5, I happened to run into Ed Witt of Witt San Diego, a local Lincoln dealership.

We started talking movies, football, and cars. It turns out when Jim Harbaugh was playing and coaching in San Diego, he got to know him and even work with him on a few ad campaigns.

Witt was involved in the Super Bowl ad and understands how a great ad can be talked about for years. He told me when he was a dealer in Milwaukee he created a super hero character that people talked about years later.

I asked Witt about Fallon and he told me, “Using Jimmy Fallon was genius. He brings a lot to the table. Using his twitter followers is something not tried for a Super Bowl ad before. It establishes connections with people that would like to join us on our journey as we reinvent Lincoln. The company has 90 years of heritage and we’re going to be part of its new life.”

I just realized as he told me this, that I saw a commercial with a silhouette of Abraham Lincoln in another commercial. It got me wondering – was that for Lincoln cars, or some promotion for the Oscar nominated movie by Steven Spielberg?

Do I wonder that now because I’m a movie critic, or a football fan that really doesn’t pay all that much attention to the commercials?

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments

  • joshboardfox5

    Somebody gave me a hard time for not mentioning the Taco Bell commercial with the old folks. They told me they saw a piece where Bill O'Reilly called it offensive to old people. I didn't think it was, although…it was offensive to film lovers. Ya know why? They stole the story from Cocoon…including the senior citizens jumping into the pool. It was nice hearing the Fun song done in Spanish, but really…isn't the idea of getting tattoos to be edgy and rebellious played out by now?
    And also — many loved the Paul Harvey car commercial where he's talking about the importance of farmers. Yeah, it was powerful, but….did the car company say they would donate some profits to farmers or something? Also…it loses a little bit when you realize Harvey did this recording in 1978.

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