It was an amazing football game yesterday as the New York Giants pulled off a victory in a nail-biter that was competitive until the final minutes of the game. What more could a fan ask for? Well, how about bigger and better commercials?
For some reason, the Super Bowl ads, while getting more expensive every year, just aren’t having the pop and shock value that they have in recent years. It didn’t help that so many of the advertisers spoiled their own surprises by releasing their ads before the big game. What’s the point of paying $3.5 million dollars for a 30-second spot at the Super Bowl if you’re just going to give it away for free. Imagine if a $2,000 hooker on the weekends was giving it away for free during the week. Who’s going to wait around for the weekend?
By the same token, research has shown that upwards of half of the viewers of the Super Bowl now are tuning in for the ads more than the game. Some of them don’t care about football at all — thank the DVR for making this easier and more prevalent.
But one of the bigger surprises was the lack of innovation from Coca-Cola (boring polar bears we’ve seen a million times already now) and Budweiser. From nostalgia that felt flat to a beer-fetching dog — we’ve seen that before — it seemed like some of the game’s biggest advertisers were phoning it in.
But it wasn’t all disappointment, as there were some real gems sprinkled within. Surprisingly, one of the best ads of the night was a promo from the host network NBC. If that isn’t an indication the big advertisers need to up their game for next year’s game, I don’t know what it is.
While it lacked a bit of the punch that Eminem got last year for talking up Detroit as a symbol of American — since he’s from there — Clint Eastwood nevertheless gave a passionate plea that proved that sometimes, just sometimes, a serious and heartfelt ad can work. That said, I still felt at one point like he was about to yell at me to get off his lawn.
Sometimes it’s about a simple premise and simple execution. After getting caught burying the family cat, the dog bribes the husband with a bag of Doritos to keep his mouth shut. When the wife presses him, the dog is there with another bag. It’s simple and it’s funny. [Other ads with funny bits that didn't make the list were E*Trade -- "Speed dating!" -- and John Stamos getting punched out for Oikos yogurt]
Every geek and child of the ’80s and ’90s lost their minds pausing and trying to see how many of their favorite childhood cartoon characters they could recognize during the MetLife ad. Snoopy has been their spokesman for years, but they expanded to his animated brethren to really pack a nostalgic punch (way better than Budweiser’s attempts with their Prohibition and 60 years of history spots).
Who knew Betty White still had it in her? Actually, this spot made the list before America’s favorite 90-year old appeared. The fight scene between The Voice coaches was beautifully put together and did a great job of emphasizing their playful rivalry and competition during the show. A brilliant ad to promote the show premiering its new season right after the game ends.
I don’t now how much I care about the Acura NSX, but I could have watched Jerry Seinfeld try to bribe the guy ahead of him in line to buy one all day. The zip lines through Manhattan were particularly cool. And there’s nobody more appropriate to both play the villain and one-up Jerry for the car than the evil Jay Leno.
One of the earliest commercials of the night again had the simplest of premises. It opened with a lengthy set-up that showed us a gang of vampires hanging out and waiting for the guy with the blood bags to show up so the party can really get started. Then he arrived, and the brightness of his headlights turned them all to dust one by one, ending with him. That’s it. It was all in the execution, pun intended.
This was probably the most spoiled by the early release — though maybe they did it because the online version was longer than the one that aired — but it was still great seeing Matthew Broderick take on his Ferris Bueller persona, taking a sick day from his latest film project. The takes from the movie and the sheer fun of the ad made it a memorable winner for Honda.
Easily the top ad of the night, Chevy and the Silverado proved they could weather any apocalyptic situation — or all of them — and come out a winner. The effects were absolutely stunning — this ad would have looked great in 3D — but you’ve gotta love the direct dig at Ford. The thing that pushed it from a great ad to the best ad for me? Twinkies. Of course they would survive the apocalypse as well!