Just in a quick Monday morning poll around the office, we were able to discern that this year’s Super Bowl ads were, compared to previous years, underwhelming.
Which is a shame, since apparently more people saw them than have ever seen any other American TV event in history.
Of course, comparing them to previous Super Bowl ads is a high standard. Nevertheless, them’s the rules of this particular game.
Steve liked the Oreo ad best, and you can see why. Best part: The cop whispering on the bullhorn.
Brian said Chrysler was just trying too hard to top itself with the Jeep ad. It played on patriotic support of our troops for all it was worth, without an ounce of originality. His favorite: The understated Budweiser one about a man and his Clydesdale.
Brad thought Chrysler redeemed itself with the Paul Harvey/Dodge truck one, but his favorite came from Time Warner (see video above).
Lora didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Truth be told, neither did Brad, but he skimmed through the ads this morning (something this Wall Street Journal page made easy to do). Here are his Top Ten (his admittedly simplistic, off-the-top-of-his-head criteria were 1. Does it sell the product?; 2. Star power; 3. Originality):
- Time Warner Cable: “Walking Dead” — Definitely sells the product, and most awesome use of star power: Isn’t Daryl everybody’s favorite “Walking Dead” survivor? “Yes, ma’am.”
- Mercedes: “Soul” — Great casting (nobody else can do that evil look like Willem Dafoe), and only Martin Scorsese has made better use of the Stones’ music. I was wondering how they were going to get out of the trap of the Mercedes actually being a devilish temptation; it did handled deftly.
- Dodge: “Farmer” — Accomplished what the “Jeep” one tried to do, and did it in an unexpected way. This one is the rightful successor to the much-maligned, but remembered, Clint Eastwood one.
- Kraft MiO Fit: “Liftoff” — I’m gonna miss that character. Or maybe not. Good thing we have Netflix. My favorite line of his from last episode of “”30 Rock”: When he calls a computer “the pornography box.”
- Volkswagen: “Get Happy” — Not a match for the Darth Vader kid, but a laudably original attempt.
- Samsung: “The Next Big Thing” — Two of Judd Apatow’s stars took it to one level, Saul from “Breaking Bad” took it to the next.
- Toyota: “Wish Granted” — Funny. Good star power. Give it a B+.
- Go Daddy: “Big Idea” — Had the hurdle of communicating (to the remaining millions who don’t have their own websites) what Go Daddy, does; jumped over it nicely.
- Hyundai Turbo: “Stuck Behind” — Loved the “Breaking Bad” reference, if that’s what it was (the guy in the hazmat suit).
- Budweiser: “Brotherhood” — Deftly evokes the question, “Can a really big horse be man’s best friend?” (See video below.)
And, in no particular order, here are his notes on the rest:
- Sketchers: “Chase” — Modest idea, cheesy production values. CGI can be used better than this.
- Doritos: “Goat for Sale” — The second-best Doritos ad on the list.
- Doritos: “Fashionista Dad” — Predictable, but the wedding dress punchline was funny.
- Best Buy: “Amy Poehler” — Makes the grade on star power, but doesn’t impress.
- Speed Stick: “Handle It” — Most predictable, most overdone scenario, lamest.
- Cars.com: “Wolf” — I got confused about the point, then it was over.
- ETrade: “Baby” — This shtick has been done to death, and is the quality on that special effect getting WORSE as the years go by?
- Oreo: “Quiet Chaos” — I see why Steve liked it, although it’s doesn’t match THE funniest library ad ever.
- M&Ms: “Ballad” — That was the one with the Meat Loaf song, right?
- Soda Stream: “Exploding Bubbles” — Not a bad job of convincing you you needed a product that you don’t need.
- Kia: “Hotbots” — A little too cute. Didn’t make me want the car.
- Bud Light: “Journey” — Not up to Bud Light’s usual standards for mild entertainment.
- Coca-Cola: “Mirage” — The one accused of cultural insensitivity. Bigger question: Does Coke really think we’re going to engage and participate in this?
- Blackberry: “Surprising Utility” — Makes you go, “huh?,” then you get the point.
- Gildan Activewear: “Getaway” Passable. Had a kind of European-ad feel, somehow.
- Lincoln: “Phoenix” — Highly forgettable, conventional car ad.
- Axe: “Real Hero” — Didn’t get it. Waiting for other shoe to drop. So you’re saying I can really be an astronaut, or what? Need more info.
- Century 21: “Wedding” — Inventive way to sell the product, but doesn’t knock socks off.
- Subway: “15 Years” — Has it really been that long? Why doesn’t Jared age?
- Bud Light: “Lucky Chair Journey” — Bud Light has definitely lost its edge.
- Pistachios: “Gangnam Style” — Yeah, but wasn’t that last-year’s pop-kitsch meme?
- Lincoln: “Road Trip” – Forgettable. The brief image of Abe is cheesy.
- Becks Sapphire Super Bowl – Failed to connect on any level.
- Pepsi: “Anticipation” — Totally generic. Felt like something from 1978. “Anticipation” worked far better with Carly Simon and ketchup.
- Pepsi Next: “Party” — I think maybe I have to drink it to believe it. (Personal note: As a kid in the mid-60s, I believed the ads that told me Diet Pepsi was just as good, and got my mom to buy some. Big disappointment.)
- Budweiser: “Coronation” — So… those people in black are the “best of the nation” in what sense? Not communicated.
- Budweiser: “Celebration” — Didn’t I just see this? Why am I seeing it again? As a beer drinker, I’d like to know what “Black Crown” is like. This doesn’t tell me.
- Calvin Klein: “Gears” — Ho-hum. I’d rather see a play on the Calvin Klein joke from “Back to the Future.” THAT was creative.
- GoDaddy: “Perfect Match” — Question: Is getting to kiss a babe like that once in his life worth, to Walter, being immortalized as a hopeless geek? Probably.
- Jeep: “Coming Home” — The one Brian said tried too hard. You know what I kept thinking, knowing that the product was Jeep? The military doesn’t use them anymore. That distracted me…
- Audi: “Prom” — This was better when it was called “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Which reminds us of an ad from last year that was better than any of this year’s.
- Tide: “Joe Montana” — As ads mocking people of simple religious faith (or people who take sports too seriously) go, this one gets the job done. On the upside, it sells the product.
- Taco Bell: “Viva Young” — Cute old people. Not sure what Taco Bell has to do with it.
- Milk: “Morning Run” — Star power? A. Selling the product? B. Originality? C-.
- Hyundai: “Team” — OK. Getting tired of watching commercials at this point.
- Kia: “Space Babies” — Passable exemplar of the “You find out what it has to do with the product at the very end” genre.
- Coca-Cola: “Security Camera” — The corny one with the people singing on the hill did this better. It was easier to follow, anyway.