Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Commercials 2012

For many Americans the Super Bowl may be the one time they view television when they get up during the show to use the restroom or get snacks, but stay glued to their sets during the commercials. Indeed, while not every American is necessarily a National Football League fan, I think most of us are interested in the commercials that air during the big game. Even those of us don't watch the Super Bowl (I only watch if the Rams are playing, which means I have not watched the game in years) will be sure to check out the adverts online.

Over all, I thought this year's batch of commercials was much better than last year's batch, but over all I was still very disappointed.  At least very few of the commercials were downright offensive this year. The advertisement that offended me the most was TaxAct's "Free to Pee." The commercial centred on a boy who has to go to the bathroom and when he does not find one, he simply urinates in the family pool. Maybe I'm too squeamish about such things, but I do not find urinating in pools funny at all. In fact, I find it gross.

Another commercial that somewhat offended me starred one of my favourite celebrities around, model Adriana Lima. Here I want to stress I admire Miss Lima for more than the fact that she is beautiful. She is a strict Roman Catholic who apparently remained a virgin until her marriage (I'm not Christian, but I have to admire anyone who gives more than lip service to their religious beliefs). She has also done a good deal of charity work. In interviews she seems like a very sweet woman, the Brazilian girl next door. It really dismays me at the hate being directed her way last night and today.

That having been said, I did not like what I thought was the underlying message of the Teleflora spot in which she appeared. To me the underlying message of the Teleflora commercial is that a gift of flowers is a guarantee of romance in the bedroom at night's end.  Not only does this run contrary to the words I have often heard from women (not necessarily me, of course) that their favours cannot be bought. The implication that their favours can be bought then seems a bit demeaning to women to me.  That having been said, I have had several women I respect highly who have told me that they did not find the Teleflora commercial offensive in the slightest. Certainly Miss Lima did not find it offensive or she would not have participated in it.  Anyhow, here is the commercial so you can decided for yourself (here I will note that any comments insulting Adriana Lima will be deleted).

Regardless of whether one finds the TeleFlora advert demeaning to women or not, I think all of us can agree that the E*Trade commercials are offensive. I think the only thing creepier than a baby that talks like an adult is perhaps a clown (any clown will do). Another commercial offended me not because the commercial was offensive, but because it seemed too close to actress, director, and star of the web series Hollywood Girl Courtney Zito's entry in the "Crash the Super Bowl" commercial competition. The commercial in question was the Dannon Oikos Greek Yoghurt advert "The Tease." Below is the Dannon commercial.

Here is Courtney Zito's entry in the Dorito's "Crash the Super Bowl" competition, "Battle of the Sexes":

For those who are wondering, Miss Zito is the pretty brunette who tackled the guy.

Now I am not going to say that Dannon's ad men plagiarised Courtney Zito's commercial. Ideas are a dime a dozen and it is not unusual for people to have the same basic idea around the same time (I have ditched ideas for blog posts because of that). Still, the two commercials are terribly similar and Courtney Zito's commercial has been on the internet since October. I am hoping that it was just a case of different people having the same idea at the same time (and I am certain it probably is), but part of me has to wonder if it is.

Regardless, most of the commercials that I disliked I did so because they were, well, stupid. On this list was Acura's commercial "Transactions," with Jerry Seinfeld. The advert was simply silly and poorly done. I disliked the Toyota Camry advertisement "Reinvented" for the same reason. Indeed, I have to point out that many of us would be very dismayed if rain could make one lose weight (slender all my life, I could dwindle away to nothing in a sudden downpour...). The Cars.Com commercial "Confident You" was stupid and creepy. Do we really need to see a head pop out of a guy's shoulder and sing a bad song like something from a science fiction movie?

One commercial that I did not like I can guarantee most women probably loved. That was the H&M advert with David Beckham. Okay, I loved their choice of music (The Animals are one of one of my favourite bands and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood") is one of my favourite songs, but I really do not want to see David Beckham in his skivvies. That having been said, given how many scantily clad women appear in Super Bowl commercials, I guess I cannot rightfully complain about the commercial. What's good for the goose is good for the gander (still, I'm not embedding the commercial here...).

One commercial that is causing controversy is Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America." Republicans (among them arch-Republican Karl Rove) viewing the commercial as little more than an advertisement for the campaign to re-elect President Obama. While Republicans do not seem too happy about the commercial, it seems some of my Democratic friends are not either. They saw it as an endorsement of the Republican Party. Myself, I really saw nothing overtly in the commercial. To me it simply said that times are bad, but the American automotive industry has made a comeback and so can the United States. It's then a bit hard for me to understand the controversy.

While over all I found this year's commercials disappointing, there were a few that I genuinely liked. One of them was the MetLife commercial "Everyone." What I love about this ad is it not only features the Peanuts gang, but characters from Hanna-Barbera cartoons (Atom Ant, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Top Cat), Candlewick Press (Waldo of Where's Waldo fame), UPA (Mr. Magoo), Warner Brothers (Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzalez, Marvin the Martian), Harvey Comics (Capser the Friendly Ghost, Richie Rich), Jay Ward (Mr. Peabody and Sherman), TTV (Underdog), and MGM (The Wolf from "Red Hot Riding Hood). If you're a fan of animated cartoons, comic books, and children's book like me, this is a fun commercial to watch:

It seems as if the best commercials this year were car commercials (except for Acura, Toyota, and a few others that were just bland). I love this one for the Hyundai Veloster Turbo, not simply because it has a cat (well, a cheetah). It's also very funny.

I thought Volkswaggen's commercial this year was brilliant. "The Dog Strikes Back" combines a cute canine with a classic James Brown theme and Star Wars in a way that it all works and that, at least to me, was very funny.

Audi's "Vampire Party" also impressed me. I love the fact that it starts seriously, with a vampire party, a vampire driving an Audi, and "The Killing Moon" by Echo & The Bunnymen (the best song in any commercial this Super Bowl, except maybe for the H&M advert).

Arguably the best commercial this Super Bowl was "Matthew's Day Off." The commercial stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris Buell--I mean, Matthew Broderick, in a take off on his best known role. I thought this commercial was very good tribute to Ferris Bueller's Day Off and very funny too. I love that Matthew Broderick could step right back into a role he hasn't played in nearly thirty years.

While I still think Courtney Zito's entry in Dorito's "Crash the Super Bowl" competition was better, this finalist, "Man's Best Friend," is very funny. I must say, however, that as a cat lover I do not condone this dog's actions in any way whatsoever...

A canine out of the other sort also stars in Bud Light's "Rescue Dog." Generally I do not care for Budweiser's commercials (indeed, Bud Light was guilty of the incredibly sexist advert "Bud Light Book Club" in 2010), but this commercial is hilarious. I might also point out that it is not simply a beer commercial. The star of the advert, Weego, was indeed a rescue dog, and so Bud Light is donating $1 to Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundations, ARF, (up to $250,000) for every "like" to their Facebook page. While I don't like beer, I have to admit that I like the idea of Budweiser donating money to dog shelters.

Finally, what could be my favourite Super Bowl commercial this year is from NBC. "Vocal Combat" is an advert for The Voice with the judges from that show fighting it out Hong Kong kung fu movie style for a most remarkable voice. It's the identity of that voice that really makes the commercial (anyone who knows me will know why I love the advert, even though I don't care for The Voice).

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