Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Commercials 2014

While the NFL and the broadcast networks might like to think otherwise, I have a sneaking suspicion that most people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials and not the game. And many who don't watch the game watch the commercials online (which is what I did). In fact, I have to wonder that for many the Super Bowl is not the NFL's championship game, but instead a festival of commercials interrupted occasionally by bouts of American football.

Sadly, I thought this year's batch of  Festival of Commercials Super Bowl ads were a bit disappointing. Oh, for once there were no commercials that I would describe as truly bad, but there really weren't too many that I would describe as great either. Indeed, the word that comes to my mind of this year's Super Bowl commercials is "bland". To me the vast majority of commercials aired during the game did not seem like "Super Bowl commercials" at all. They seemed more like utterly ordinary spots that could have debuted during reruns of NCIS in July.

Indeed, for once there were no Super Bowl commercials that I would even describe as offensive. Amazingly enough, this did not mean that there wasn't controversy over a particular commercial. Coca-Cola's spot "It's Beautiful" depicted scenes of various American families having fun set to "America the Beautiful" sung in multiple languages. Now given one of the families included two gay fathers I knew there would be some controversy over the commercial. That having been said, I was shocked to learn that there was actually a controversy over "America the Beautiful" being sung in languages other than English. Apparently some right-wingers were upset that the song (which is not our national anthem--that's "The Star Spangled Banner") was sung in multiple languages. To say I cannot understand the controversy over "America the  Beautiful" being sung in various languages would be an understatement.

A commercial one company apparently hoped would create an uproar turned out to be a non-event. Sodastream's initial commercial starring Scarlett Johansson was rejected by Fox, not because it was too "sexy" or "hot" as many past adverts have been, but simply because it mentioned "Coke" and "Pepsi". It really wasn't that different from the commercial that actually aired, which simply omits the references to Coke and Pepsi. In both cases, many critics (myself included) thought the spot was wholly unremarkable and not particularly hot, sexy, or even mildly interesting. Apparently, while Sodastream generated no controversy over their ad, the Israeli company has seen its share of controversy over having located their primary factory in  Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement in the West Bank.

As I said earlier, most of this year's commercials seemed to be a bit bland. Much of this may have been due to many advertisers trying to be "inspiring" and simply falling on their face doing so. The automobile manufacturers were the most guilty of this. Chevy and Masatrai both had ads that were supposed to be uplifting. Chrysler even employed the legendary Bob Dylan in their ad. Sadly, it seemed to me that most of these ads were more dull than uplifting. I do have to give kudos for Honda in their spot with Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen, which was funny as well as touching.

I also have to say that I found the movies advertised during this Super Bowl to be a disappointing lot. There was a time when the studios would advertise the "must see" movies of the year during the Super Bowl. I'm guessing the studios have abandoned this practice or perhaps no longer realise what a "must see" movie is. Of the films advertised during yesterday's game, the only one I want to see is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I have absolutely no desire to see Transformers 4 (indeed, the words "Michael Bay" and "Transformers" are enough to turn me off any film), Need for Speed, or Amazing Spider-Man 2. I guess the days when films such as The Dark Knight and Marvel's The Avengers were advertised during the Super Bowl are long past....

Anyhow, while I found the commercials aired during this year's Super Bowl to be bland over all, there were a few that I really liked. Without further ado, then, here are my favourite adverts from the 2014 Super Bowl.

Jaguar: "Rendezvous"

This is my favourite commercial from the 2014 Super Bowl. I mean, how much better can one do than a commercial that features Ben Kingsley, Tom Hiddleston, and Mark Strong? "Rendezvous" explains why so many movie villains are British.

Doritos: "Cowboy Kid"

For the past several years Doritos has held their "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, in which amateur commercial makers compete for a spot during the Super Bowl and a cash prize. And through the years many of the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" spots have proven better than many made by the professionals on Madison Avenue. "Cowboy Kid" was the first runner up in this year's "Crash the Super Bowl" contest, but I actually think it was better than the winner ("Time Machine", which is also quite good.

Budweiser: "Puppy Love"

I have always loved dogs and horses, so naturally this advert would be one of my favourites. It features a friendship between a puppy and the legendary Budweiser Clydesdales.

Toyota: "Joyride"

I am not a huge fan of Toyota's products, but I really loved this Super Bowl spot. Of course, it's hard to resist a spot that features Terry Crews finding his SUV taken over by Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem of The Muppets!

Radio Shack: "The Phone Call"

If you grew up in the Eighties (or were an adult then) you'll probably recognise a lot of that decade's icons who appear in this spot. 

M&Ms: "Delivery"

 Aside from Jaguar's "Rendezvous", this could be the most cinematic commercial aired this Super Bowl. I won't spoil it for you, but let's say Yellow has found himself in a tight spot....

1 comment:

Jim Marquis said...

I think the Radio Shack and puppy ads were my favorites. I'm a complete pushover when it comes to any commercial featuring dogs, especially like yellow Lab pups.