A Super Sunday of Advertising
(Author’s note: I will continue soon with Part 2 of my lamentations on the technological tempests involved with operating our new car. But first, this commercial break.)
On Sunday there was an annual televised spectacle that millions of viewers tuned in to watch. In every corner of the world, large and small groups of people gathered in front of their wide screen TVs in rapt attention as the competitors gave it their best shot in hopes of winding up a winner.
Oh, and in between the commercials I’m pretty sure a football game was held, even though every time I actually paid attention to the game, the score seemed to indicate that one of the teams didn’t show up. But I digress.
Since my primary career is writing advertising copy for clients all over the country, I couldn’t let the mother of all advertising events pass without at least minimal commentary – especially since this year’s marketers paid a whopping $4 million for every 30 seconds of TV time that aired. That’s $133,333 per second, good or bad. And there was a lot of bad.
For example, the much-hyped Budweiser spots featured a non-celebrity named Ian Rappaport who is whisked away for an evening of strangeness including ping-pong with a wig wearing Arnold Schwartzenager. It was just that – strange. As was the 60-second mess promoting Maseratti’s “Ghibli” car. At least I think it was a car.
The Honda recap was only a painful reminder of all the annoying “Helpful Honda Guy” ads we suffered through last year. Help me by going away, please. T-Mobile used Tim Tebow (get it, “T.T.” for T-Mobile?) in a spot I rated ‘T’ for terrible. In other spots, the cellular company spent a lot of green simply to promote the color pink.
Toyota’s commercial crowded a bunch of Muppets into their Highlander SUV only to remind everyone watching of how much Jim Henson’s imagination and creativity is missed. H&M treated us to David Beckham without his clothes on. Yawn.
Kia was the latest advertiser to produce yet another lame send-up of the ancient “Matrix” movies (“Choose the red car key or the blue car key”). Speaking of rehashing old ideas, Axe Peace body spray spent a huge amount of money to encourage world leaders to make love not war. It stunk.
One of my least favorite commercials promoted Subway’s new “Whole Enchilada” menu item (I’d bet Jared Fogle won’t be eating this doozy). The spot was stale and cheesy, to say the least.
On the other hand, some of the TV spots were engaging, funny, memorable or different in such a way that they brought a smile or a tear (or both) to this ad veteran’s face. In this category I include Volkswagen’s “Wings” spot in which a German engineer earns his wings each time a VW hits 100,000 miles on the odometer. It’s a brilliant concept perfectly executed and the creative team at Volkswagen’s agency deserves its own set of wings for the effort.
Radio Shack produced a brilliant spot announcing that “the 80s called and want their stores back!” (Sure, but is my Free Battery Club Card still valid?). Doritos – as has become the tradition – aired a couple of “homemade” commercials which were far superior to many of the professionally made spots. Heinz Ketchup also had a funny entry that earned bonus points with me for the fart noise coming from granny’s almost-empty ketchup bottle. Gets me every time.
The most popular commercial of the game turned out to be Budweiser’s “Puppy Love/Best Buds” entry telling the heartfelt story of a too-cute puppy and his Clydesdale companions. Completely predictable but perfectly produced. The only way to improve the spot would have been to have the puppy find the E*Trade talking baby who was missing from the commercial lineup this year.
Maybe he knew it wasn’t going to be a good year for football or commercials.
I’ll see you ’round town.