Once upon a time, “the big game at the end of the year” wasn’t just the championship contest between the National Football League’s two best teams. No, the Super Bowl was also a national platform for various companies to showcase their products via 30- and 60-second commercials in the most creative and ingenious ways possible.
If you can recall, remember the greatness of the Budweiser frogs and the Clydesdales playing football, the talking E-Trade baby, the Betty White Snickers, the McDonald’s Michael Jordan versus Larry Bird game of “horse”, the various talking M&M’s commercials (specifically the “Sexy and I Know It” parody), and so many more clever ones!
These days there is still a huge market for Super Bowl Sunday advertisements and they come at a premium. The cost for a 30-second spot was upwards of $4.5 million. This past Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Patriots was the most-watched Super Bowl of all time. There are a lot of eyes on the television and a lot of potential customers.
But what has become of the advertising message? The humor is either hard to come by or ceases to exist in many of this era’s Super Bowl commercials. Take Sunday’s slate of ads for example. The overall tenor of the commercials was one of raw emotion than light-hearted comedy. Many advertisers tried to pull at the heartstrings of their audiences rather than pitch their product in humorous fashion.
In fact, a lot of the commercials’ entertainment value and plot lines had little to nothing to do with the product itself. For instance, can someone explain to me what a few of the parenting commercials had to do with automobiles? As if the kind of car you drive means you’ll be a better father?
Here’s a look at some of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the 2015 batch of Super Bowl commercials.
‘Lost Dog’, Budweiser
I’m not sure what a dog who goes for a joyride and gets lost and has to be saved by a bunch of Clydesdales has to do with beer, but it was cute and emotional and gets props for that.
‘Blue Pill’, Fiat
An old man looking to make love to his woman goes into the bathroom to get his pill but misses tossing it into his mouth. It flies out the window and lands inside the gas tank of a Fiat, thus giving the Fiat more “virility.”
‘Middle Seat’, Doritos
A young man aboard an airplane, sitting in the aisle seat and not wanting to give up the middle seat to just anybody, fakes being sick and does everything in his power to prevent other passengers from sitting next to him. He then spots an attractive woman and offers her the middle seat next to him, but is disappointed when she winds up with a baby.
‘Like a Girl’, Always
I’m not a sexist, but I had a problem with the feminism behind this ad. If I have a daughter, I will raise her to be the best she can be and support her in her endeavors. But the male and female bodies were designed by God physiologically different. That’s why they play different sports; the “majority” of women don’t have the same strength and motor skills that “most” men do. So, when men say to other men “you throw like a girl,” it’s not really meant to put down women (even though it may sound like that). It’s meant to say that that man is physically weaker than his male competition. That’s not an inaccurate statement. That’s Science and Physiology 101.
‘When Pigs Fly’, Doritos
A little boy on a farm asks a man if he can have some Doritos. The Man retorts, “When pigs fly.” The little boy then lays out a blueprint to strap a rocket jet pack to a pig’s back to send him “flying.” The boy gets some Doritos. This is one example of what I meant previously by saying some commercials try too hard and cease to be funny. This was a predictable plot and not very humorous.
Mindy Kaling, of The Mindy Project, has been ignored, leaving her to believe she is actually invisible. So she goes around doing things someone might feel like doing if they didn’t think anybody was watching. She later learns she really isn’t invisible, just ignored. The message from Nationwide is that they won’t ignore you. Not really funny, not really creative.
‘Listen’, No More
A 9-1-1 call is placed and the phone conversation occurs with shots of a disorderly home in the background. The operator is asking if the woman on the phone is okay and the woman is speaking in code to let him know something is wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the efforts of NoMore.org to bring attention to domestic violence and sexual assault, especially during the Super Bowl, considering there have been NFL players found guilty of such crimes. But for me personally, a man of God who shudders at the mere thought of domestic violence, I didn’t need or want to see the commercial. But I pray that domestic violence comes to an end.
Nationwide has drawn a lot of criticism for this one. A boy narrates all the things that he’ll never get to do in his life … because he says he died from an accident. The camera then shows various common household accidents that could lead to such a tragedy. While I understand the message that is trying to be sent — beware of the dangers and hazards in your household you otherwise might overlook — I’m not sure this message had to be sent in such a manner.
‘Game of War’, Machine Zone
Frankly, I’m sick of these commercials. Supermodel and “actress” Kate Upton has been the spokeswoman for the video game, Game of War, for a while now. The idea that “sex sells” has been around for eons, so I’m not the slightest surprised that Machine Zone would hire Upton to promote the game. But the idea that Upton flaunting her chest in a skimpy outfit would somehow entice me to play this game is insulting as a man.
There are many other commercials that I found either good, bad, or ugly. Here’s a complete list of Super Bowl commercials for you to review.