Super Bowl XLV (that’s 45 for those of you don’t speak Roman) is in the books, Jerry Jones has once again demonstrated he’s a greedy jackass, and all the ads have been run, enjoyed, lauded, dissed, and dissected. And, while everyone has their opinions of the best and worst, funniest and failures, award winners and money wasters, noteworthy and not worthy, it’s time for me to dish out my own recognition that may stray wildly from the standard Super Bowl advertising award fare. They may not recognize the best, but they’ll certainly resonate with the folks who watched the game first, the commercials second, and had a beer or two while actually enjoying the whole spectacle of the day. So, without further non-poetry…
The Water Cooler Winner
Though they may not score the highest marks with critics, this is my award for the ad that’s going to be talked about or have the catchphrase repeated at the office water cooler Monday morning. As I write this, the confetti’s still flying over the field, so I’m going to declare this one a three-way tie between:
The Teleflora spot with Faith Hill,
The Budweiser Wild West spot,
And the Mini Cooper Cram It In The Boot spot:
The Teleflora and Mini Cooper spots made the cut for their memorable spots featuring lines which, I promise, will quickly enter the vernacular this week (“Your rack is unreal” and “Cram It In The Boot!,” respectively, if you missed them.). And Budweiser scored with their Wild West spot, for which they’d run preview spots. The follow up, which featured a bad hombre in an Old West saloon breaking into Elton John’s Tiny Dancer after tasting his Bud (and climaxing with the whole place in a singalong) was funny and unexpected enough that it will have people talking today.
VW: The Force
On most everyone else’s list, the VW Darth Vader spot will hold the top spot and I certainly won’t argue. However, that VW released the spot in a :60 second format on the web Friday for press buzz (where it was viewed 13 million times before the game) left the :30 second spot they ran during the game lacking a bit. And, in my book, the ad will be remembered for the kid, not the car. Thus, the mini-Vader misses out on my Water Cooler award…
A For Execution, But… Award
Chrysler Imported From Detroit
Many advertising pundits loved the two minute spot Chrysler bought in the third quarter (bad timing for a spot that took a bit to grab the viewer) and it was a well made ad with a clever tagline. However, my problem with it was the fact that a pretty two minute spot, showing the beauty and blight of Detroit, isn’t going to undo ten years of crappy cars. Nor do I expect the presence of Eminem (who allegedly doesn’t do commercials, even though he appeared in two this year) to compel the rap-addled masses to start buying Chryslers. And finally, the shiny spot did nothing to alleviate the fact that the Chrysler 200, which was featured in the ad, still looks a bit like a rounded off Chrysler K-Car. (Thanks to Jason Baffrey for the perfect Chrysler comparison!)
The WTF Award
By giving us a claymation version of the heavily accented, street talking Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas extolling the virtues of a website that offers a private, social network for companies (ummm, what?), Chatter.com took the award for the ad that left many people scratching their heads as to what in the world they were offering. I’ve now watched the ad five times and, at least from what I can tell, chatter.com offers Black Eyed Peas tour dates and little else. That it ran right before half time and was followed with another equally muddled spot right after half time didn’t help matters…
Honorable Mention: Adrien Brody “Crooning” For Stella Artois. Someone tell me again, how does this spot establish an image for or even sell beer? And, with InBev’s ad budget, the best they could get was Adrien Brody (who, in doing this commercial, shows has far his star had fallen since his Oscar win)?
Worst Use of Monkeys Award
I’ve often said that you can’t go wrong when you use monkeys in a TV spot, especially on Super Bowl Sunday. So imagine my disappointment when careerbuilder.com who, I dare say, set the standard for monkeys in a Super Bowl spot, brought back the monkeys and had them do nothing but badly park cars. Ultimately, it didn’t do much of a job selling careerbuilder.com and the opportunity for more monkey magic was wasted…
The Thank God For The Internet Award
Another tie here, this time between the NFL American Family spot and the Hyundai Anachronistic City. Both of these spots really grabbed my eye for their use of the past. In the case of the NFL spot, snippets from TV shows past and present were digitally enhanced to portray the characters getting ready for the game in their NFL gear and, in the Hyundai spot, original technology (i.e. brick cell phones, monochrome Pong games) were shown in a modern context to demonstrate what might have happened had we settled for the earliest version of what we take for granted today. In each case, I found myself watching the spot several times to catch all the references.
The Please, For The Love Of God, Go Away! Award
Our first repeat winner and, not surprisingly, this one was the easiest for our judging panel (me and the office dog) to decide and, again, I’m not even gonna dignify it with a link: Godaddy.com. While I was ready to cut them a break when they set up the tease they’d established in years past but then broke out Joan Rivers as their new spokesmodel in the first half, the Wal-Mart of web hosts ultimately had to revert to form and go back to the cheap, tired, “go online and see the too hot for TV content” gimmick that lost its’ appeal about five seconds after they first used it several years ago. Once again, the opportunity to take whatever equity they’ve established and try to burnish their image as more than just a cheap (and lame) web host was wasted going for frothy web hits…
So, there’s my take on the roughly 40 minutes of Super Bowl 45 ads based on my likes, dislikes, and my notable lack of skills as a poet. Now…when does the 2011 football season kick off?