ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Super Bowl advertisements stole the show
Should we pay attention to the commercial breaks?
Gazette file photo
LAW AND ORDER OR A PILE OF PROPAGANDA? That depends on your perspective.
Jesse Martin and Jerry Orbach star in Law.
This weeks’ Shukvision is all about my amusement with
the whole phenomenon of Super Bowl advertising.
We’ve all heard the stats: a 30-second Super Bowl commercial can cost
upwards of US$2 million. For many companies, the cost is well worth it when
you consider the Super Bowl has an audience of hundreds of millions, and an
ad can pay for itself due to the good publicity and buzz about the product.
On Madison Avenue, the big winners on Super Bowl Sunday weren’t the New
England Patriots, but rather the companies whose ads proved the most popular.
Even though I’m a habitual changer of channels during commercial breaks,
I have no intrinsic problem with advertising. I view commercials, like virtually
everything else on TV, as merely entertainment. If an ad is funny, then I am
entertained and feel justified for turning on the TV (instead of, y’know,
studying). I view a poor commercial with the same indifference as a poor program.
Since most commercials are bad, I tend to tune them out like an episode of
Just Shoot Me — except for the ones with David Cross.
Heck, most TV shows are little more than glorified advertisements for the
establishment. What is the thesis of Law & Order besides, “Look,
cops are hard-working, committed crimebusters like Briscoe and Green! No racial
profiling here, no sir!” What does The West Wing do but reassure America
that their government actually has their best interests at heart? What does
Buffy do but act as a public service announcement teaching us what to do if
one is attacked by vampires?... well, maybe not that last one.
Gazette File Photo
REALLY BIG FAT ANNOYING OBNOXIOUS FIANCÉ. The most annoying thing
about this fabricated union is the fact that commercials for the show
are played over and over and over again.
So to that end, why bother complaining that the real point of the Super Bowl
(the game) is being over-commercialized? As a big football fan, the game is
the main attraction, but as long as the actual game itself isn’t harmed,
then I’m able to tune out everything else. The AOL halftime show? Sure,
why not. The omnipresent Pizza Hut logo that was floating behind Jim Nantz’s
head during the pregame show? Bring it on. I’ll only complain when it
gets so bad Tom Brady uses a time out on the field to advertise Rolex watches.
Of course, it’s somewhat of a moot point up here in Canada, since instead
of seeing the much-vaunted new ads from the American companies, we get to see
mostly Canadian ads because of Global’s broadcast rights to the Super
Bowl. This means tons of ads for Global programming, which this year seemed
to largely consist of promos for My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé and the
Survivor: All-Stars premiere. Ugh.
The winners of the Shuk Award for best Super Bowl ads go to...
3) Budweiser, for the ad about the donkey wanting to be a Clydesdale.
2) Budweiser again, for their ads featuring the referees making calls on the
field and explaining them in truthful detail (“Remember that pass interference
call we missed in the first half? This is to make up for that”).
1) The Labatt ad with the two women “sharing lipgloss.” O Canada!
Here’s a recap of some of the other ads that aired during last Sunday’s
Super Bowl telecast:
Pepsi: Spike Lee directs a heartwarming tale of a waitress who cheers up a
sad, unlucky-in-love male customer by serving him a sandwich and a Pepsi. The
two fall in love to the tune of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.”
Bud Light: Two men compare their hunting dogs — one dog
fetches a can of Bud Light, pleasing his proud owner; while the
other dog lunges at the proud owner, aiming for the crotch area.
Oh, how funny.
The American Legacy Foundation: An anti-smoking ad that asks, “What
if all companies sold products like tobacco?” and shows a
freeze-pop containing shards of glass.
Bayer AG and GlaxoSmithKline: With tons of guys watching this
game, these companies decided they had a perfect audience to promote
Levitra, a new anti-impotence drug. Former football coach Mike
Ditka takes a shot at another sport: “Baseball could use
Apple and Pepsi: Joining forces for an iPod spot, the companies
hire 16 teens, who were sued by the recording industry for downloading
music illegally, to star in an ad. To promote the Pepsi-sponsored
contest in which 100 million songs will be given away without cost,
one teen claims she will continue to download music for free.