The Ad Fool   

SuperBowl Ads 2012: Part I

Well the big game is now done and gone, the prizes have been awarded (BTW, sweet ride Mr. Manning) and poor Tim Brady must be forced to contemplate his fate whilst staring at the reflection of his supermodel wife in one of the three rather gargantuan Super Bowl rings he already has. Hey, it’s tough all over big shooter but take your time. Anyway, you know all I really care about are the ads, so here we go.

I have got to start off with a moronically good spot called Happy Grad from Chevy. This ad is just freaking hilarious. It’s simple as hell – proud parents attempt to surprise their high-school graduating son with a mini-fridge....that just happens to be situated right next to their neighbor’s brand new convertible Camaro. Dumb kid mistakes Camaro for his grad gift and great hilarity ensues. I know, I know. It sounds hacky as hell but the guy playing the kid is awesome. He just sells his insane happiness so well that you can’t help but laugh your butt off at his horribly misplaced elation. His friends, his girl, everyone. And when the annoyed neighbor has finally had enough and drives off in his car the clueless grad exclaims “Hey, Mr. Johnson just stole my car!” you know it was perfect. If only the Volt had that much spark to offer.

The original Captain Kirk was back for Priceline but this time appears to be his last. In the ad he seems to give his life for the bus passengers as well as the best deal available. Was it shocking or particularly earth-shattering in any way? Truthfully, no, but for some reason whenever William Shatner shows up on TV I feel a weird compulsion to write about the man. I think deep down it’s a Canadian thing....

Okay, now I didn’t want to actually say this. In fact, when I first heard about it happening I was excited. I really wanted to love the Honda spot. The tease they offered just earlier in the week made me almost giddy. The idea was that Honda had decided to do a riff on Ferris Bueller with the man himself, Matthew Broderick (kinda, sorta) reprising his role for an ad pumping their new CRV. In it, Matthew wakes up, declares the day too beautiful to work and proceeds to phone in sick to....his agent? See, it’s Ferris, but not really. Anyway, he proceeds to run around town ala Ferris with one glaring, shocking omission: no friends. None at all. Not one. He hits all the famous movie’s notes but without interacting with any other person as a friend. Now, I know some people may name this the best spot of the game just ‘cause it mentioned Ferris but to me it was a sadly pathetic picture of who Ferris Bueller actually grew up to be: a friendless, boring, slightly chubby everyman that drives a....CRV? Yeah – they give the guy that chose a classic Ferrari for his big day off a pedestrian little CRV. OMG Honda, either the focus group you tested was high on crystal meth or they only ever watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with the subtitles on. You killed Ferris Bueller Honda and that might just be unforgivable.

Now, the new Pepsi spot was kind of weird. Here we had a sort of Medieval-cum-Flash Gordon sort of kingdom where the cruel king (played by Elton John) dispenses wicked justice by trap-dooring those that do not amuse him. All they want is some Pepsi goddamnit! (which for those paying attention, was my own allusion - plus mashup – to the classic Schwarzenegger quote from The Running Man) Anyway, after he dumps some jester down the trap singer Melanie Amaro steps up and belts out R-E-S-P-E-C-T, shatters some windows, and gets the grudging appreciation of the wicked king (queen?). He then offers her Pepsi for one, to which she replies, “Not for one, for all!” – tossing the single can and dropping old shiny britches himself into the dark pit below where – wait for it – a be-clocked FlavorFlav is waiting. I gotta say, the ad sucked hard until that toothless freakshow turned up. I hope he at least got lunch for his trouble. Or fillings.

Another one was a new spot for Oikos Greek Yogurt featuring perennial heartthrob John Stamos. Whatever that guy’s skin regimen is, boy does it work. The man is lovely. Anyway, he and the girl are making googly eyes at one another as they wink and tease while sharing some clearly wonderful Oikos Greek Yogurt. But handsome John gets a little too protective of his yogurt and she absolutely flattens him with a merciless Liverpool Kiss (look it up...or watch the ad). Anyway, watching Uncle Jesse get nailed so painfully was pretty funny. So funny that I bet even Bob Saget himself might take time from his never-ending line of coke and working girls to watch. Seriously, I’m told that man is truly scary, plus ten.

One of the top ads had to be the Acura spot featuring Jerry Seinfeld. In the piece, Jerry swoons over the new Acura NSX, wishing he could be the first one to own it. The salesman points to another guy and says that actually he’s first. Jerry immediately tries to buy the other guy’s position on “the list” with ever increasing bribes. First, it’s $20, then the Soup Nazi. He goes to an original Munchkin, free standup, small talk with omelette guy, a dead alien from Roswell, a fast boat and finally, exclusive access to his own network of personal Manhattan zip lines. The last one seals the deal, but only until Jay Leno rockets into screen wearing a flying squirrel rocket suit (don’t ask). The guy then gives the car to Leno (who laughs truly maniacally) while Jerry is left to commiserate with his remaining stash of weirdos. Hilarious.

Time Warner Cable cooked up a real stinker starring Ricky Gervais who is now officially two for two in letting me down. First he stunk up the Golden Globes by giving in and kissing the ring (plus a few other things) and now he does the pretty much the same for some Time Warner cash. The spot was clearly expensive but it was just so pointless and dull. And Ricky looked and sounded like a braying schmuck who was trying too hard. It’s too bad the guy’s an atheist. He’s got no one to blame it on but himself.

Oh, and for the record: who in the bloody blue hell is continuing to tell Coke that those stupid Polar bears are such a hot sell to the rest of us? Did somebody’s brother gin them up or something? That particular ad-idea ship set sail ages ago. The CGI just looks fake and strange. No one loves them! Can’t they do something besides this? They’re Coke for goodness sake. Throw more money at the problem. Maybe try a new flavour instead. That worked once, right?

Century 21 featured loud-mouth-of-the-moment Donald Trump, this time being out-negotiated by a gorgeously red-headed (yet still golden-jacketed) supposed real estate genius. She also managed to “Trump” Mr Look-at-me Deion Sanders, besting him at promoting his own home sale. Heck, she even had time to out-speed-skate Apollo Ono to close his deal. Wow! It’s like they’re so crazy good at the whole real estate thing that the actual North American mortgage meltdown never happened. Hey, wait a minute, did I dream that?

Finally, the spot of the night had to be the Chrysler one featuring Clint Eastwood delivering an American pep talk, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a very long time. You can be cynical and call it superficial, you can be skeptical and call it ham-fisted. Hey, you can ever call it a waste of time but holy cow can that man sell an idea. Listening to Clint talk is like hearing gravel sluice through a storm drain, but the message he offered was tailor made for anyone feeling down about damn near anything. I guess Eastwood’s the closest thing the USA has to an actual leader these days so it’s just as well he took the time to address the nation during their biggest sporting event of the year. Just the fact that the man even got paid to do so just proves how much he knows what he’s doing. Forget Newt or Mitt or even whiny Barack. It’s Dirty Harry for President in 2012!


Check back next week for the best of the rest (plus some stenchy seconds too).

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About the Author

My qualifications? Who am I to critique commercial advertisement? I have no degree in marketing. I don't work for an ad agency. I'm not an advertising professional. I am barely qualified to judge an Oreo stacking contest. Who do I think I am?

I am a target and I have been shot at by advertisers every single day of my entire life. Sales pitches are a part of living, and as a raging consumer taught to accumulate stuff and needing only a semi-good reason to do so means I'm more than qualified.

When Heinz introduced colored ketchups I bought purple and green. When Coke added vanilla I got a case. Crest puts whitening in the toothpaste and I'm brushing my teeth. Create a new package and I jump up and down. I can't help it. I'm an AdFool.

Jarrod Thalheimer is a freelance writer living in Kelowna who spends far too much time watching television and movies. He can be reached at [email protected]

Visit Jarrod's website at www.adfool.com



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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