Monday, February 7, 2011

Musings on SuperBowl commercials

The Super Bowl broadcast is, er, the Super Bowl of TV commercials.  It has become a showcase for short form video wizardry.

In case you missed them "live" (I mostly did), Hulu has your back. [UPDATE: Gadget is borked.]

As usual, some commercials were hits, and many more were just not impressive.

My favorite was Best Buy's commercial, because, well, you just can't go wrong with Ozzy.  I often wonder how much is scripted and how much is just Ozzy being Ozzy.  Along that line, VW's use of Darth Vader will always work for a certain demographic (probably the right one for VW).

There were a lot of other celebrity commercials that I thought did not work so well.  Groupon's commercials fell flat for me--the Tibet one in particular will probably ruffle a few sensitive feathers. Groupon is hoping to draw attention to those causes, but the snarkiness that is so funny to hipsters probably fell flat with a nationwide audience [UPDATE: It did. Groupon had to apologize and pull the ads.].  Sketchers' commercial with Kim Kardashian was better.  Audi's commercial probably had the best celebrity participation with Kenny G--wow, how long has it been since I've been impressed by Kenny G?

Universal's commercial for "Cowboys and Aliens" gave us a preview of the first flop of the summer.

Perhaps my highest scorn is reserved for Motorola's ad for the Xoom.  If you are going to knock off Apple's 1984 commercial, which is generally regarded as the best commercial of all time, you had better bring your A game.  Motorola did not.

My favorite ad of all time?  It would have been the 1984 commercial if they had eliminated the speech and text at the end, and instead just faded to the Apple logo.  That would have been magic, but probably not as effective at selling Macs, which back then were definitely a fringe item.

So, I think I have to go with Reebok's Terry Tate ads from five years ago.  Funny, and set up to go viral with a good web tie-in.  Plus, the branding is subtle.  Oh, and a nice homage to Office Space with the TPS reports.

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