Naumovich: Bud's no buddy and GoDaddy go away
I decided to combine work with pleasure on Super Bowl Sunday so I fired up the old laptop and put in on the coffee table just before kickoff. As a copywriter, I’ve always taken a particular interest in advertising, but unlike 95 percent of newspaper columnists, I have never written about the Super Bowl commercials.
This exercise did present some logistical concerns that I had not anticipated, mainly by interfering with what normally would be naturally occurring bathroom breaks. Even halftime provided no relief because, although I’m not a fan of Beyonce’s music, I am a fan of watching Beyonce and as such found her performance quite spellbinding. The power outage thus proved quite fortuitous.
A second concern with committing myself to watching all of the commercials was one of censorship. Because Super Bowl viewing is a family event in our house and advertisers have traditionally favored subject matter more suitable for sailors on shore leave, it has always been incumbent upon me to be quick with the clicker. This year, I had to cross my fingers and hope that GoDaddy wouldn’t once again expose themselves to my children (they would).
What follows is not a critique. I didn’t study production values or conduct focus groups to measure whether the messages are memorable. Nor did I employ a grading system to rank the best and the worst. This are simply my initial reactions (along with some additional research) presented to you Twitter-style, without the 140-character limit.
- Budweiser Black Crown: The word “black” when used to describe beer implies stoutness and flavor. Budweiser is known for peddling watery pilsners with only the vaguest hint of beer flavor. The Ad Council should crack down on this blatant attempt at deception.
- A milquetoast Minnesotan is speaking like a Caribbean while delivering Rastafarian messages of perpetual happiness. A nice cross-cultural vibe with a message better suited for the Jamaican Board of Tourism than a German carmaker.
- Surveillance videos, but instead of seeing stick-ups and car crashes, they’re catching acts of compassion and goodwill. A breath of fresh air amid the crass consumerism that rules the day. I hope this ad sells a lot of Coke so my stock goes up.
- Taco Bell: A group of nursing room residents sneak out for a night of hedonistic revelry. This is the Betty White Principle at work: have senior citizens say or do things that would be expected from an ill-bred delinquent and comedy will invariably ensue. It doesn’t.
- Talking babies with adult voices aren’t that funny anymore either, E-Trade.
- The kids are out of the room and GoDaddy airs its first commercial that doesn’t feature scantily-attired women. Seems a waste.
- Oreo takes the old “less filling, tastes great” debate and adapts it for the sandwich cookie. The ex-jocks of Miller Lite weren’t nearly as violent as these “cookie or cream” bookworms. The cop whispering into the bullhorn was a good gag. I’ll give it an A.
- The “So God Made a Farmer” spot for Dodge will surely be the favorite of people over 40 living in the Heartland who have a heart. Pure and powerful sentiment. Then again, Paul Harvey could have read passages from “50 Shades of Grey” and made it sound folksy and virtuous.
- Anthropomorphizing an M&M into a funny and lovable character has always puzzled me because the commercials are supposed to entice people into eating them. Mars is apparently attempting to appeal to the cannibalistic nature that dwells inside us all.
And that’s it. This year’s commercials were fine, but ultimately not persuasive. My consumption of Doritos will not be affected by a hipster and goat. Patriotism will not inspire me to buy a Jeep.
I may, however, become a farmer.
Dan Naumovich is a freelance writer and business copywriter. He can be reached at email@example.com.