WTF Superbowl Commercials: A Rant

In today’s world, it sometimes seems like we live in a constant state of advertising. Where we used to be able to ignore billboards by the freeway and the occasional bench sign, now there are ads everywhere we look. In Vegas, there are trucks made out of billboards, and their only purpose is to drive through the city all day so that every driver/pedestrian has an equal chance to dial 1-800-Bimbo. In the south, there are whole fleets of Volkswagens painted to look like bags of Skittles. Times Square is pretty much one giant commercial that blinks on and off 24-7.

And hey, that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world. I mean, everyone needs a chance to try and sell what they’re selling, right? To me, the one redeeming factor of most of today’s commercial advertising is that in recent years they’ve tried to perfect the art of entertaining while advertising. (The good ones have, anyway.) It’s like they’re essentially saying, “Hey, I know you didn’t have to stop and watch this. So to thank you for your time, here’s a little laugh to take with you on your way.” And I, for one, appreciate those guys.

On the other hand, there are SuperBowl commercials. These coveted advertising spots USED to be reserved for the few and the proud: the élite advertisers who were so good at “advertaining,” as I like to call it, that they were awarded the chance to pimp out their message to one of the largest viewing audiences of the year. And yeah, they also usually have to pay a staggering crapload of money for that privilege, but hey. It’s STILL a privilege, nonetheless.

At this point, I seem to have degraded into rant mode, so I’ll summarize. Basically, the point I’m trying to make is this: if you are paying MILLIONS of dollars in order to obtain a few precious minutes of MY time, I’m gonna expect you not to make me regret not turning off the TV. I honestly cannot imagine a scenario where a bunch of ad guys sit around one of those oblong conference tables and say things like “precision demographic” while wearing really expensive neck ties, and they’re trying to decide how to spend millions of dollars on their once-a-year chance to captivate and wow the American people, and at the end of the meeting they walk out of the room with…(wait for it:)… A CGI squirrel. (Oh wait, I guess I did just imagine that scenario. I’m already wishing I hadn’t.)

Ok guys. So you wasted a couple million dollars this year. No biggie.

But how about, next year, we try and keep a COUPLE little tidbits of info in mind, mmkay? 

1) Hyundai/Focus on the Family/Beer Guys: Inspirational commercials have NO PLACE in the SuperBowl lineup. If I want to be inspired, I’ll watch Roots. Or one of those specials about the Great Depression on the History Channel. Whoever told you that making  a person want to cry was a good stimulus for making that person want to buy things was yanking your chain. BIG TIME.

2) E-Trade: Baby ménage à trois are NEVER FUNNY. Just because it’s three babies and they’re all about the same age doesn’t make it any less creepy. I now feel like a pedophile because you made me picture two babies getting friendly.

3) Old ladies saying things like “Man, you’ve been riding me all day,” and getting hit while playing football? That’s pretty much always funny. As long as the old lady doesn’t get seriously injured. And especially if the old lady is Betty White. (That old broad is hilarious!)

4) The WHOLE POINT of having a commercial in the first place is to relay an advertising message to your audience in the most clear, concise way possible. If your commercial ends and everyone’s sitting around going, “…What?” Guess what? You FAIL. (Focus on the Family/Doritos/Dockers/Volkswagen/GoDaddy/Honda…I’m lookin at you.)

5) People in ad sales are always saying that “sex sells.” But since when does the allusion to potential girl-on-girl action that might possibly happen at some point in the future qualify as sex? And WHAT on earth does that have to do with domain name hosting, unless you happen to cater exclusively to porn sites? Even then, I’m thinking you would’ve been better off hiring a hot girl to read lines off  a couple of cue cards. (Oh, wait… I think I get it!)

6) And finally: What do Charles Barkley and LeBron James have in common? The fact that they both frequently indulge in the greasiest fast foods imaginable? I seriously doubt it. Let me give you a hint: one of these guys is only pretending he likes fat fodder in order to score a huge paycheck, because in real life his coach would KILL him if he gummed up his finely tuned athlete body with that kind of drive thru crap. The other guy isn’t. (I’ll give you another hint: Barkley’s not faking.)