Super Bowl Commercial Misses



So, yeah … that was the Super Bowl.

In an effort of self-revelation and honesty, I didn’t have any stake in the game and wasn’t on board any specific team’s train. However, forced to choose a side? I was rooting for anyone but Denver. Because I’ve never liked Denver. Ever. Eh-ver.

This Super Bowl? It was simply about food and frolickry and the fun of it all while listening to what the commentators and talking heads had to say about the hoopla surrounding the affair. Because you knew they would have plenty of fodder to spew. And spew they did.

Oh … and, of course, this Super Bowl was about the commercials, too. Duh.

Earlier in the week I decided to give each and every advertisement a “preview pass.” I didn’t watch any of them prior to the game. And I’m glad I didn’t. It was a nice change of pace. It felt as if I was giving them the respect they were due. And by that I mean: Many of the companies hocking their wares paid upward of five million bucks for their ads. Five. Million. Bucks. I don’t care who you are, that’s a chunk of change, the highest ever for a spot nestled between all that American pigskin action. So, holding tight and watching them in “real time” was the way to go for me. And I’m glad I did.

Well … mostly. Overall I was glad. Except for those times when a few spots had me shaking my head in dumbfounded amazement, realizing it was time I would never get back. But they can’t all be great – I knew that going in. I’ll run a few down and zero in on one in particular …

Like Shock Top’s “Unfiltered Talk.” The company mascot – a sarcastic orange in sunglasses – does its best to verbally slam a bar patron partaking of a frosty glass of brew. The geniuses at Shock Top thought they’d capitalize on America’s snide zinger bent … but it backfired. Having to bear witness to sarcastigation between two characters doesn’t seem the most effective manner in which to promote one’s beer, does it? Result? Fail.

Or’s “Moving Day” spot with Jeff Goldblum. They thought adding singing to Goldblum’s list of creepy attributes within their commercials was a good idea. It wasn’t. It was baffling. Nothing anyone does is going to make apartment hunting sexy, interesting or enthusiastic. And especially not Jeff Goldblum in front of 88 keys being hoisted up the side of a building as a singing competition reject. Result? Sad.

Somewhat equally baffling were Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl mentions. During a chat with CBS’s Tracy Wolfson, Manning noted he had intimations to “drink a lot of Budweiser” with his teammates as the celebrations began and the night commenced. Later, on the winner’s platform, he spouted such in practically mirror image of what was said 10 minutes prior: “What’s weighing on my mind is how soon I can get a Bud Light in my mouth.” Was this savvy advertising from Manning based on pinpoint Budweiser planning? Budweiser says it was not, that they didn’t pay Manning a dime to do so. (Note: Per NFL rules, active NFL players aren’t allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages.) But if those weren’t advertising snippets at their most effective, I don’t know what is. It definitely beat the “I’m going to Disneyland!” campaign by miles. Still, the result was clunky and groan-worthy … and I’m sure M.A.D.D. and other like groups are up in arms over Manning’s words. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for controversy to shift into high gear in the coming days.

But I’ve gone off track somewhat. Here’s my #1 commercial of craptastickness: Mountain Dew’s “Puppy Monkey Baby” advertisement.

Yes, there were some wacky commercials this year but, depending on your frame of mind and whether or not you could grasp the intention of this spot, this one took the cake. And for many that meant the cake should have been taken and tossed directly in the waste bin.

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew

What a piece of dreck. Mountain Dew took a bastardization of adorable and previously-popular Super Bowl commercial icons (a puppy, a monkey and a baby) and (poorly) transmuted the parts into a monster of Frankenstein-ish anthropomorphic nightmare in order to plug their new “Kickstart,” a concoction of Mountain Dew, juice and caffeine. The spot boasted these were “three awesome things combined.” Maybe … but not in the form of this 30 second ad.

The geniuses behind this monstrosity (BBDO New York) had to have either been on an all night bender or severely idea-/oxygen-deprived to come up with this. From any vantage point the ad is hideous. $5 million was handed over to air this … ??? Not to mention the cost of BBDO New York coming up with the concept and nurturing it from idea to final product. But it was the Mountain Dew suits’ money to spend as they saw fit, no one else’s. Whatever floats your boat.

Look: The point of an advertisement is to 1) get an audience interested in one’s product, 2) be creative, and 3) leave an impression. Don’t get me wrong; this commercial did all those things. Just not in a manner Mountain Dew envisioned. As an audience member I was 1) interested in never having to be subjected to it again, 2) hoping its creativity doesn’t keep me up at night, and 3) left with an impression akin to a bad taste in my mouth. So … Mountain Dew? Mission accomplished, I guess.

One person on Twitter last night hit the nail on the head: “Kill #puppymonkeybaby with fire.” Now that’s a great idea.

Oh … one last item of note: There were a couple of terrific bookend commercials during the Super Bowl’s broadcast you might not have realized were conjoined. Helen Mirren’s Budweiser scolding to those who might get on the road intoxicated after the game and former Denver team owner Pat Bowlen’s wife Annabel demonstrating when too much Botox and plastic surgery go south, causing her to forget which of the two team camps she was planted in.



Wait … what? You mean that wasn’t a spot for the dangers of wrinkle-ridding medications and cosmetic alteration? Well I’ll be …

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