So either I’m truly getting older, more cynical and harder to impress (maybe), or the ads just continue to be underwhelming (probably). It’s a good thing that at least the actual game was interesting to watch.
Again this year, there were animals, celebrities, special effects and plenty of sophomoric humor.
While CareerBuilder brought back the old, reliable monkeys to make their point about “bad jobs”, it worked because it was a simple, relatable, well-executed idea and the monkeys make you smile.
Okay, full disclosure. I’m an animal lover so typically, put a critter in a commercial and have some level of cleverness to the spot and you’ll hook me. It’s no surprise, then, that I liked the Bridgestone beaver spot.
Yet, the Doritos and Bud Light spots featuring dogs did nothing for me. Maybe they felt too predictable or too sophomoric. Or maybe they were aimed at a demo that I don’t fit. The USA Today poll showed those two spots were voted top favorite Super Bowl commercials. My guess is this has a lot to do with which demo was most likely to be online voting for their favorite commercial vs. whether or not the commercials were really that good.
A lot of celebrities were paid big bucks this year but the agencies and clients (let’s not forget they ultimately approve these big budget bonanzas) didn’t seem to know how to really leverage them. No surprises from Ozzy or Bieber; they did exactly what you’d expect them to do. And what a waste of comedians Richard Lewis and Roseanne Barr in the Snickers spot. But perhaps the most bizarre use of a celebrity? Adrien Brody as a singer in a smoky jazz club with eyes apparently only for “Stella”. He went from winning an Oscar to hawking beer. I’m sure there’s an artistic reason for it.
The one exception for me in the celebrity category was the use of Eminem to help tell the proud comeback story of the “Motor City”, proudly building American cars (in this case, Chrysler). This spot was well written and executed and pulled just the right heartstrings for me (and in fairness, maybe it’s because I’m a former Clevelander and I saw the parallels between the two once great cities struggling to come back).
Then, of course, there were the spots chock full of special effects and supposed high production value. Note to agencies: the amount of cash you spend on a spot is not necessarily commensurate with its success. Simple, clever, well-executed stories always trump an average idea disguised by a lot of expensive, whiz-bang stuff.
The VW spots were both different and interesting for auto commercials; they were as much about the user of the brand as the brand itself.
Overall, I was very underwhelmed by this year’s 2011 Super Bowl commercials; what did you think?