Super Bowl Ads Disappoint

By half time of last night’s Super Bowl, I was wondering who put the valium in the Raiders Gatorade. And why, I wondered, have movies become so apocalyptic? And why did the ad world’s night to shine get hijacked by creepy animal spots.

My sentiments lasted through the game. If this represented creative TV trends for 2003, gimme a magazine. If it was the event that everybody put in their best effort for, I’m with the Raiders. Let’s do it over. The Super Bowl – outside of some truly creative and brilliant ads – was lame from the ad side. Branding came off as forgettable. Clever showed up in various Bud and Bud Light spots. But first let’s start out with that first half sinking feeling.

Here’s why the world was a scary and surreal place to me last night. We had two morbid anti-drug and anti-smoking ads. We had five apocalyptic action movies. (By the way, does Jennifer Connelly risk being typecast as the significant other of strange fellas? First Beautiful Mind, now the Hulk?) And we had four spots in a row that depicted bad animals doing bizarre things. Sierra Mist’s dogs exploded, the Trident squirrel bit the wrong nuts, a crab bit the Bud Light man and two overly skinny people waded through a heard of charging bison for Levi’s.



The second half looked more like your average prime time lineup. In fact, outside of Sony’s ad featuring the guy who went into space with the Russians, I can’t recall a good one. Oh yeah, there were mLife spots, which I thought was the new brand name for AT&T Wireless, but AT&T Wireless sponsored the halftime show. Discuss.

There were brilliant efforts. But they fell short. Bud ads were very funny but lacked a viral component on the order of “Whassup?” The Pepsi twist ads with Ozzy and the Osmonds should have been played into a series of spots, a la Britney. And Visa put a great twist on the Barber twins spot, and came up with a truly funny spot for the NBA’s Yao Ming.

The Super Bowl has a great track record for showing off advertising. I think the business needs to live up to that. Consumers are looking for a couple of laughs as well as some truth in a world that has little of it. We gave them about as much to take from the game as the Raiders took away. Nice effort, but you coulda done a lot better.

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