March Madness -- And Adness

With two or so weeks left of March Madness broadcasts, which commercials are you getting sick of?

Granted, brands and their agencies have invested enormous creativity and resources into making campaigns tailored to MM. And some are fun and clever, at least for the first few viewings.

I’ll admit that ever since the huge showing of the spots at the Super Bowl, I’ve been scratching my head, trying to understand them. That goes for their March Madness appearances, too.

They feature two of my fave performers: “Saturday Night Live" primo comedienne Heidi Gardner, and Dan Levy, who starred in and co-wrote “Schitt’s Creek” with his father. Gardner and Levy have worked together before and do their damndest as a duo here.



Frenetic and loaded with detail, the spots feature quick cuts and big story setups and getaways -- and ostensible comedy. The sets, costumes, and other production values are top-notch, spare-no-expense.

Kudos to the commercials for being sassy. But sorry, they still don’t make sense to me.

The parent company CoStar Group acquired in 2014 and in 2021. The spots are equally lavishly produced. They feature host Jeff Goldblum interacting with wacky sci-fi creatures in otherworldly locations. Those are growing on me just because I like Jeff Goldblum.  But I don’t like the sensibility. They also strike me as wildly overdone, a few layers too many. I wish Goldblum could play himself, not “Brad Bellflower,” for example.

And the spots are also missing a directness to connect with.

I sort of get that the Dan and Heidi characters are supposed to be Homes. com operatives who infiltrate various American communities to get the lowdown on unavailable listings.  But then the joke is that they end up bungling the mission so badly that they cause havoc for the people and places they try occupying. Then they must make emergency escapes (via the company helicopter) or get run out of town on a rail?  Whose side are they on?  The idea is unnecessarily creepy. We are looking for service, not a raid.

But it seems that lots of ad agencies want to achieve a “Saturday Night Live”-like imprimatur by hiring both former and current "SNL" cast members, to inject that aura of pure comedy.

It turns out that the freaky, non-genetically winged, immense buffalo creature in the Buffalo Wild Wings spots is voiced by Beck Bennett, who performed on “SNL” for eight years.

Bennett has developed a sort of BroMonster voice for this fantasy two-thousand-or-so-pounder. The gigantic add-on wings make him look a bit mystical or even “Game of Thrones”-ish, but he’s not an ancient fire breather.  He sounds like your average Joe sports fan who just takes up most of the air and counter space at a sports bar, like the proverbial bull in a China shop.

As do many bracket-mad viewers, the buffalo bro screams at the players on TV, and tends to repeat himself.

“Oh. Come on!” he shouts. “Ya gotta box out. That’s the problems with kids these days, You gotta learn the fundamentals!”

By boxing out, he means backing into the opposition to cover them, which he does with his impressive hindquarters, and reckless abandon. 

I found these big, hairy, slapstick moves funny in the beginning, when he knocked into the people behind him, throwing them to the ground. He-he. Until  he rear-ended a female server and a guy who got the food and drink on the tray he was carrying all over his face and body.  Then some glass broke.

The beast is not exactly Fred Astaire, and leaves the mayhem that he caused in the rear of the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant to return to the bar where he started. The people sitting there look at him horrified, and he says, “What’s wrong with your faces?”

One wag on Reddit commented “I'd like to add that as a basketball official myself, all of his box outs are fouls. He's not the guy to whine about fundamentals.”   

Oh, right. How are the games, by the way?

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