Media X: Unnecessary Roughness

The verdict is in on the 2009 Super Bowl ads.

As usual, Barbara Lippert won.

Adweek's venerable ad critic is all over the media during our most treasured holiday. She gets more mileage out of the self-styled ad showcase than GoDaddy's twin peaks.

She's a Super season fixture on TV. On the radio, her almost-squeaky voice is a bit off-putting, but she's still hilarious. Lippert had my local newscasters roaring over her comments about PETA's censored veggie porn spot, this year's winner in the "We deliberately made a spot so crass it will never air but we're going to get buckets of free exposure" sweepstakes.

Bob Garfield won, too. You can always count on Ad Age's famous ad critic to serve up his patented brand of pained, funny and socialist smug. I'm a little worried, though. This year, Bob wore a snazzy suit in his post-Bowl video on That's off-strategy for Brand Bob.

What's he going to do next, shave?

Basic-cable icon Donny Deutsch talked about the Big Ad Game on MSNBC this week, but he's always long on sound bites and short on substance. So who knows what he really thinks.



I'm sure it's a Big Idea, though.

No doubt there were other Super spot handicappers, but I didn't listen to them because they're mainstream media. Which means everything they know about advertising they learned from What Women Want.

The advertisers didn't get their money's worth, naturally. Even the unknowns like Cash4Gold. I don't care how many nursing home residents send in their teeth, $3 million would be better spent buying up every avail from midnight to dawn on every network in America for the next year.

And the work? Do you actually believe that what we saw on Sunday is the apex of advertising creativity? OK, what's your first, instinctive reaction to this list:

*Nasty talking flowers *Precocious, multicultural babies *Every animal on earth *An office worker hitting a co-worker in the balls with a snow globe *An office worker working--literally--under an ass *Yet another produced-to-death soft-drink panderfest to youth *Dancing jocks in Underarmour and Day-Glo lizards in 3-D Yeah, me, too. I didn't know my mouth was capable of holding that much bile.

In fact, the best thing about Super Bowl XLIII was the football game. And that's just not right.

See, there's a difference between good commercial storytelling and dumbass gimmicks. Not that you'd know it from watching the National Football League's yearly ode to Onan.

We need to shake up the Super Bowl ads. How about a spot where the E-trade baby gives Danica Patrick a shower, and we all watch via Webcam? Or a halftime show where we bring all the slackers who ever made a user-generated Doritos ad up on stage and have them throw footballs at each other's heads?

We could do a product integration deal with Crispin in which all the referees drive around the field in little black-and-white striped Volkswagens. And the entire fourth quarter would be sold to PETA so it could air a series of spots featuring hot vegetable-on-vegetable sex.

It would kill.

And we can all go back to watching the commercials instead of the game, as God and nature intended.

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