So the ‘Super Bowl 50’ came in like a star spangled banner spanking my eyeballs and earholes. I’ve always been a fan of this overblown spectacle especially the adverts.
This year, from a creative perspective it seemed that the majority of spots were suffering from some kind of fatigue; the result of a law of diminishing returns … the same that befalls blockbusters sequels; all the keys to the kingdom are handed to the teams but the central idea as to why they are making this stuff has been lost.
We had numerous high profile celebrities propping up woefully under-baked creative. One KIA spot took place in the “Christopher Walk-en Cupboard” – stretching a half-arsed pun to breaking point. Now, I adore the King of New York but he’s close to becoming the latest Hasselhoff .
Helen Mirren joined us at the mid-game festivities to give us all a matronly and strangely delivered ticking off for drink-driving … thanks Budweiser for the mid-game buzz kill.
Even the fearless Amy Schumer and Seth Rogen couldn’t save Bud Light in a spot that was extremely light on everything other than budget.
A CGI squirrel, or some kind of Groundhog thing, popped up selling something or other and that is all I can say about that one, and as much as I love Willem Dafoe and Steven Tyler, both of these enigmatic giants were hung out to dry by Skittles and Snickers spots respectively, each delivering a dull toothache rather than a giddy sugar rush.
With access to Hollywood celebrities, the best production facilities, astronomical budgets and at least a year of lead in time, am I jealous? Yes.
Would it be wrong to expect a greater level of emotional engagement with this expensive creative work? Absolutely not.
Fear not, although the good stuff was marginal, it was in there among the bloated dross and here are my favourites:
1. Toyota Prius – ‘Heck on Wheels’
The only goofy spot that really made me laugh, a fantastically silly musical number that’s a joy to watch. This spot fearlessly owns it’s silly premise and piles on the delightfully stupid. Quack.
2. NFL: Super Bowl Babies
A lovely, if a little creepy, way of celebrating 50 years of the Super Bowl. A musical number sung by children conceived on Super Bowl night. Different, schmaltzy, no imagery of men chasing a ball and its only downer is Seal popping up.
3. Jeep – 75 Years
A beautiful heritage sell. The use of emotive stills, music and great copy places Jeep at the heart of American history.
4. Turbotax – ‘Never a sellout’
It made me smile despite my memories of the Barclays spot. Got to love old Hopkins and the repetitive use of that product name.
5. OIC – Opioid Induced Constipation
I chose this odd arthouse styled commercial as I initially thought it was a parody. It isn’t.
6. Mini Cooper – ‘Defy Labels’
Nice gender bending, stereotype smashing copy and great to see a car commercial selling the attitude rather than engineering.
7. No More – ‘Text Talk’
Nice simple execution and familiar audio design cuts through the bluster and noise of the event with a strong message.
8. Advil – ‘Anthem’
A pain-killer commercial without any science bits? I like. This breezy spot with the lo-fi approach, question mark motif and internet-influenced aesthetic make it an easy pill to swallow.
And a special mention to ‘Meet The Ketchups’ because it’s daft, cute and has sausage dogs in it … Oh, and it would never happen in real life…