How about that Super Bowl? I didn’t have a favorite team in the hunt, but was hoping for a close game. Check that. Congratulations to Baltimore friends. Sorry to San Francisco friends. The power outage worked to the Forty-Niners’ favor, and they almost turned it around. But not quite.
Though I am a declared enemy of consumerism, I enjoy the Super Bowl ads. Admittedly, they are among are culture’s glowing attempts at 30-second or one-minute storytelling. Here are some that especially caught my attention.
The Audi ad about the teenaged boy emboldened by driving his dad’s Audi to the prom. He’s so emboldened he parks in the principal’s spot at the school, then strides into the prom and plants a kiss on the prom queen. The prom king doesn’t approve and approaches him angrily. Cut to the teenager driving home in the Audi, with a black eye and a smile on his face.
The Coke ad with the ingenious idea of drawing clips caught by security cameras around the country. A couple on a bench kisses. Friends find each other and leap into a hug. And so on. “Let’s look at the world differently,” says Coke. If only a soft drink could bring so much happiness to the world.
The Budweiser ad with the horseman raising a Clydesdale as a colt, then one day shipping it off in a Budweiser trailer. Cut to the horseman reading that the Clydesdales are going to be in Chicago. He drives to see his horse, now all grown up. The horse runs after him and there’s a reunion in the streets of Chicago. Sappy, but memorable.
The Dodge Ram ad about farmers and how hard they work. With a Paul Harvey script and narration, and several striking still photos of farmers on tractors,tossing hay bails, tending livestock, and so forth. A quiet and enthralling ad, especially for those of us who grew up on farms.
The Kia Sorento ad about the toddler, while riding in the car with his parents, asking where babies come from. The dad weaves a complex and comical narrative about how human babies (and those of other mammals) come from outer space. Once the dad’s finished, the kid says a friend has told him babies come from mommies and daddies . . . The dad interrupts, and commands the sound system to play “Wheels on the Bus.”
The Mercedes ad starring Willem Dafoe as the devil, talking with a young man about signing his soul away in order to possess a Mercedes. Just before the young man signs, he looks across the street and sees a billboard ad promising a Mercedes for under $30,000. “Thanks,” he tells the devil, “but I think I’ve got this.”
The Samsung ad starring Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen. They’re talking with an ad executive about ” the next big thing,” by which they think he means their careers. But of course he’s talking about the latest Samsung cell phone. Great comic acting.
Most puerile and offensive ads? The Internet was ablaze with complaints about the racist stereotypes of the Volkswagen ad that had a Minnesotan wanting everyone to be happy and talking in a faux Jamaican accent. Then there was serial offender Go Daddy, with the slobbering lip-lock between a supermodel and a nerd. Gross understates it.