Monday, February 7, 2011


Last week weather forecasters proclaimed we were going to have the biggest blizzard in I don't know how many years. All the media in NorthAmerica picked up on it and everyone was rushing around buying candles and batteries, groceries, rearranging plane tickets as airlines and airports began to cancel flights ahead of time. When the storm finally hit, it was nothing horrific like we had been told. It was really just a regular snow storm for most areas. And the media-hype was far more disproportionate than the actual event.

Well same can be said for this years Superbowl ads. All the hype, all the pre-game teasers were just so much of the same....hype with no substance.

When I looked at these and saw all the production money, the over the top bit parts for big stars commanding HUGE $$$$ for guys like Eminem, I cringed.

It's no wonder the ad game is in shambles. We are in WORSE SHAPE creatively than Detroit in my opinion. At least Detroit is trying to recover and their anthemic spot was not bad.

These ads, with almost no exception, were PATHETIC. Including the one everyone is touting as being so precious: The little darth vader VW ad. Now I have worked on VW and this ad doesn't even begin to resonate with the calibre of work that has been done for that brand in the past. The sad thing is, people don't even recognize that the charm in this ad was completely lost. The magic moment should have been when the kid's dad turned on the car and the kid should have FREAKED!!! and run away....that would have been charming.

His bespoke Vader costume was too over the top for me....what kid is gonna have a costume so well articulated as this one in his play box? Come on....if he'd had a homemade costume that looked enough like Vader, had some real HUMAN RELATIONSHIP with us as consumers, it would have worked far far better. Even Dad and Mom had no reaction to the kid's response which made the ad distant for me as a consumer. It didn't have that magic moment.

We have lost touch with what really touches us. We have become robotic in our approach to human nature.

Many of the ads had a real "gotcha" mean edge to them, which isn't funny and isn't cool and isn't a creative idea. One in particular is for PepsiLight or whatever they call their alternative low cal drink, where a black couple are on a bench outside and a blonde white woman sits down and black girlfriend or wife lobs the can at boyfriend, husband whatever and he ducks and the blonde takes it in the face...this is not funny, here is a woman, who takes it in the face and what do the perps do??? RUN AWAY...Yeah, that's really funny, that's really a big idea.....
Yet people laugh because this kind of cruelty has somehow been rationalized to represent slap-stick humor so now instead of pies in the face aka Soupy Sales, Lucille Ball , people are getting smacked with pop cans or Roseanne Barr is whacked with a log or Betty White is tackled, but none of it has the punch it needs to take it to big idea land. Frankly these old vaudeville tricks just aren't funny any more. And to see two or three or more ads that are just variations on that same theme within the same game, is even more pathetic.

I did like the Best Buy spot with Ozzie and Bieber. It was hilarious. Good for BestBuy and using Osbourne the way he is in his persona. It works.

I did like Career Builders spot with the chimps. It works. And it's funny. And it's simple and memorable.

All the BEER spots: espeically Stella and all of Budweiser's, all the CAR spots, all the DOT COM spots were terrible. The DORITOS spots were terrible. The SNICKERS spot was an abomination and I have worked on Snickers so that doesn't surprise me. The COKE spots were terrible as were all the PEPSI spots.

The Groupon ad with Timothy Hutton; the agency that did that abomination should be fired and the marketing group at Groupon that okayed that abomination should be fired.

The Golden Age of Advertising was short lived. One decade, maybe two. And we've never been able to even remotely get back to that place since on a national level. Sad sad sad....