Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Ads: Celebrities A-Plenty, Hits A-Few

There were a lot of celebrities in this year's set of Super Bowl ads, from Joan Rivers for Go Daddy, to P. Diddy for Mercedes, to the Osbourne's and Justin Bieber for Best Buy, but few of them hit a home run. Honestly, I think my favorite commercial was the pre-released VW ad (sans celebrity) that I blogged about last Friday. You had to have a pretty good knowledge of pop culture to understand all of the references in the commercials and I happened to be watching the game with my parents, who understood very few of them. As the New York Times stated:
To fully appreciate the commercials, it helped to be at least passingly familiar with “Almost Famous,” “Back to the Future,” Roseanne Barr, Busby Berkeley, Justin Bieber, Adrien Brody, David Bowie, Diddy, the “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings, Howdy Doody, early video games, Thomas Edison and Eminem (who turned up in two spots, for Chrysler and Lipton Brisk).
There were also quite a few car commercials during last night's game, from the P. Diddy Mercedes commercial celebrating it's history to the tune of Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz. The spot was pretty good, but P. Diddy seemed like a random, unnecessary add-on and distraction from the rest of the spot. Meanwhile, Audi targeted Mercedes as the confines of old luxury complete with a cameo from Kenny G and a stuffed Dodo bird.

In the realm of soda advertising, a few of the plethora of Pepsi Max commercials managed to completely offend my parents. Even I found them in rather poor taste. Buying that many Super Bowl spots doesn't help your brand if they're a total turn off. Coca Cola's 'Open Happiness' commercials were good, though underwhelming compared to some of their classics like the Happiness Factory from a few years ago.

Below are the best of the lot (in my humble opinion):

I blogged about this one on Friday, but it's my favorite so it's getting included again.

Motorola took a stab at Apple with it's 'Empower the People' 1984 reminiscent spot to introduce its rival to the iPad. Only this campaign is turning the tables to make Apple the drone-creating big brother company. (Check out the original Apple 1984 commercial here.)

Okay, so the Bridgestone beaver ad is a little cliche and a little reminiscent of the Geico squirrel ad from years ago, but it still made me smile.

The best car commercial of the lot, in my opinion, and one of the only celebrity uses that seemed fitting, was Chrysler's 'Imported from Detroit'. There was something about this commercial that reminded you of the American Pride that Detroit used to represent. Something that reminded you that Detroit is part of our country and it's survival is important to the rest of the country too. It was a refreshing car commercial and Eminem, while not necessary for the spot's impact, exemplified working class Detroit and money at the same time, so at least his placement made sense and had some meaning.


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