Ads on the Super Bowl: The Gods of Advertising are not pleased.

February 8, 2010

A little “Kiss.” Call a doctor; I’m gonna be sick.

I wasn’t going to write about the Super Bowl’s advertising orgy but seeing as I tweeted throughout the game I might as well finish what I started.

Headline: The game was good. The ads were not. Period. As one of my Twitter companions pointed out: “Does god-awful sound reasonable? The most expensive dreck ever produced.”

Even the Who (looking like aging creative directors) got it up better than most of the advertisers –and they’re like a hundred years old.

The best spot by far was the lone entry from Google. Simple and lovingly produced, the product was truly a hero. Telling a story via numerous searches was as inspired as it was obvious. A small masterpiece.

My favorite campaign, by default, goes to E-Trade. Tired as those babies are, they still made me laugh. Especially the one belting out “Milk-a-what?” You had to be there.

The worst ad? Where to begin? For it’s pointless waste of tons of money I give the dubious honor to a Bridgestone TV commercial. In it, a road warrior-like clan stops a racecar demanding the driver surrender his tires or his life. The driver pushes a babe out of the car and races off. The evil clan’s leader yells: “not your wife, your life!” To coin a phrase: So funny I forgot to laugh. Reminiscent of a lousy Capital One commercial, the thing was badly cast, poorly produced and born from a concept lacking any insight into the product or human nature. That the discarded wife was ridiculously hot only added to the spot’s confused tone.

Speaking of hot babes, I could easily point to Go Daddy for second runner up as crappiest campaign of the night. But giving them a number one on this list seems like a lay-up. Besides, that’s what Go Daddy wants, isn’t it? “See,” the dirt bags at Go Daddy would say, “we riled up America again!” I won’t give them that satisfaction. And will somebody please tell Danica she’s not all that?

They’ll test well, but I also pretty much hated the work from Doritos. In one spot we discover a man inside a coffin stuffed with Doritos. He died a happy man. Get it? Lord knows eating that many Doritos will kill you…

Odd as hell: There were two ads featuring nude people (Career Builder and a car commercial whose make I’ve already forgotten) one after the other. And speaking of odd as hell redundancies, what are we to make of the midget Kiss band followed by shrunken Pittsburg Steeler, Troy Polamalu? Dwarves and nudists times two. Where else but in the Super Bowl?

The controversy over the rightwing Tim Tebow ad? The spot came and went like a gnat. No one was even listening. Yawn.

The big winner of the Super Bowl: Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. With the Who and Google getting honorable mentions. On to March Madness.

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16 Responses to “Ads on the Super Bowl: The Gods of Advertising are not pleased.”

  1. Sarah said

    What about the Bud Light house? I laughed a little, but maybe I fit the target better. And no mention of the Michelob Ultra spot with Lance? I was also incredibly annoyed with the Kiss stuff – if I showed that at ad school, they’d rip it off the wall and throw it at me. No joke. Google is by far my favorite and so simple! Very relatable — most people use Google to get through their daily lives and give it no thought. I certainly do, and that spot hit me in a Chicago instead of Paris sort of way.

  2. CynDAles said

    Google was definitely the winner. Simple, clean, completely engaging, a wonderful story AND wall-to-wall product demo. As you say, “a masterpiece.” And all for less than the cost of one day of craft service on those other shoots. That being said, I’m a sucker for anything with Betty White.

  3. Jeff Jones said


    Love your assessment and totally agree. But I do question the Google spot…not for its simplicity and elegance, but for its need. Why in 2010 does Google run a spot in the Super Bowl about searching life things? That’s what we all do! Of course, this may be the point…it’s become such a default that Google felt a need to remind us how essential this product is truly woven into our lives.


  4. supdog said

    Agree on most counts. Google made pure html look beautiful.

    I was waiting to see how you would touch this one. What made the tebow ad so “right wing?” The fact that a woman made a choice? Oh wait, I forgot, the only choice the left wing believes in is to abort.

  5. adchick said

    Agreed, although my sick sense of humor thought the Dr. Pepper spot was entertaining. The Tebow spot needed the hype before the game because you’re right, it was nothing. Google was beautifully done and reinforced my use of them. Why did Google do it was a Twitter question…a reminder to help them keep their dominant position? And why all the overweight and unshaven? We’re supposed to be selling hope, aren’t we? Yuk.

  6. SRP said

    Thanks for chiming in. Sure, I missed a few calls, but 24 hours later I stand by my comments. Google still best. Why should they advertise? Why the hell not? It’s their category. Rub it in Bing’s face.
    Only called Tebow spot “right wing” because I didn’t know what else to call it…except maybe boring.
    On to March Madness. Maybe we start another tradition: March Adness? You heard it here first…

  7. pcrow said

    Did you see the Wal Mart spot (the one with the clown) that played during the play-offs? Loved it, laughed till I cried. Barely smiled at the Super Bowl Ads.
    Thank God the game was good.

  8. Loved Google, too. Small gem. My only criticism–and I say this remembering your recent posts on unintended plaigerism–is that a recent iPhone spot went through very similar paces, demonstrating a call from a friend, a search for something to do, to movie listings and times, and back to the call, all the while showing just the screen switches. Google had so much more heart, the cold look of the text coupled with the romance of Paris that let the mind wander and fill in the blanks. But still….

    • Nice catch, and I can see the similarity. I’m wondering if the similarity was more a cause of the category than the concept or the production.

      I did not watch the Game but looking at the spots afterwards, Google was the best. Among a crowd of advertisers kicking each other in the balls, the global consciousness (Google) took the high road and I consider that a terrific sign.

      My only quibble is that it promoted the idea that a besotted romantic must abase him/herself to win over the object of their affections. And seriously, that’s exactly the wrong way to start a relationship.

  9. Andrew said

    Good post. I enjoy catching up on your blog when I can, but with all of your posts about award shows, Superbowl ads and general observations/critiques . . . one has to ask: when are we gonna see Euro in the books, on the Superbowl, etc.? Haven’t seen much out of your shop. Not being a hater, just curious.

    • SRP said

      Here’s the thing about talking about my own agency’s work on this blog: if I say good things I’m a pimp; if I say bad things I’m in trouble. Neither option works very well for me or my agency. As for what’s new from Euro Chicago? Lots coming from Beam, Kraft and Valspar. Very excited.

  10. KK said

    Agreed. Amazing game. Disappointing ads. I did like the Audi Green Police, though. And seeing the underdog win made it all worthwhile.


  11. SRP said

    Lippert in Adweek chose Google as best Super Bowl spot as well. Though USA Today poll showed otherwise. Maybe, as one comment suggested on Adweek post, the only people who really liked this spot were ad geeks. For the rest of America: Doritos. Now that’s a scary thought…
    Adweek piece:

  12. greg said

    Google? Yaaaawn. Waste of money. Not everyone Googles. I don’t Google. I Yahoo.

  13. mike said

    The Dr. Pepper kiss add seemed to be brought to you by the same people who believed spinal tap was a real band. Shades of midgets dancing around a minature stonehenge. However, is Kiss a real band or just a bad one

  14. KISS spot was absolutely hateful. Here’s my take on the bunch o’ ads, (1st Half) (2nd Half)

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