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Super Bowl XLVI Commercial Critique

Even if you didn’t really care who won the Super Bowl this year, you more than likely watched the year’s biggest television event.  Super Bowl XLVI featured more of the same traditions American sports-lovers have come to expect: tailgate food, football jerseys, yelling at the television screen, Madonna trying too hard, and good commercials.

The Super Bowl has millions upon millions of viewers each year, and the average cost of a thirty-second spot on NBC during the game was a record $3.5 million. In addition to breaking the bank for coveted airtime, this year, almost two-thirds of the Super Bowl advertisers put their commercials online before Sunday’s broadcast.  Hoping to have their ads become viral and generate buzz, little room was left for any television surprise.

For any 80s movie fan, Honda’s modern Ferris Bueller-inspired ad hit home.  Matthew Broderick spoofs his famous character with over a dozen Ferris Bueller film references. The notorious line about life going so fast that you could miss it if you don’t stop to look (or something similar) has a middle-aged update when Broderick speeds around in a CR-V.

William Shatner dies in a fiery bus crash.  It got your attention.  The ad essentially killed off its spokesman, with no time for the “Price-line, nego-ti-ator!” jingle.   It was drama and intensity in thirty seconds, a sacrifice so vacationing families and a random nun can keep traveling.  But will The Negotiator rise from the flames in a future ad?  Stay tuned.

In actuality, while the E-Trade baby would be 5 years old at this point, he made a Super Bowl comeback this year still in diapers.  He can still give great consoling advice to new fathers, and say hi to his friend who happens to be speed dating in a maternity ward.  May the E-Trade baby stay forever young and hilarious.

Dogs were a recurring theme in ads this year, but one that got especially big laughs was the Skechers bulldog commercial.  Running against prizewinning Greyhounds, a chubby little bulldog was able to persevere (and moonwalk) to win a dog race, all due to his fancy sneakers.  We were all cheering for the bulldog more than Tom Brady at a point.

Is it really worth it to wait 3 hours for a shitty phone amongst hipsters with beards outside a cellular store?  Maybe not, but The Darkness singing “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” would definitely make it more entertaining.  In addition to a cannon, a marching band, and a gospel choir, Samsung hit “over the top” with this ad.

Interested in analyzing more advertisements?  Head to tonight’s Super Bowl Commercial Recap Party, sponsored by the Penn State Ad Club, at 7pm in 173 Willard.  Evaluate, scrutinize, and discuss which company’s ads made the play and which were a fumble!

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