Oy. Every year I keep hoping for a great return to form, and every single year I am disappointed.
The Super Bowl was played yesterday -- you may have heard something about it -- and it turned out to not only be a rematch of the 2008 game between the Patriots of New England and the New York Giants, it actually turned out to basically be the same game. Much like The Hangover IItried way, way too hard to replicate the exact formula which made the first one so successful, this Super Bowl pretty much followed the script of the last one to a T.
You had the late comeback by the Giants, including the David Tyree moment courtesy of Mario Manningham this year, the failed final attempt by the Patriots, the surprisingly low point total, all of it. The same damned game.
Okay, so it was the same damned absolute classic of a game, but still. I saw this movie already. And really, I only watch for the commercials anyway. Though I guess getting to see MIA flip off the camera while fancying herself a real rebel was alright. (Terrible halftime show, by the way; the dude in a toga bouncing on a piece of tape was okay, but beyond that I mostly just felt bad for Cee-Lo Green, who really deserved better.) Still, it was yet another thin year for the commercials, even after I threatened last year to just stop caring about them altogether.
Okay, first things first: seeing David Beckham get nearly naked for an H&M commercial was, well, refreshing. No, the spot doesn't make the list, mostly because it was just David Beckham not wearing any clothes and I don't think that's a particularly great advertisement, but still, I was rather pleased to see it. After seeing nothing but scantily-clad women on commercials for most of my natural life, it was really interesting to see an equal-opportunity exploitation taking place on the screen. Plus, it's also encouraging to me that at least one company finally realized there are a large number of women watching the Super Bowl, too; maybe they wouldn't mind seeing a nude dude once in awhile.
I'll give an honourable mention to the Acura NSX commercial with Jerry Seinfeld, just because I enjoyed seeing the Soup Nazi. Honorable mentions also go to the Dannon commercial featuring John Stamos getting headbutted, because I've always wanted to see John Stamos get headbutted, and the Ferris Bueller spot. Sure, it was actually pretty lame, and the fact people have been talking about it for a couple of weeks already after someone decided we now need commercials for commercials made it even lamer, but it's still tough not to like Matthew Broderick talking to the camera.
I do have to give a dishonorable mention to the newest Go Daddy commercial, though. Don't get me wrong; I was never a huge fan of their adverts in the first place, but by this point in time they're basically just making softcore porn flicks. And I say that's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You want people to remember your company? You've got to go all the way.
I'm thinking you get some guy to tattoo Go Daddy on his dick and then make a series of hardcore pornographic films. Danica Patrick certainly seems like she'll do anything for a commercial, so I'm sure we could get her on board. Now all we need is a dude. Someone who would be willing to sacrifice his dignity for a commercial. Better yet, someone who has no dignity to begin with! Maybe an internet columnist of some sort....you see where I'm going with this, right? Plus, let's be frank here: thirty second spots would be absolutely perfect for me.
Anyhow, now that we've got that out of the way, let's move on to the five best Super Bowl ads of 2012, shall we? Why five? Because it was a bad year and I couldn't come up with ten.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Toyota Camry -- Reinvented
Okay, so it doesn't really tell you much of anything about the Camry itself. Who cares? The point of the advertisement isn't to educate you about the car. The point is to make you remember the name.
The thing I really like about this commercial is that the guy is still kind of okay with the couch being made of scantily clad dudes. He's a little less excited than he is about the girlie couch, but not really unhappy about the guys. I find that kind of noble.
Volkswagen -- The Dog Strikes Back
Two years in a row Volkswagen has scored a top ad, and did so this year with a pretty brilliant callback. The fat dog is funny, the new VW Beetle is a serious improvement over the old New Beetle (boy, that's tough to keep straight), and it's giving a remarkable amount of credit to your audience featuring a callback to an ad I know I haven't seen in seven months or more. What's not to like?
The Voice -- Vocal Kombat
Okay, just ignore the first 30 seconds or so, where terrible pop stars you shouldn't care about do Kung Fu moves, and just pay attention from the point where Cee-Lo shows up in Beatrix Kiddo pajamas. Because it's Cee-Lo in Beatrix Kiddo pajamas, and then Betty White shows up. And not just Betty White. Seductive Betty White. Oh hell yes.
Attention all advertising executives: I do not care what you're selling. Put Betty White in the commercial and I'll put it on some kind of best of list. Seriously. Could not care less what the commercial is for.
Hyundai Veloster Turbo -- Cheetah
Why, you ask? Why do I have this one on my list when I'll bet almost no one else does? Because I hate animals talking jive and acting like humans. This cheetah didn't sass anyone, it didn't break into song, it didn't fucking moonwalk. (Seriously, that moonwalking bulldog had better hope I never run into him in a dark alley.) No, the cheetah did what a real cheetah would do if you kept it in a cage and tried to get it to race a car: it attacked the dude who put it in the cage. And that's animal behaviour I think we can all get behind.
Also, that guy did a really good job screaming like a terrified ten year old girl. Top notch acting there.
Chrysler -- Halftime in America
Sure, it's pretty much out-and-out jingoism thinly disguised as a car commercial, but you know what? Screw it. Clint Eastwood is the effing man.
Plus, when it comes right down to it, I admire the tack Chrysler is taking with their advertisements. It may be just semi-transparent pandering, or it may not be, but invoking the legacy of a past great company? I have to admit it's working on me. There were no breasts -- not that I'm saying commercials shouldn't have breasts in them, mind you; not by a long shot -- there were no talking dogs, no dancing dogs, no obnoxious babies giving stock advice. And yet I'll bet everyone who saw this ad last night will remember it.
There's a lesson here, I'm sure. I just wish I were smart enough to figure out what it is.
So there you have it, folks. The five best commercials from the 2012 Super Bowl Market-O-Rama, as chosen by me. Oh, one last honorable mention: the teaser ad for the new Hulu Plus with Will Arnett. The full ad was stupid, but the teaser was great. I'll watch anything, literally anything, to hear Will Arnett yell, "Come on!"
Rough year, frankly. The beer commercials seem to have taken a near-permanent vacation from humor or quality, I'm tired of Doritos advertisements with dogs doing, well, pretty much anything, and the car companies are damn near winning by default. There wasn't a single brilliant spot this year to match up to last year's Motorola Xoom tablet spot (the one aping Apple's famous 1984 commercial), or Google's minimalist masterpiece of two years ago.
And yet companies keep paying more and more for the air time every year. You'd think at the cost of the adverts they would put a little more work into making them worth the price they've paid.