Monday, January 27, 2003

Super Bowl Ads


I think James Lileks got it right in today's Bleat. Here's his review of the ads:

Bud Light: one commercial featured a fellow who attempts to chat up some beach bunnies by feigning a conversation with a sea shell; a crab leg deploys from the shell’s pink aperture and clamps on to his lip. This is a very successful ad, if you’re aiming at that portion of the beer-drinking demographic who secretly fear vaginas hide spiny crustacean appendages, but it left me cold. Another Bud Light ad featured a couple out on a date; the fellow had three arms. She asked why. He said it made it easier to order, pour, and consume Bud Light. Adding an extra arm so you can drink Bud Light is like having a doctor punch another mouth in your face so you can kiss your sister.

Most inadvertent bad comparison: Cadillac. We see a man waiting for a train in the subway; he’s sitting beneath a big ad for a lovely old Caddy, one of those battleship models that looked like someone threw a stiff sheet over Kate Smith’s corpse. It’s shot in sepia tones, which tells you it’s THE PAST. To me it looks like they hired Andres Serrano as director of cinematography. As the train accelerates, time accelerates as well, and the passenger glimpses the future of Cadillac, which sucks. Led Zep’s “Rock and Roll” introduces us to the next model of Caddy, which looks like an Aztek that had an elephant dropped on it.

Best ad: Terry Tate, Office Linebacker. One simple idea: huge human meat-anvil is hurled at frail cubicle dweebs, and after he knocks them down he berates them. Hilarious, utterly unconnected to the product, but when it was done I could hear the word REEBOK throbbing in my brain in great loud red letters.

Monster.com: a semi truck with no driver cheerfully careens through fields and towns. Nicely shot and well-edited. But it reminds you of the year when every other ad was for an internet-bubble company. One has survived, and it’s the site aimed at the unemployed. There’s the latter nineties, in a nutshell.

mLife. Still don’t know what the hell it is, one year into the campaign. Not a good sign. One ad suggests that mLife would have saved Gilligan & crew, but it’s a few years too late. We’re in a post post-Gilligan age now. The other ad required that the viewer be familiar with “Antiques Roadshow,” and poked fun at people who still plugged their phone into the wall instead of relying on cellphones. Yes, my wallphone regularly fails because the batteries are dry, or because the connection was inexplicably dropped, or because our house suddenly moved into an area without coverage. Once again: no idea what mLife is, except that it seems to involve small, portable phones. Perhaps they think we’ll sign on out of curiosity and pay more money every month, hoping for the secret of mLife to be revealed. Great: the telephonic equivalent of Scientology.

Most pretentious: Levis. In a curiously unpopulated world that nevertheless has sufficient industrial infrastructure to illuminate the entire city, two Gen YZs walk down an empty street at midnight in their jeans while a herd of bison thunder towards them. The bison, recognizing through animal intuition the power of stiff blue-hued fabric, do not mow them over, gore the corpses and toss their bloody bodies in the air. Pity.

Pepsi. Warning, Osbornekenotonics: contains Osbournes. Ozzy has had eight lives, each of which lasted 15 minutes. The timer is about to ding on #9. And please: someone feed his sullen, talentless brood to a trash compactor; I’m sick of the bludy lot a’ them.

Michelob Ultra - a female boxer (is there any other kind?) is shown working over a punching bag in what looks like some elegant Gilded Age ballroom. It looks like the same room used in a Lenny Kravitz video. And a Stones video, if I remember correctly. In any case, I gather this is a beer for people who work out in monochromatic, underlit environments. Noted.

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