| Taken as a whole, this year's Super Bowl commercials add up to one very persuasive advertisement for TiVo. Nothing was funny or offensive enough to be memorable. Still, there is something perversely satisfying about millions of dollars being wasted in one massive orgy of poorly conceived and executed ideas. It's a war, a reconstruction project, and corporate profiteering all rolled into one, in the tiny, war-torn nation of Anheuser-Busch.
Ah, beer. The dumbest thing to advertise during the Super Bowl. Do people really need to be reminded to drink beer? The public school system fully prepares American children for knowing what to do when they finish a beer. The answer is: d) Buy more beer.
As for brand recognition, seven out of the nine total beer commercials were hawking Budweiser. "Oh my, although I have been drinking Coors Light, after that last commercial, I want to sample this Bud Light, a brand previously unknown to me. I'm sure it will taste quite different. Yes, I believe that for my ninth beer I shall sample the subtle grace notes of Bud Light, the beer recommended by the talking bear."
One new trend that spans many different products is the sincere person in the wacky mascot suit. McDonald's had a guy in a hamster suit, pitching lame ideas for catch phrases. Burger King continued its creepy plastic king series, with a kick line of chorus girls in crazy burger outfits. Another commercial showed a deadpan guy dressed as a pirate, signing autographs with a Sharpie marker. In these scenarios, the humor arises from the incongruity between the man's demeanor and the silly costume which ensconces the actual human being. We all identify with the character, but are repulsed by the costume, but also secretly attracted to it. Although it is a social taboo, we wish that we could touch the hamster, pet its soft fur, and ultimately become the hamster and scamper around in our happy Habitrail, eating tasty alfalfa and timothy hay forever and ever. Pretty basic Marketing 101 stuff.
Finally, the award for most poignant commercial (we aren't really giving out awards) goes to Dove, for their Real Beauty for Kids campaign. It showed a montage of heartbreakingly sad little girls juxtaposed with phrases like, "thinks she's fat" and "hates her hair." Dove has set up a fund to raise these girls' self-esteem, and if you don't buy enough soap, it's like you made them cry. So the only way to avoid raising Ophelia is to walk around all day constantly lathering up. A lather of guilt.
But how exactly does your money help their self-esteem? How can they stop feeling awkward, and see that they're beautiful, that they can do anything...even go up to that boy they like and just say anything, just talk and laugh and dance, and not care what anyone thinks?
Again, the answer is: d) More beer. That's right, Dove Soap buys alcohol for underage girls. Let's make it a Bud! Actually, Bud Light. Kaitlin's watching her figure.