This year's Superbowl is probably already being criticized for having "the worst commercials ever," a charge that has no doubt been levied against the Superbowl every single year for the last 15 years. However, for the first time, I'm inclined to support the claim. I can't believe how lazy the spots were, for the most part. It's as if the advertisers sort of gave up on creating memorable concepts - assuming the 1984 Apple spot still remains the benchmark of achievement in Superbowl advertising spots - and just kind of settled comfortably for farting horses and dogs with boners. Because, well, who doesn't like that? (don't look at me.)
I wish I were exaggerating, but it was all there, bumpered between the Superbowl's typical ode to smacking muscle and its new advocacy of sexual wilding. (nice career moves, guys!) The Superbowl commercials featured the comic antics of horses, donkeys, bears, monkeys, and dogs, among other things. In case you missed the show, here is a round-up of some of the more talked-about spots:
The year is 1953. A young African-American boy stands at a crossroads, deciding whether to give his quarter to a Pepsi vending machine or a Coca-Cola vending machine. As he gives up his loose change to Pepsi, and slugs from the bottle, we learn that young boy is Jimi Hendrix! Then we cut to a circus elephant taking a huge shit on the Coca-Cola machine. Close call, Jimi!
John Nuveen & Company
This bond company has become a household name, if only because of its controversial advertising. In their latest spot, an update on a previous Superbowl ad, Christopher Reeve is seen poised in the wings, seated in his wheelchair, as someone stands behind a lectern and announces his name to accept an award. Rather than wheeling himself to the speaker, Reeve miraculously stands and (with the aid of CGI effects) walks to the lectern. Just as he's about the reach the lectern, a jack russell terrier jumps from its owner's lap, races onstage, leaps high in the air, and bites down on Reeve's crotch with a loud "kerrunch!" The rooms gasps, then falls silent, and Reeve, with a great pained expression and a pinched castrata voice, says, "now that's just super, man."
Office of National Drug Control Policy
Two stoned teenagers blow pot smoke into their dog's face, to get the dog high. The dog staggers outside, on to the driveway, bumping against the doorway as it goes, and the teenagers' laughter grows into loud hysterics. Then we cut to a close-up of a car's steering column, and a dog's paw turning the key in the ignition. Cut back to the two teens, still giggling, now on the floor of their living room, playing video games. They hear an engine rev, then tires squealing, then the loud crash of a deadly vehicular collison. One of the kids' eyes widen. He drops his controller, stands up, and says, "Dinky!"
H & R Block
A woman masturbates a horse. As the horse is about to climax, the camera cuts away to a business person holding a briefcase. He is staring at the coupling in disgust. As we hold on his face, we hear the horse whinny. Then the business person dryly comments, "I would never do such a thing," and heads into his office. As he pushes through the revolving door, the camera swings up and outward, revealing the business name above the door: H&R BLOCK.
A woman masturbates a horse. As the horse is about to climax, the camera cuts away to a business person holding a briefcase. He is staring at the coupling in awe. As we hold on his face, we hear the horse whinny. Then he pumps his fist in the air, shouts, "AWESOME!" and heads into his office. As he pushes through the revolving door, the camera swings up and outward, revealing the business name above the door: Anheuser-Busch.
Public Service Announcement for the Prevention of Child Abuse
Stark, white set. A small girl -- around 6 years old -- is seated on the floor, and illuminated by soft, white light. The girl is freckled, and wears her hair in braids. She has a band-aid on one knee and is petting a kitten. We hear only the sound of a kitten purring, then a voice-over (narrated by glenn close) that is gentle, but concerned. "The difference between a bright future and a dark journey starts in your own home. If you know a child is being abused and you do nothing, the problem doesn't just go away. Your words, your love can protect a child like this [CLOSE-UP OF GIRL'S FACE, NUZZLING THE KITTEN] from this:" CUT TO: A woman masturbating a horse.