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I didn't mean to, but I actually watched the SuperBowl yesterday. It's not that I cared. That probably made it better, actually, because I would call it an *entertaining* game if only because it was so maddening. Let's put it this way, I wouldn't want to be a Seahawks fan right about now. Full disclosure prompts me to admit that if I was rooting for anyone (vaguely), it was the Steelers, on account of Jerome Bettis.

At any rate, obviously, the SuperBowl is also all about the ads. Last year, maxineofarc came over and we watched the Patriots win together, and all the ads were really, really lame... when they weren't outright offensive. So this year was a pleasant surprise. I laughed at a lot of the ads. I chuckled at some others. Some were still lame, but not so many that I wanted to claw my eyes out, and mostly those elicited a mild whimper.

Note: I didn't actually see *all* the ads. I'm not sure how I missed some of them, but a consultation of some websites with reviews shows that I must have. And I only tuned in about 15 minutes before kickoff, so I missed all the ads in the preshow and stuff. But this is more or less in the airing order in which I saw them.

Want to see the ads? It's loading VERY slowly right now, but try:

http://www.ifilm.com/superbowl

(If anyone has better links, let me know and I'll ad it here.)



"World Baseball Classic"

Okay, I actually think it's kind of neat that baseball is FINALLY freaking getting around to having an actual WORLD SERIES. Except they can't call it that, obviously. To be honest, I'm even vaguely interested in watching it.


"Pizza Hut: Cheesy Bites Pizza"

Jessica Simpson as a super-sexy waitress in a Pizza Hut, wearing red western/go-go boots, serves this new pizza concoction to a family, to the tune of "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" (but obviously, filked for the ad to something else), but the spotlight is on the family's teenage boy, for whom this is clearly a wet-dream come true.

Ehn. *yawn* I see from reading some reviews that I missed them running a spoof of this commercial with Miss Piggy in the Simpson role. I wish I'd caught that one instead.


"Aleve: Dancing Relief"

That's probably not the actual title of the commercial. But who cares? This was about a businessman being given Aleve to relieve arthritis pain, whereupon he starts dancing in the streets. Ehn. Typical of the "take our medicinal product and enter a happy fairy-land" standard of over-the-counter medication ads, which I find boring under the best of circumstances. This wasn't witty, just a larger-production version of the same old thing.


"Full Throttle: Let Your Man Out"

The basic premise here is that a tanker-truck in the shape of a bottle of Full Throttle energy drink rumbles through a suburban neighborhood, emitting a siren call to men everywhere and causing them to follow it by any hyper-masculine means at their disposal (motorcycle, souped-up car, helicopter, etc.). It's clearly a commercial trying to be over-the-top, and it certainly is. It's also head-scratching in places (like when the two guys trot by hauling a great white shark between them). I am the wrong demographic for this commercial, methinks. Aside from the occasionally surreal quality to the excess on display, it wasn't particularly witty.


"Bud Light: Office Lunatics"

Office peon meets sleek boss in elevator. On the way up, the peon explains that he spent his weekend at the office, hiding bottles of Bud Light around the place to "motivate" the other office workers. Elevator doors open to reveal office workers in a frenzy, ripping apart the office to find the bottles. Boss has phlegmatic, understated reaction ("At least the savages didn't find all of them," he muses, holding up a bottle, just before he's tackled.)

There's a lot of tackling in SuperBowl ads, I noticed. This was absurdist and a bit head-scratchy (beer in a working office?... oh wait, I totally can't throw stones on that one).


"Burger King: Whopperettes"

Let me be honest, here. The new Burger King king mascot? Creepy, with his big head and fixed smile.

Here, he is minimized by putting him in the center of a humongous Busby Berkeley meets the Rockettes production number, with the dancers all dressed up as elements of the Whopper. The costumes are clever and sometimes actually pretty -- women dressed as lettuce, as tomatoes, as onions. Singing and dancing. It's big, it's kinetic, it's colorful, even if the music and the singing isn't that memorable.

And there was actually a kind of funny bit to it, as the spot builds to the number's big climax -- a woman comes out in a skirt that's the bottom bun of the burger, and she lays down. And one by one, representatives of the rest of the Whopper's elements pile on to make a Whopper. What I found funny about this was that in doing so, they sort of abandoned the pretense of the glamorous, Berkeley-musical dance number -- they all sort of leaped or were propelled up there and plopped onto the top of the previous one. You could almost hear the "oomph!" from underneath. I liked the contrast of that with the attempt at intricacy and grace of the big dance production number.


"Sierra Mist"

Michael Ian Black and Kathie Griffon do a send-up of the TSA. MIB goes through airport security, and the security woman with the wand tells him to stop. She's passing the wand up and down his body, making her own obviously fake "beep beep beep" noises, which rise in pitch and frequency when she passes them over the Sierra Mist (formerly, what was it? Sprite?) bottle in his hand. She tells him she'll have to confiscate that. He protests that she's just making the noises herself. She looks over at another security guy and says, "I think we have a troublemaker here". The guy snaps on a latex glove. MIB hands over the bottle.

I can't decide if this is a tasteless trivializing of the issues of TSA abuses of power... or actually a subversive comment on them. I'm almost inclined to go with the latter, just because it takes for granted that enough of the audience is familiar with the idea of the TSA being criticized for abuses of power, and satire is a form of criticism.


"Bud Light: Magic Fridge"

A guy stocks a fridge solid with Bud Light before having friends over for a big game. His roommate shows up to ask whether or not he's worried that their friends will drink them out of beer. The guy explains that he isn't, because he had "this" installed, and he pulls a lever. The wall rotates, hiding the fridge and revealing a normal side table. Roommate pronounces him brilliant. The camera pans across the wall to the apartment next door, in which slacker dudes are raiding the fridge and calling out, "Hey guys! The magic fridge is back!" Later, the commercial shows the five slacker dudes bowing to the side table and chanting "Magic fridge, magic fridge".

Okay, I admit. I found it funny. I chuckled. Guy who thinks he's "clever" gets comeuppance in reward for his greed, plus, there's the send-up of the idea of the "cargo cult".


"16 Blocks"

Bruce Willis is a cop. With a moustache. And he has to escort witness Mos Def 16 blocks for some legal reason, I presume. And this will be difficult (an understatement). I am afraid that I will not be seeing this film.


"Toyota: Hybrid Camry"

A cute little boy asks his father, driving the car, why he bought a hybrid. The father, with a heavy accent, explains that it's for the boy's future, because the car is good for the environment, uses a combination of electric and gasoline power. At which point the kid says something like, is that like why you learned English, Daddy? And the father says, yeah, for your future.

No reason to diss hybrid vehicles. And I bet that the ad is *trying* to say that being bilingual is better for the future than being monolingual. But that would be a stronger message if you showed a native English speaker learning another language, than showing a native Spanish-speaker feeling that he has no choice for the future than to learn English.


"FedEx: Caveman"

HUGE production values. I won't even spoil it for you. Go see the caveman FedEx commercial. I laughed out loud at this one. Absurdist and witty.


"Bud Light: Grizzly Attack"

How many times have we seen this simple story? Two buddies run from rampaging grizzly. One sprints away while the other is cornered. The cornered one pulls out a Bud Light to offer to the grizzly. The grizzly considers it. The first one sprints back in and swipes the bottle, running off again whooping. The cornered one yells after him "Hey! NOT COOL!" as the grizzly roars in displeasure. Old idea, stupid guys, but the delivery was somewhat funny.


"V for Vendetta"

Yes, yes, based on Alan Moore graphic novel, yes, yes, directed by the makers of the Matrix, etc. It looks like it might be pretty, in a gritty, dystopian way. At least it looks compelling. But I don't really want to see it.


"Diet Pepsi: Brown and Bubbly"

Jay Mohr reprises his sleazy agent role from "Jerry Maguire" (remember that?) as the representative of a can of diet Pepsi that wants to... cut a rap song with P. Diddy (or whatever he is calling himself now). Or else it's Diddy who desperately wants to cut a song with a can of diet Pepsi. Whatever. "Brown and Bubbly" is the song. All I could really think of as I watched this spot was the propensity for performers in commercials to sing the most ludicrous lyrics with what appears to be genuine feeling. Even when you hope they know it sounds ludicrous.


"Aleve: Live Long and Prosper"

Leonard Nimoy tells his agent on the phone that she'll have to cancel a public appearence he's supposed to make, because he "can't do it". He's advised to take Aleve for arthritis pain. He does so. He triumphantly appears as the keynote speaker at a scifi convention, raising his hand and successfully forming Spock's famous Vulcan "life long and prosper" symbol. Celebration.

Yes. Even if you are basically making fun of science fiction geeks, I have a soft spot for Nimoy revelling in his role as pop-culture icon.


"AmeriQuest: That Killed Him"

Elaborate set-up for a joke that's fairly funny, in a macabre way. Again, not going to spoil it, go see it. The problem? Like last year's AmeriQuest ads, which were also touted as the funniest of the SuperBowl crop (not difficult to be, last year) -- the ad is memorable. The company it's advertising is not. Go on, ask me what AmeriQuest is and what it sells. I cannot tell you.


"Bud Light: On the Roof"

Here, men are portrayed as lazy and duplicitous, rather than just kinda stupid. Gosh, what a step up! Guy goes up on roof to "clean the gutters", and sets up a beach chair and umbrella, and opens his toolbox to reveal a cooler filled with Bud Light. Guy on roof next door has a grill, too, and explains he is "adjusting the satellite dish". Guy on roof of other house says he's "fixing a leak". "Good one!" say the other guys. "No, I'm really -- *CRASH*" Ah, physical humor. And they said it was a dying breed.


"Diet Pepsi: Action Hero"

Now it's Jackie Chan who wants to make a film with a can of diet Pepsi. Mohr insists his client has to have a stunt double. Thus, as they film, when the time comes for one of the bad guys to stomp the can into oblivion, "CUT!" is yelled, and a can of diet Coke is hastily substituted. I thought the diss on Coke was actually kind of funny, it was so blatant; otherwise, this series of ads is just sort of inexplicable. I mean -- the best slogan you can come up with for diet Pepsi is "brown and bubbly"? How are those properies UNIQUE to diet Pepsi?


"Cars"

Pixar's latest computer-animated entry is probably the first that has left me sort of cold. I just don't feel that interested in talking cars. That said, there is every possibility I will go to see if this becomes the first Pixar film that actually lets me down.


"Budweiser: Streaker"

The non-Light portion of Budweiser's advertising this year depends heavily on the clydesdales, and it may just be because I happen to *really like* clydesdales, but I have yet to see one of this series of ads that I haven't liked (including: a group of yearling clydesdales pitch snowballs as their elders, and get owned; etc.). This particular spot involves clydesdales playing football. They are watched by a line-up of a puzzling combination of wild animals (wolves, bears, a caribou with strangely inaccurate antlers -- yeah, only I would notice something like that) and domesticated animals (cows, sheep). Just before kickoff, the crowd parts, and a freshly-shorn sheep darts onto the "field". Two cowboys leaning on a fence, watching this, look at each other, and one comments laconically, "Streaker".

Kind of cute. But my favorite thing about the clydesdales series of ads? The animals DON'T TALK. Yet they have personality. I like that. I mean, thank god.


"ESPN Mobile: Sports Heaven"

A guy with his eyes glued to his cellphone's screen wanders around a city through a swirling plethora of amazing sports action. The tagline is "This is sports heaven". The wittiest comment I saw on this online was, "Yeah, walking busy streets with your eyes glued to your cellphone is a good way to get SENT to sports heaven". Me, I felt that the "message" backfired, because the primary feeling of the image is... here is a guy who fails to notice the wondrous things going on all around him in favor of the information being fed to him on a tiny screen.


"Careerbuilder.com: Office Chimps"

Single harried human in office full of chimps has to go in and explain to celebrating chimps and chimp boss (who's lighting a cigar with a burning dollar bill) that the chart they are looking at showing rising sales figures is on its side. He rights it, showing that sales are plummeting. After a moment of contemplating this, a celebrating chimp turns the chart around the way they'd rather see it, and chimp boss orders the guy to start dancing. The tagline is about: need to find a new job? Effective, even if I have really never been into chimps.


"Cadillac Escalade"

These ads could actually win for the ones I hated the most this year. It's not that they're offensive. They're just pretentious and lame. First we start with pretentious, under-saturated (not quite b&w) views of an ultra-glitzy runway-models fashion show. Okay, look, in the first place? I am *SO* not into the absurdity that is runway-models in their space-alien-like get-ups. Then, from the center of the runway, which appears to have turned into a pool of water, a very sleek black model arises in a slim black sheath dress covered in spiky shiny silver accents (which are matched by her eye make-up, which is why I say: SPACE ALIEN). She struts a bit. Then something else starts to rise from the pool. The glamorous people who are watching, with their cool, "I'm not impressed by anything" expressions, start to look interested. People with cameras with extremely phallic lenses start jockeying for position. What's rising from the pool? The new Cadillac Escalade of course, which is essentially: a station-wagon version. Oh, bestill my heart. *retch*


"Mission Impossible III"

I simply cannot go to see a Tom Cruise movie at this point. Just, can't. And this movie does not seem to be dangling anyone else enticingly in front of me who could get me to go in *spite* of Tom Cruise. So, there you go.


"Dove Self-Esteem Fund"

Notable for being a serious message about starting early with girls and trying to give them a better physical self-image. A surprisingly serious message and serious tone for a SuperBowl ad.


"The Shaggy Dog"

Tim Allen in slapstick remake of old Disney film. Not for me, thanks.


"Ford Escape Hybrid"

Kermit the Frog bikes, paddles, and hikes his way through nature, singing "It's not easy, being green", until he comes upon a Ford Escape Hybrid, and examines it suspiciously until he gets to the back and sees the "hybrid" label. "I guess it *is* easy being green", he chortles. I'm... not sure how I feel about that. Kermit rocks, though, and overall I support the selling of hybrid vehicles to the American consciousness, even if car manufacturers feel that the only way they can do that is to make... hybrid SUVs.


"Michelob Ultra Amber"

A pick-up football game has a supermodel blond girl making suggestive comments to the opposing line about being "wide open", and one guy takes the game a bit too seriously, putting a bone-crunching tackle on her. The tagline was something about light beer getting darker, a reference to Michelob's Ultra Amber brew. Kind of weird, although at least the commercial ends with one guy in a bar later chastising the violent guy, when from out of frame the blond chick comes careening through to tackle the first guy off his stool. (Not "tackle" in an "I want you" way, either.)


"McDonalds: Hamster"

A guy in a ratty hamster suit sits on a park bench outside of a big municipal-looking stadium, next to what is clearly a statue of a seated Ronald McDonald, and explains why he'd made a GREAT mascot for some football team. I feel that this one has to win as LAMEST ad this year. It was trying to be self-deprecating, I think. But it just wasn't funny. At all.


"GoDaddy.com"

Apparently there was some controversy last year or something with this company not being allowed to air some really racy spot. So they make this very self-referential commercial about trying to get an even racier spot based on the "wardrobe malfunction" joke past network censors. But it's not really very funny. To get it, you really have to know what the controversy was, and I don't. Too self-referential. Plus I have no idea what GoDaddy.com *is* or why I care.


"Poseidon"

I assume that they are afraid that we would chortle and stay away from the theatre if they actually entitled it "The Poseidon Adventure", but it's abundantly clear from the ad that that's what this is. How many remakes of "The Poseidon Adventure" do we actually NEED?


"Gilette Fusion"

My second-most hated ad this year, just because it is ludicrously over-produced in relation to the product it is selling -- they're trying to make a disposable razor look like a more complicated piece of technology than a particle accelerator. Seriously. No.


"Desperate Housewives"

A series of spots of famous male athletes making comments that show they are addicted to the plotlines of Desperate Housewives. My problem was, I was sure I was supposed to recognize all these guys, but unfortunately, I didn't.


"Overstock.com"

Sort of visually striking, but then, when you make an ad in which everything in frame is white, white, white, and then you selectively color things bright candy-apple red, it's not hard to be visually striking. I also submit that trying to subtly convey the idea that the things you're showing and coloring red are things you could buy on Overstock.com is perhaps a WEE bit subtle for a SuperBowl ad. But hey, Overstock.com -- it's your money.


"Disney World: 50 Years"

Your basic montage, featuring a spiel from beyond the grave by ol' Walt himself (creepy).

I also have to mention here that Disney ran a bunch of ads in which various members of the two teams playing in the SuperBowl this year practiced saying "I'm going to Disney World!" to themselves, which was occasionally charming and a tiny bit funny, but... okay, first? If you repeat a word or phrase often enough, it starts to sound meaningless. And second, this catchphrase started out as a spontaneous thing, and while it is a catchphrase, showing guys self-consciously rehearsing their performance of it? Just makes it sound cynical to me.


"Sprint: Crime Deterrent"

This is another that I don't quite want to spoil, but suggest you watch. What I will say is: more slapstick humor, but with a very snarky, somewhat mean edge. But I really did laugh. Because I didn't expect it. And I thought the delivery/timing was good. Only problem? I'm not real sure that I'll remember it was for Sprint, particularly. Some cellphone company, sure. But Sprint?


"NFL Network"

Yes, yes, sports bring us together. Everybody has a favorite team. etc. My only problem with this ad for NFL Network, a new cable channel, is the essentially anti-average or below-average-income fan message of the NFL launching a small niche network and siphoning some games away to it, which will require fans to have cable to see. It seems a pity to lose ever more sports broadcasting from the network channels.


"AmeriQuest: Airplane"

I have to go watch this myself, actually, because I came in on the punchline, so I didn't quite get it. But like the ad mentioned above ("That killed him"), this was based on the tagline "Don't judge too quickly" or something.

Still don't know what this company is selling, I'm afraid.


"Sharpie Retractable"

Involves a guy stuck in a Captain Hook costume at a theme park, explaining how useful Sharpie Retractable is to him, in signing autographs, because with the hook and all, he couldn't take a cap on and off a pen otherwise. Okay, that's cute.


"Budweiser Clydesdales"

The second clydesdales ad has personality, a little humor, and a big "awww!" factor. A clydesdale colt dreams of pulling the Big Wagon someday. He wanders into the barn where it's kept. Just one of the yokes that the big horses wear is attached to the front. He sticks his head through it, and looks pretty much like any kid putting on grown-up clothes. He paws the ground in imitation of the big guys. Pan back to see two of the adult clydesdales at the door of the barn behind him, seeing this. The colt, watched by the wagon's signature dalmation, begins to pretend to pull the wagon. And it moves! Triumphantly, little by little, he keeps pulling. As he pulls the big wagon out the door of the barn, you pan back to see that the two adult horses have come up behind and are helping to push it with their heads. Aw, c'mon. It's cute! Also, as I said -- these cute animals at least don't TALK, and yet they manage to have some personality.


"Nationwide"

A fake-out ad that looks like it's about Fabio coming out with his own line of hair-care products turns out to be an ad for, like, life-insurance, or something -- a woman seated in a gondola being poled romantically through Venice by Fabio does a double-take when he changes into an extremely old man. Um. Okay. I like that Fabio has a sense of humor. I'm trying to remember... who is it who does the fake-out ads? Oh, right, Geico, when they're not doing the gecko. I am unfortunately likely to remember this ad as having been done by Geico.


"Hummer: Little Monster"

Absolutely the WEIRDEST ad of this SuperBowl. Iguana-like bipedal monster rampages through downtown. Giant robot confronts it. Music swells. They fall in love, and stomp off together hand-in-hand. Time passes. Giant Iguana is preggers. Then she gives birth... er, to a little red hummer. Which Mother and Father look at indulgently, and then set down to allow it to scoot on its way. Tagline: It's a Little Monster.

The problem is... the H2 is actually a giant, gas-guzzling monster, and there's really nothing funny about that.


"PS Cleaner"

Boy, talk about a product name I'll never remember. People go about their daily lives wearing lime-green bio-hazard suits. The commercial suggests that this is the only way to protect yourself from GERMS... unless you use their product.

I've got a better idea. How about we not go nutty with the bio-cides and therefore not prevent ourselves and more importantly our children from building up natural immunities to the environment?


"Careerbuilder.com"

I missed most of this one, but it seems to be a complement to the one with the harried human in the office full of chimps. Here it's a woman in a cubicle who remarks in a resigned way that she works with a bunch of jackasses. Which, given this series of ads, turns out to be literal. In the Funny Animals sweepstakes, I wonder if people find jackasses as funny as they do chimps? I wouldn't know, personally. I guess I find jackasses marginally less annoying than chimps.


"Taco Bell: Crunch Wrap Supreme"

Nerdy guy in classic car catches eye of nerdy girl. You can tell they're nerdy, because they're both wearing black square-framed glasses that are too square to quite be the fashionable kind (SG fans: think Dorkverse Sam and Daniel, except obviously, not that hot), and he's wearing a short-sleeved check shirt. The car actually is pretty hot, even though I think it's somehow supposed to say "nerdy" too. The Taco Bell product over which they are making googly eyes and nerdy come-hither motions looks... like an okay idea that would actually be really awkward to eat one-handed while driving, without all the stuff in it spooting out all over the place. Which kind of negates the purpose of the ad. I think.


"The World's Fastest Indian"

Just so you know, this is a movie starring Anthony Hopkins about some normal guy with a motorcycle hobby who went on to break a really stupid number of world land-speed records. Yeah, I saw him when he was on The Daily Show. The Indian of the title refers to the make of motorcycle he favored. I'm... actually kind of interested in this film.


"Fidelity Federal: Paul McCartney"

For most of this ad, I thought it was a commercial for some upcoming documentary on the life of Paul. Turns out it was all in service of the tagline, "let us help you figure out how to do what you love", or some damned thing like that. I think the point was that if you're going to do something like have a musical career, it would help to have some savvy investment company helping you figure out how not to starve while doing it. The thing is, Paul McCartney is setting the bar a bit high. I don't think Paul McCartney *needed* a savvy investment company until he was well into being famous. And I think that even if I could figure out how to do what I love, whatever that might be, the chances of my becoming as financially secure as Paul McCartney are slim, to put it mildly.


"Toyota Tacoma"

I actually found this commercial very compelling. I recommend going to watch it. Person drives vehicle onto rock-surrounded beach, which is being watched by a webcame or something mounted up in the rocks. He parks the vehicle, gets out, takes the kayak down, and kayaks away. The tide comes in. The tide comes in so violently that the vehicle is floated, and it gets tossed around by the waves into the rocks, upturned, etc. Until eventually the tide retreats, leaving the vehicle sitting the right-way-up in more or less the same place in which it was parked. Guy paddles back in, puts kayak back up, gets in, and drives away.

A succinct visual testament to the rugged durability of the vehicle. If only one weren't made suspicious along the lines of, "how did they do that and get it to settle back down right-side-up in almost the same spot?" Still. Kind of neat to watch.


"Sprint: Downloads"

Two guys talking. One guy saying that his phone lets him download songs to fit any occasion. A break-up. Um... something else. Second guy looks around, turns back, and says, "What about if your couch is on fire?" First guy also turns and looks. Turns back, pushes some buttons. Phone starts playing the Benny Hill theme. Guy and his friend only then leap into frenetic action. A leggy blond dressed in a mini-skirt version of a British bobby's uniform, and an old guy in long-johns, also come in. They all run uselessly around the burning couch in classic Benny Hill fashion.

Quoi? Here's what I want to know: who at Sprint decided that Benny Hill would be more recognizable to the viewing audience than... well, any number of other classic comedy routines with a recognizable musical accompaniment? I do not consider myself "typical" of the viewing audience in my easy recognition of it. Maybe the rights to the Benny Hill property was all they could afford. Also? I still don't think I'll remember that it was specifically related to Sprint.


"Acura TL"

*yawn* I honestly have no recollection of this commercial. I think it was your basic pretentious car commercial aimed at rich people. Fail.


"Degree Deoderant"

Kind of fun to watch, featuring a day in the life of Stunt City, filled with eye-popping stunt-work. The climax is a motorcycle delivery driver who crashes his bike through a plate-glass window into a lobby to deliver his package, only to have the guy at the desk turn a sign around and tap it -- the sign is a graphic with a picture of a helmet with the usual red-circle-and-line "no" symbol over it. Unfortunately, I don't think I would ever remember that it was a commercial for deoderant, let alone which brand.


"Emerald Nuts"

A prolonged, meticulous visual enactment of "Eagle-eye Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs". Um, guys? A mnemonic is supposed to make something EASIER to remember. Plus, the druid looked like a monk. Or Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or a Jawa.


"Budweiser: Stadium Animation"

This just looked neat. A stadium full of people is issued with placards which, if they hold them up at the right times and in the right sequences, produce the appearence of animation to watchers on the field or in the air. I was a little distracted trying to figure out whether this was merely accomplished live, or cunningly computer animated. Budget-wise, I suspect the latter, which is a pity. It'd be nice to know whether it was possible to do what it looks like they do for real.


"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"

OH YEAH, BABY! I AM *THERE*.


"Mastercard: MacGyver"

Awww! No seriously. This is a very good entry in MC's extremely long-running "Priceless" line of commercials. One might wonder if that format isn't getting a bit long in the tooth, but I'd argue that no, it's not, so long as they can continue to come up with entries that are witty enough. This one is definitely witty, and it's a cute send-up/distillation of MacGyver, too. It also does its apparent job, which is trying to encourage you to use MC for small purchases, like at convenience stores.

For those interested: I was doing some surveying of sites that had reviews of the commercials. A couple inexplicably failed to even list this one. But all those that did list it praised it pretty highly. It didn't make anyone's "best", but I saw some individuals saying it was their favorite, and generally reviews thought it was funny and well-done. So, good on RDA! Because, by god, if your SuperBowl commercial flops, the internet WILL rip it to shreds.


"Honda Ridgeline"

It's a truck. Thanks to computer animation, the buxom reclining girl silhouette so beloved of truckers sees one of these, and gets up to go take a look. Sometimes the animation of her walking looked pretty good, sometimes it looked kind of awkward for me. I think they really should have rotoscoped it. Anyway, then she opens the cab door of this truck, and the Yosemite Sam with "BACK OFF!" on his hat so beloved of tractor-trailer mudflaps is in the driver's seat, and he beckons her in. And they drive off together. I think the tagline was something about, even people who know something about trucks think this one is something special. Okay once -- but I think I must have seen it about 4 times. That was too many, and it just gave me time to be bothered by the clunky animation on the girl.


"Here's to Beer"

People of many races and nationalities unify to hold up a pint-glass and toast in their native language. The world likes beer. Well, duh. I think this was sponsored by the Beer Institute of something or other (in Washington DC). Which just left me thinking... seriously, did someone out there have the impression that they needed to run an ad during the SUPERBOWL to encourage folks to "give beer a try"? Is the Beer Institute somehow deluded into thinking that beer consumption needs a "boost"? You've got to be kidding me.


"Outback Steakhouse"

Vaguely Aussie-sounding guy makes a fool of himself by touting the Outback. He's just smarmy and obnoxious, for one thing, and for another -- seriously, who believes that an actual Australian would go to the Outback Steakhouse for anything other than a good laugh?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
katie_m
Feb. 6th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
It'd be nice to know whether it was possible to do what it looks like they do for real.

I've seen footage of some very impressive work along these lines in North Korea, actually. Be totalitarian enough and you can get people to do just about anything...
eregyrn
Feb. 6th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
Huh; cool. Er, not totalitarianism. But that it can actually be done.

I still try to avoid being too credulous about what I see done, especially in print ads or commercials. This dates back to college, when raqs was the most credulous person I knew in this regard. You remember all those Absolut ads? She would say stuff like, "I wonder how they got everybody in that skyscraper to turn their lights off or on at the right time so they would make the shape of the Absolut bottle and they could take a picture?" Or, in the most memorable instance, when it was an ad with a migrating flock of geese happening to be in the shape of Juan Valdez and his donkey and the mountain peak, and she would say, "How did they get the geese to fly in that pattern? Could you put corn on the ground or something...?" And I would look at her, and be like, "Dude, it's a *matte painting*." And she'd be all, "No! No way!"

So I'm always looking at stuff like this, and even if it's something that you *could* genuinely physically accomplish, I'm always thinking to myself, "but would it be more cost-effective for the production just to use f/x somehow? it would, wouldn't it?"

In this case, I kind of wish it was real, though. That'd be kind of neat.
clanwilliam
Feb. 6th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
It can be done with a specialist coach and doesn't necessarily need a totalitarian regime, you'll be glad to hear. Halifax in the UK used to do it in their ads and BA did it too, I think.

katie_m
Feb. 9th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
There's a skill that's going to be lost--in advertising at least--what with computers nowadays...
elishavah
Feb. 6th, 2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
The clydesdales get me EVERY TIME.
eregyrn
Feb. 6th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
I just love heavy horses, generally. So I've always been predisposed to like the Bud clydesdales. But I also just like what they do with them. The schmaltz level is just right for me. I couldn't take it if they talked, though. That would ruin it.
elishavah
Feb. 9th, 2006 11:26 am (UTC)
Ooh, yeah, no. No talking. Just horses making me all sniffly and happy.
raqs
Feb. 6th, 2006 07:08 pm (UTC)
OMG looooong. you so thorough. i zoned out about godaddy. what are the top 3 to go look at?

*short attentionspan girl*

but funny. (yeah. the world likes beer.)
eregyrn
Feb. 6th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Hmmm.

The MasterCard MacGyver ad. Obviously.

FedEx: Caveman

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest trailer (also at Apple: Quicktime), cause, DUH

Aleve: Leonard Nimoy (if you want nostalgia; it made me think of your Mom)

Budweiser: American Dream (or, it's called something with "Dream" in it)

Toyota: Tacoma (in the "oh my god... is that real? that can't be real" category)
hungrytiger
Feb. 7th, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
"World Baseball Classic"

I just have to toot my own horn here and say that I'm actually going to a couple of the WBC games. I've always been interested in international baseball, so going to the inaugural Baseball World Cup (as I think of it) is too neat an opportunity to pass up.

If you want to watch it though, they've announce that ESPN/ESPN2 will be carrying a bunch of the games. It runs from March 3-20, although the majority of the action doesn't start until 3/7. More info at: http://www.worldbaseballclassic.com/2006/
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