Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Lobotomist's Dream Post-Superbowl Extravaganza!!!

In some ways, my interests differ from other men my age. For example, I care almost nothing about sports. So, when the Superbowl comes around, it's not a big thing for me. I didn't even know who was playing until Saturday, in the following conversation.

Friend: "Hey, Andrew, want to make a bet on the Superbowl?"
Me: "No, I don't think so. I don't even know who's playing, so I don't really care."
Friend: "Well, if you have some money on the line, you may actually take an interest in the game."
Me: "Hmm, that's actually a good point."
Friend: "Okay, it's five bucks to get into the pool. If you win, you'll get about $30."
Me: "...Okay. I'm in."
Friend: "Awesome. Now, who do you have winning, and by more or less than 7?"
Me: "I dunno. I already said I don't know who's playing."
Friend: "Chicago and Indianapolis."
Me: "...What are the names of the teams?"
Friend: "The Colts and the Bears."
Me: "I guess I'll go for the Chicago Colts."
Friend: "...Chicago is the Bears."
Me: "Oh. Then I'll go for the Indianapolis Colts."
Friend: "Manning fan, eh?"
Me: "...No."
Friend: "So, by more or less than 7?"
Me: "Does it make a difference?"
Friend: "Yes."
Me: "Then more than 7. They might as well win handily."

So, I began watching the Superbowl...but not until the second quarter. I was busy working out before that (I have a new system that I'm adding to my regimen: walking and running in place while watching movies). I stayed until halftime. When they told me Prince was going to be singing, I had to find something else. Halftime shows just reek of cheap showiness and loud fans.

I decided that the Colts could win without my vigilance. Wager or no wager, my heart wasn't into it. Besides, I'd rather listen to a new soundtrack I'd recently received (with lovely songs like this) than Prince any day.

What of the commercials? Aren't the non-football fans supposed to be seduced by the high-priced, glitzy commercials put on during break? Yes, they are, and I'll admit, I used to be. However, I've become less enamored with them in recent times. I later looked on MySpace's video section to see the multitude of commercials that were put out this year. There are 44 of them on the collection page. You know how many of them I actually enjoyed watching? Four. 4 out of 44. 1/11 of them. 9%. The odds were greater that the Colts would win than they were for me to enjoy a commercial during the holy day of commercials.

What accounts for this?

First of all, it has to do with Budweiser. As you know, about a third of the commercials on the Superbowl are Bud's. And if you like their stuff, you get a lot more enjoyment out of the whole shebang.

But me? Budweiser does nothing for me. Every year, it's the same tired routines:
1. Try to start a fad among men 18-28 years old.
2. Have animals act like...people!
3. Get a hackneyed comedian to be on your commercial.
4. Hurt characters in the commercial.
5. Put in a Clydesdale for the sentimental types.

And this year, like every year, they were pouring on the buckets of swill. Examples:

1. THE FAD: They've actually succeeded in this before, with the regrettable "Whassup!" fad. This year, it was about how "fist-bumping" (something I've never done either) is out, and slapping people is in. Now, I know that there are going to be people who imitate this, not to the extent that the commercial does, but enough to make it "funny" and America's next big fad. And I’ll be groaning every time someone does.

Ah, yes, it's funny to see gorillas talk about jumping a Bud Light delivery guy (and who the hell delivers beer to a zoo?) and taking the rewards. "Look, kids, monkeys! Monkeys are funny!" I get enough anthropomorphic animals from CGI movies, thank you.

3. LOUSY COMEDIAN: At least it's not Cedric the Entertainer anymore. But, alas, Carlos Mencia is not much better in my opinion. My family seems to like him, but I just can't find the man funny. "Mexicans talk different than white people!" You don't say? Have a commercial, friend!

4. PAIN: This is like a tradition. I think last year, the commercials had people falling off their roofs. This year, it's two guys playing rock-paper-scissors, with one throwing a rock at the other guys face, knocking him down. Now, I'm a big fan of slapstick. Hell, I love the Three Stooges. But not only do these commercials not follow the rules of slapstick, they are goddamn repetitive. Every year, it's the same thing! It loses its luster after time.

5. CLYDESDALES: I actually did not see a full-on Clydesdale commercial this year. They did make a cameo in a type-2 commercial, but that's about it. Still, I always enjoy the logic: "Those are beautiful horses; I think I'll go drink some piss-poor beer now."

And so, I think that Budweiser makes their beer and their commercials for one purpose: to appeal to the lowest common denominator of humanity.


But what of those four commercials I did enjoy? Well, I thought I'd share them, through the miracle of computers and the Internet Age!

I will admit, I don't like this first one (for FedEx) in its entirety. It's far too predictable in the first two-thirds. But once the big man started talking, I actually chortled, as it reminds me somewhat of my Richard Nixon impersonation.

What's in a Name?

Plus, "Mr. Turkeyneck" sounds like a name I would think of.

The second and third commercials have several things in common. First, they're both from Coca Cola. Second, they're both animated, they are both excellently choreographed and both of them appeared in commercials (theatre commercials) long before the Superbowl.

The first is obviously trying to leech off the popularity of the Grand Theft Auto series.

Give a Little Love

Now, I don't really give a hoot about GTA, and I honestly think they could have skipped about 10 seconds into the show (though it would ruin the "surprise!" factor a bit). What I like is the sequence, the fact that one thing leads to another, a concept I've always been in love with. Plus, I like a feel-good song every now and then.

Speaking of a sequential commercial, check out this one:

Coke Fantasy

That was like Tim Burton, Dr. Seuss, and Rube Goldberg all wrapped into one. It just speaks to my inner, whimsy-loving core. (The same core which makes this my favorite Penny Arcade comic, even though it doesn’t really have a punchline.)

And with that, we come to my Number-One favorite commercial of the Superbowl! And it is...a Doritos commercial?

Doritos Distraction

The fact that I like an advertisement made by some random schmo rather than by a professional company is, to me, definitely a sign that there's some misplaced talent (or lack thereof) in the world (it's how I can explain how the Waynes Brothers keep making movies). But what's so special about this commercial? Well, for me, it does several things right:

1. It's cute...not sexy. I have a real problem with advertising nowadays, and that's the fact that everything must be sexy. Either the way they talk, or the way they move or dress. It doesn't even have to be related to sex at all; it just has to be sexy. This doesn't do that. The closest it gets is using the word "spicy." The woman is fairly attractive but not provocative, the guy's a bit homely, but in the end, their just a couple of cute misfits.

2. It doesn't use cliché music. There are two big styles of music used in Superbowl commercials: Hip-Hop (which I can't stand regardless) and Rat-Pack music (I like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as much as the next guy, but not when you have, "Luck, Be a Lady Tonight" in half a dozen commercials). The use of classical is good, but even classical can be overused, such as with "The Ride of the Valkyries" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King". But this commercial; it uses lovely Verdi opera. What a refreshing choice!

3. The pieces actually fit! Unlike the hogwash that is Budweiser advertising, the elements of this commercial actually worked together. The actions, the product, and the slogan all had something to do with each other. It's easily understandable, but unlike some of the other Doritos commercials, didn't beat you over the head with it.

There's a bit more, but I think you know what I'm going for.

Now, if I were to make a Superbowl commercial, what would it be like? Well, it would be for Nike (yes, I know: "Boo! Hiss! Sweatshops, and the like!"), and it would show the run of Pheidippides to Athens after the battle of Marathon. Basically, the commercial would begin with the Greeks defeating the Persians. One of the Generals would tell Pheidippides to go to Athens to announce their victory. The majority of the commercial (a minute-long epic) would show Pheidippides running through mud, rocks, and other harsh terrain for miles upon miles (26, to be exact), until his final challenge of jumping over a rather big chasm, and barely making it. He finally gets to Athens, falls on his knees, cries out, "NIKE!" ("Victory!"), and dies. After a fade away we see these two Greek dudes walk up to the body. "Remarkable! How do you think he was able to make it this far?" asks one. The other replies, "Hm, must have been the shoes." As they walk away, the camera pans down onto a pair of sandals, upon which is a little swoosh. "Just do it." End commercial.

Whatcha think? Ah, what do you know?

What, oh, right, the Superbowl. I looked at the score around 10pm on Sunday. Turns out that the Colts beat the Bears, 29 to 17. Last time I checked, 29-17>7.

So it looks like I won myself about $30. What a great game!


Unknown said...

I got nothing to say. I missed the whole game. I didnt' even watch TV that day...

Unknown said...

That doritos clip was the only one I really liked.

And I really dont like carlos m.

miguel said...

I was unable to watch the SuperBowl because of some medical complications. I do appreciate the recap. You did me a great public service (since I don't have Tivo). Check out the decalblog website, especially the announcements I made. I'd be disappointed if you didn't apply to Calstuff or the Daily Clog. Your talent must be loosed upon the earth.

Meghan said...

Hey Andy,
Thats pretty good that you won the money from what I heard. I like these. They are very interesting.