ABC News : Super Bowl 2013 Commercials Explained

The brands represented last night were driven by the prime directive of cutting through the clutter and being noticed. So we had Volkswagen borrowing a culture that has nothing to do with its brand, Mio Fit betting the farm and losing with Tracy Morgan, Calvin Klein trying to entice a family audience with soft porn, Kia trying to sell cars by having a female robot beat a man up, Psy singing a bastardized version of his song Gangnam Style while riding a giant pistachio and Jeep, Chrysler Dodge preaching to us alternately with the voice of New Age priestess Oprah and the late right wing apologist Paul Harvey while showing us scenes of soldiers reuniting with families and farmers working the land that tug at your heartstrings in spite of the fact that you know you are being led to the slaughterhouse of commercialism. First time Super Bowl advertiser Gildan’s ad helped fill out the bottom of the barrel.

There were some good ads in there: I liked the NFL’s Leon Sandcastle spot, Hyundai’s Team, Oreo’s whisper Fight and Tide’s Miracle Stain. And among the others there were spots that were serviceable even if not Super Bowl worthy like Dwayne Johnson’s Milk Spot and Best Buys spot with Amy Poehler.

But, back to the Garbology analogy.

The ad that best proves the theory that one can get a good picture of where we are right now as a country by careful examination of the Super Bowl commercials is: Mercedes. The big idea for a company that sells automobiles whose price tag (for an s-class) can eclipse $210,000 and whose brand is built on being the ultimate in engineering and luxury is to introduce a $29,000 car. That stretch feels to me similar to Volkswagen borrowing Jimmy Cliff and the Jamaican culture or Budweiser fashioning a man’s lifelong relationship with a horse he raised to drinking an alcoholic beverage. You see the point, we are reaching. The Great Recession, gun violence, changing weather patterns, contentious politics have scared us. The soft economy has us off our game. We need a win, we are desperate to win. So we are all over the place, maybe even grabbing at straws a bit.

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