Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Amusing Monday: Plenty of Super Bowl ads show water in some role

It was easy to find water in this year’s Super Bowl commercials. In fact, some of the most entertaining ads featured water prominently, while others contained clear references to it. So I’m happy to continue the after-bowl tradition of reviewing commercials that people enjoyed during the big game.

One of my favorites was a pairing of fire and ice, a promotion of both a spicy new version of Doritos and a new lemon-lime variant of Mountain Dew, featuring Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman. Brian Steinberg of Variety magazine called the commercial “colorful and full of music and surprising raps.”

“That’s a tough order and sort of a challenge, but they found a clever way to do it,” said Ed Cotton of the independent ad agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, as quoted in the Steinberg piece.

In general, Steinberg and other observers noted how advertisers this year seemed to shy away from politics and socially minded issues in favor of entertaining commercials about entertainment — that is, promotions for a lot of new movies and TV shows.

Margaret Johnson, chief creative officer for the agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, which created the Doritos-Mountain Dew ad, said she noticed a humanitarian theme this year and not so many women running around in bikinis, according to an article by Sapna Maheshwari in the New York Times.

“I was just thinking that one thing I haven’t seen are those ads that objectify women, which is refreshing,” Johnson was quoted as saying. “And guess what? There’s still funny stuff on the air. We’re making progress.”

One commercial with a strong water connection showed a cadre of Vikings towing their Ram truck across the ocean to get to the Super Bowl while singing “We Will Rock You.” They turn back when they find out who is playing in the game. The second video on this page is an extended version of the commercial you might have seen on television.

Many of the commercials viewed yesterday actually hit the Internet before the Super Bowl. In the month leading up to the game, the one that got the most hits featured Budweiser water, according to Business Insider magazine. The notes on the company’s YouTube video said Budweiser employees helped provide 79 million cans of water to people affected by natural disasters across the United States since 1988.

The second-most watched commercial before the game was a promotion for a movie called “Dundee” that nobody will ever see, because this series of ads is strictly an effort to get people to visit Australia. Three ads feature characters who might work well together to create an exciting movie. The titles are “Dundee — Official cast intro trailer,” “Dundee — Water Buffalo,” and “Dundee — The Son Of A Legend Returns Home.

But for all the promise of glory, the true nature of the visit is revealed in the amusing final video on the homepage of Tourism Australia.

One low-key commercial focuses on the true value of water. I’m not sure how well the message came through during the 30-second spot, but it’s another commercial in a long-running series by actor Matt Damon, cofounder of water.org. This organization helps to improve the health of people in third-world countries by providing permanent sources of drinking water.

This Super Bowl commercial encourages people to purchase a limited-edition glass with the logo of Stella Artois, a Belgian beer. The “chalices” were designed by female artists from three countries to reflect the different styles of Mexico, India and the Philippines. Check them out at water.org. According to the promotion, the $13 derived from each sale is enough to provide clean water for a variety of uses to one person for five years.

A funny commercial that has received little attention in the advertising media depicts some elderly folks still getting up to an alarm and going to work in a variety of occupations. The ad, by Etrade, encourages investment by younger people, so they won’t be tossed around by a firehose in their older years, as shown at the end of the piece. Tagline: “Over 1/3 of Americans have no retirement savings. This is getting old. Don’t get mad. Get Etrade.”

Another commercial I liked features water in a minor role, while no less than six celebrities toss out humorous lines. In “Alexa Loses Her Voice” — the Amazon commercial voted the best of the day in a USA Today survey — actress Rebel Wilson “sets the mood” while Alexa is out of service.

Michelob’s “I Like Beer” commercial features lots of people singing the drinking song, including one guy who somehow manages to sing underwater while swimming laps in a pool.

Amusing Monday: Did any of the commercials bowl you over?

It’s becoming an annual tradition for me to feature some of the amusing Super Bowl commercials on the day after the big game, especially focusing on those with water-related themes. I also try to share a little of the backstory about the commercials on my list.

Kia ad with Melissa McCarthy

A day after actress Melissa McCarthy appeared on “Saturday Night Live” as President Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer, Melissa was back on television in a Super Bowl commercial, doing her best to save whales, trees and rhinos.

McCarthy, who has won at least 20 awards for comedic roles in films and television, plays a tragic eco-hero in the Super Bowl commercial. In real life, she has accepted a position as Kia spokeswoman to promote the brand-new Niro, a car that captured a Guinness World Record for the lowest fuel consumption by a hybrid vehicle, tested during a coast-to-cost trip. For details, check out Carscoops online magazine.

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Amusing Monday: Opinions diverge on Super Bowl commercials

Did you enjoy this year’s Super Bowl commercials? Maybe it is just my personal taste, but I don’t believe they were as good, overall, as they have been most years.

Still, these are some of the most creative commercials we will see all year. For this blog, I found enough water-related commercials and funny bits for me to revisit a few. Later, I will share some opinions from actual television reviewers, who have ranked the best and the worst of this year’s flock of Super Bowl ads.

The most dramatic water-related commercial was a spot for Death Wish Coffee, sponsored by Intuit. In a fierce, dark storm, Viking rowers are battling the waves and preparing to die when the surprise comes for the viewer.

Have you ever watched a commercial and wondered at the end, “What the heck are they trying to sell?” That was not the case with Death Wish Coffee.

In my advertising classes in college, I learned that you need to make the viewer remember the product. But I don’t believe that is the top priority for Super Bowl commercials, in which the producers’ goal may be to get people to remember the commercial, irrespective of the product.

I guess all the rules go out the window when advertisers are paying close to $5 million for a 30-second spot, a price reported by “Business Insider” magazine.

The next water-related commercial wasn’t about a product at all. It was about the use of water, yet the name Colgate nevertheless was prominent.

Jay Busbee and Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo Sports rated the Colgate commercial highly for its social marketing effort. Here’s what they said:

“The toothpaste titan used its 30 seconds to remind those of us with access to clean water to turn off the faucet while we brush. We admire their effort to spread a message of conservation and for resisting the urge to shame us for also forgetting to floss.”

I’ve chosen to recall three non-water commercials that I enjoyed. The first is Butterfinger’s “Bolder than Bold” that uses camera angles to take us deep into the adventure of sky diving with one surprise following another in short order.

The next one, an ad for Avocados from Mexico, shows space beings from the future visiting a museum, where familiar objects from the 2000s — including Scott Baio —are seen in a whole new light.

I also laughed at the Steven Tyler commercial for Skittles, which features a singing portrait of the musician, a portrait that ultimately explodes all over the floor. Not everyone thinks this commercial is funny, as you may see from at least one of the professional writers.

If you’d like to see more commercials with commentary check out the story by Busbee and Kaduk, who offered grades for the ads, and another story by Robert Chan of Yahoo TV, who listed “The good, the bad and WTF?”

I don’t know if so-called experts know any more than the rest of us when it comes to which commercials are good or bad. Even though the writers mentioned above are all from Yahoo, their opinions on individual commercials are quite distinct. Even more divergent is the top 10 as offered by Sport Illustrated.

Which one was your favorite? Post a comment, and I’ll track down the video and post it, assuming it is available.

Amusing Monday: Super Bowl commercials offer voices from the past

Suzanne Vranica of the Wall Street Journal thought she noticed a trend in this year’s Super Bowl TV commercials. More of them, she said, seemed to be “sobering and heartfelt” rather than funny.

Maybe so, but some of the ads were funny. At our house, we got the biggest kick out of Liam Neeson playing Clash of Clans, an ad for the mobile video game by Supercell.

But I noticed another minor trend among the commercials: the use of historical voice-overs connected to meaningful images. It began with the first commercial after the game started. That ad, for Carnival Corporation’s cruise lines, seems especially appropriate for this blog, because it deals with the human connection to the ocean.

We hear President John F. Kennedy’s voice as he talks about our connection to the sea:

“We have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch —we are going back from whence we came.”

The commercial contains wonderful images, as you can see in the first video on this page. The second video shows Kennedy giving that speech at a 1962 dinner in Newport, R.I, where the president spoke about the America’s Cup Challenge. It was the year Sir Frank Packer became the first Australian challenger for the cup, with his crew aboard the 12-meter yacht Gretel. The dinner was given by the Australian ambassador. A transcript of the speech is available from the website of the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Fitting with Kennedy’s tone, I found “41 quotes about the ocean that will make you want to live on the beach forever.” The inspiring quotes were pulled together by writer Catie Pendergast for the blog “Thought Catalog.”

The commercial for Carnival apparently was selected from among five contenders in an online contest to determine which video would be played during the Super Bowl. The runners-up were also pretty good:

The voice-over approach was continued in the first quarter in a Toyota commercial featuring Amy Purdy, the celebrity who lost her legs to meningitis when she was 19. Amy’s father donated a kidney so she could survive. She then went on to compete in snowboarding in the Paralympics, perform in movies and on television, and take second place in Season 18 of “Dancing with the Stars.”

The commercial shows Amy running, snowboarding and dancing, but especially driving a Toyota. The company claims on its website that “our story is about much more than our vehicles.”

The voice you hear on the video is Muhammad Ali, talking about his upcoming boxing match with George Foreman in 1974. You can see him talking in the fourth video on this page, which offers a dark shot of the speech that some call his greatest ever.

There was another voice-over in a commercial for NO MORE, a campaign against domestic violence by the Joyful Heart Foundation. The audio comes from an actual 911 call, which speaks for itself. The version played during the Super Bowl was 30 seconds long, but I’ve posted the longer 60-second version, because it contains a more accurate editing of the call.

If you’d like to view any or all the Super Bowl commercials, arranged in order, go to iSpot’s “Super Bowl Ad Center.”

Amusing Monday: Super Bowl ads that never were

In sorting through the Super Bowl commercials that never made it to the television screen, I came to realize that these so-called “banned Super Bowl ads” fall into three categories.

There are those banned because they fall short of network and NFL standards in the eyes of the censors. There are those BANNED because they jump well over the line of acceptable family viewing. Finally, there are commercials that were never banned but are gaining attention on the Internet by just claiming to be.

In most cases, excess sexual innuendo or too much bare skin will result in a rejection notice, but there are lots of other reasons for banning commercials, as we shall see.

Under our water-related theme, a banned commercial for Dream Water (video player) is creative, but it should come with a warning for young viewers.

The original Super Bowl commercial for Soda Stream, featuring Scarlett Johansson, included the line “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi,” which Fox network officials required to be dropped. USA Today has the story.

In last year’s Super Bowl, the approach by Soda Stream was far more entertaining, but it took on Coke and Pepsi in a much stronger way. The whole ad had to be rewritten. See the original dueling soft-drink companies in 2013 along with the revised one with competitors’ names removed.

If that’s not enough controversy over soft drinks, there is also some international politics behind the company. See Sara Stroup’s explanation in Huffington Post.

Other commercials banned from the 2014 Super Bowl include those for Colorado Kush, a marijuana manufacturer, and Daniel Defense, a gun manufacturer.

A thoughtful commercial that could have inflamed the debate over the name of the Washington, D.C. football team was produced for the National Congress of American Indians.

Newcastle, a beer company, took a unique approach by outlining the epic beer commercial the company would have produced if it had money for ads. Instead, Newcastle presents a video about the story that could have been. Actress Anna Kendrick talks about how she wishes she could have been in the commercial and how she can’t even use the words “Super Bowl.”

HLG Studios, an advertising agency, made satirical would-be Super Bowl ads for Monsanto, “Picking up God’s slack;” NSA, “Smile; we know when you’re not;” and Swiffle, “Inequality sucks!”

After all this, you might prefer to watch the real Super Bowl commercials. Anthony Venutolo of The Star-Ledger in New Jersey provides all the commercials arranged by quarter in the Super Bowl. He also rates them as “the best, the worse and the odd.”

Amusing Monday: Animal antics and football feats

I’m sharing a silly animal video with you today in honor of Eli, the orangutan who successfully predicted the Seattle Seahawks’ win in yesterday’s Super Bowl.

The video at right is a compilation from the BBC’s TV series “Walk on the Wild Side,” which first aired in 2009. If you would like to see more, there’s a second compilation, “Animal Crackers 2,” as well as a collection of short segments in “The Inspiration Room.”

As for the Super Bowl prediction, it can be seen in the second video. As you may observe, Eli, who lives in the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, ran over and decisively knocked down a blue paper-mache helmet bearing a Seahawks logo. He ignored the orange helmet representing the Denver Broncos.

Eli has now correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner seven times in a row without missing yet. That’s a record that the harbor seals in Connecticut’s Maritime Aquarium can only hope to match. They have now picked the wrong team three times in a row.

Orange, the name of one harbor seal who participated in the selection, may have chosen the Broncos’ colors to match his name. But anyone who has spent any time around harbor seals knows how unreliable they can be. Check out the video of the seals trying to predict a winner with a couple footballs and associated team colors.

For more animal predictions, review the piece by Time magazine, which gives you an idea how little puppies, pandas and manatees know about football.