The founding fathers showed a remarkable lack of foresight in not signing the Declaration of Independence on the first Sunday in February. Regardless of this missed opportunity, Super Bowl Sunday is basically like America’s birthday, except the powder-wigged syphilitics standing around complaining about England are replaced with handsome professional athletes trying to kill each other for ridiculous sums of money. Football is mankind’s greatest accomplishment, and the Super Bowl is the most-watched televised event in the world for a reason. Interestingly enough, a large contingent of viewers tunes in for the sole purpose of being pandered to by huge corporations. Most people don’t care about the game itself and only watch it for the mind-blowing commercials. Lucky for them, I was given a sneak preview of this year’s batch of ads and I guarantee they’ll have you and your colleagues talking about them (and their associated products) come next Monday morning.
I’ll admit it, this one threw me for a bit of a loop. At first I thought it was a trailer for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but then I realized—NO—it’s an ambitious car commercial. Featuring their latest model winding its way through various mountain roads, this ad isn’t just trying to sell you an Audi, it’s trying to sell you a lifestyle—the type of lifestyle where you’re wealthy enough to afford an Audi, but also dumb enough to buy a car based on a minute-long video of those helicopter tracking shots from Lord of the Rings, but with a silver car instead of hobbits.
This year’s offering features a washed-up celebrity playing himself, but in a tongue-and-cheek manner that indicates he “gets” the joke. We open on a busy city street, and zoom in on the celeb, drinking a refreshing bottle of Mountain Dew. He bumps into a hip teenager, spilling his Mountain Dew before spouts his signature catchphrase, “Did I do that?” He pauses and waits for the teen to recognize him, but he never does. This commercial will really resonate with a) the people who grew up watching the celeb in question, and b) irony-addled twenty-somethings who think it’s cool that the celeb can be so self-deprecating. An excellent commentary on the fleeting nature of fame and, indeed, life itself, this ad also introduces a new flavor of Dew, Mountain Dew Purple Rush.
It wouldn’t be a Super Bowl without the Budweiser Clydesdales. These iconic horses that have no fucking clue that they’re iconic are at it again, this time with an air of solemnity not found in most other horses. We fade in on a snow-covered forest road. We hear the clip-clop of hooves, and the Clydesdales gallop on screen. Where are they headed? What the hell does this have to do with beer? The horses reach the end of the path and stop in front of a billboard, which is obscured by a tree branch. The lead Clydesdale stomps his hoof on the ground and the branch cracks and falls, revealing the word “BENGHAZI” written in what appears to be blood. The horses kneel. Fade to black. WOW. Whatever ad executive thought to combine poignancy with beer horses is, quite frankly, the world’s smartest genius.
The granddaddy (or should I say, the GoDaddy? That’s the name of the company) of the controversial Super Bowl ad, GoDaddy’s 2014 commercial is more of the same, and for people who want to buy a domain name without having to stop masturbating, that can only be a good thing. This year’s entry features scantily clad women, scantily clad ladies, scantily clad females and, as per usual, very little information about the goods and services provided by the company. According to a blurb at the end of the ad, an “unrated” version of the commercial is available on GoDaddy’s website. What an unprecedented, innovative strategy, using the prospect of sex and nudity to entice potential customers.
Out of all the ads I was given the honor of previewing, this one was the closest to having me in tears. Yes, closer than even the Benghazi Horses one. The opening notes of Macklemore’s “Same Love” are heard as we see two gay men approach the counter at a convenience store from the point of view of the clerk. The man on the right puts a bottle of Dr. Pepper on the counter. We switch POV's and see that the clerk is actually Macklemore himself. He smiles and says, “This one’s on the house.” The two men smile back and one of them compliments Macklemore on his haircut. They leave the store, hand-in-hand, each taking a swig of the delicious Dr. Pepper. It ends on a 15 second shot of Macklemore sagely nodding his head. Yes, this commercial will probably stir up some controversy, but isn’t that what we want in our commercials? A good ad should make people think...about the product being advertised. Sorry, I should have clarified.
It was a real honor being allowed to view these advertisements before everyone else has the chance to see them on Super Bowl Sunday, then later that night on Buzzfeed’s “Top Ten Super Bowl Ads,” then the next day at work when Carl from accounting emails you The Huffington Post’s “Worst Super Bowl Ad Fails,” then during primetime television for the rest of the year, then in the lead up to the 2015 Super Bowl, then six years from now on VH1’s I Love The 2010’s. I should also mention that I signed a contract promising not to say anything negative about the commercials or the products being advertised, and, as a trustworthy guy, I didn’t. But even if I didn’t sign the contract, I wouldn’t have said anything bad. All of these products are extremely good. Enjoy the big game, guys! I know I will!