Monday, February 7, 2011

The Super Bowl According to Kathleen: Favorite Commercials

Last night Husband made me watch the Super Bowl. I had assumed that since his team had already been eliminated that we'd be fast-forwarding through most of the game and watching the commercials. So imagine my horror when I realized at one point that Husband had gone to the bathroom and PAUSED THE GAME!

I knew I was in for a long night. Luckily being the resourceful little blogger that I am, I thought I'd take the four hours of time between commercials that I apparently now had on my hands to write about my favorite commercials of the evening.

First Half:

Bridgestone Tires, "Reply All" -- Best Commercial of the First Half

Video courtesy of wish.

This was the first commercial of the night that caused me to actually laugh out loud. This commercial was a success for a few reasons: first, everyone is familiar with that horror of thinking you sent out an email to the wrong person and second, the physical comedy of this guy knocking over the pot of coffee onto the laptop and wrestling the phone out of the hands of the hiker. Then at the end we have the famous "switch-a-roo" of which I'm always a fan! Good work, Bridgestone Tires!

CareerBuilder, "Working With Monkeys"

Video courtesy of CareerBuilder.

You can't go wrong when you include monkeys. That's basically my motto. This commercial made me giggle, but would have been even funnier with more monkey screen time. Strong effort, CareerBuilder, but take note for next year: More monkeys = Happier Kathleen

Volkswagen, "The Force"

Video courtesy of Volkswagen.

Another completely manipulative and exploitative ad featuring a tiny child dressed in a Darth Vader costume. I was already boarding on cute overload before the lil' Vader turned on the car with his powers only to startle himself. Not sure what this has to do with Volkswagen, but it sure was adorable!

Half Time Show:

Now I happen to enjoy the Black Eyed Peas myself. And I have to say, I was pleased when I heard that the Super Bowl had finally gotten brave enough to ask a more current musical artist to perform the half time show. I don't think I'm alone when I say that The Who's performance last year was near embarrassing.

At first I was a little annoyed at the synchronized clapping of the folks on the field. Hm, where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, Queen at Live Aid more than 25 years ago...and that wasn't choreographed.

But then the suits lit up and the choreographed dancing continued (culminating in an awesome quadruple arrow formation and ultimately with enormous red hearts) and at that point I decided that I approved of the shenanigans.

I was glad when Slash actually showed up to perform Sweet Child O' Mine because otherwise that would have been a really random song choice, but was Fergie trying to sing like Axl Rose or did she just develop a bit of a frog in her throat for that song only? Despite Slash's appearance, I'd say that was the weakest song of the set.

Overall, I thought the show was pretty good. I liked how they played snippets of a bunch of different songs instead of playing only three or four songs in their entirety. I remember a few years ago being so annoyed when Bruce Springsteen played 10th Avenue Freezeout, NOT one of my favorites, and I had to just suffer through it for five minutes. Blah. The Black Eyed Peas were slightly reminiscent of Prince, who was one of the best half time shows ever (in the rain no less) so they were definitely operating out of the "Make Kathleen Happy Playbook".

The only thing that could have made the show better? A monkey.

Well played, Black Eyed Peas!

Second Half:

E*Trade, "Talking Baby"

Video courtesy of ZPsBackUp.

Boy this has been a polarizing ad campaign. Ever since it was first introduced a few years back, people either love or hate these "talking" babies. Personally I'm a fan, which is odd because typically posed babies freak me out (Exhibit A. I'm sorry but just because you can stuff your baby into a watering can doesn't mean you should.) Anyway, despite this aversion to the use of babies, these ads really make me giggle. This one in particular was completely adorable at the end when the baby puts his finger to the tailor's mouth and says, "Shush." Love it!

House M.D., Fox - Best Commercial of the Second Half

Video courtesy of MsHousefan1.

Now, I divorced House last season. I'd watch every week and get annoyed at every single character. Finally, I told Husband that I had gotten to the point where the only character on the show I actually liked was House...and that made me feel really rotten about I wasn't going to watch anymore. This commercial though, was freakin' funny. A parody of the famous Mean Joe Green commercial from the late 1970s, House first refuses a churro from a young admirer then tosses his cane to the boy...knocking him over. Oh House, good work: take something we all know and love and give it the old "switch-a-roo". It's almost enough to convince me to start watching again!

Most Random (i.e. Awesome) Celebrity Cameo of the Night: Kenny G in Audi ad

If you know anything about me, you know that I love a good random celebrity cameo. I'm not talking about Adrian Brody in a Stella Artois ad. Or even Justin Bieber in a Best Buy ad. I'm talking about a 100% completely out of left field, random-ass celebrity. One of my favorite Super Bowl commercials EVER is this Emerald Nuts spot featuring Robert Goulet. This Audi ad had potential. Watching the two wealthy prisoners try to escape was pretty funny, but it could have been an ad for anything, nothing about it was specific to an Audi car. The Kenny G music was an unexpected choice, but the man himself serenading a prisoner at the end of the ad was the best moment. Sadly, afterwards I thought about how I should consider buying a Kenny G CD not an Audi car. Better luck next year, Audi.

WTF Moment: Eminem in Lipton Brisk Iced Tea ad and Chrysler ad

In the Brisk Iced Tea ad, which aired first, Eminem (in voice over) talks about getting asked to do so many ads, but then he ends up hating the product and refuses, but he really loves Lipton Brisk Iced Tea so he was happy to do the ad. Then during the third quarter, Eminem showed up in an ad for Chrysler automobiles.

Um, Eminem, not to be a brat, but did you tell the Lipton folks that you had actually agreed to do another commercial FOR THE SUPER BOWL? If I were the Lipton people, I'd be pretty annoyed! Do you think we're that stupid? That we forget that you're in two Super Bowl ads, one of which is claiming that you don't do lots of ads. Did you assume that because you're animated in one somehow we wouldn't realize it was you? Both of the ads were actually pretty good, but all I'm saying is you've got some 'xplaining to do, Eminem!

Worst Campaign of the Night: Pepsi Max

I'm not entirely sure why the folks over at Pepsi thought it would be funny to build an entire marketing campaign around people using Pepsi Max cans to assault each other, but I was not amused. In the first slot,  a woman throws her can at her husband after he checks out an attractive runner. He ducks and the runner gets knocked out. In the second ad, a nerd uses a Pepsi Max cooler launcher to shoot cans at the groin of a man who had previously been teasing him. The point of the first two commercials was to emphasize that Pepsi Max has no calories, but I'm sure there are ways to make that point beyond throwing cans at people.* Clearly, Pepsi Max felt the same way because the third ad abandoned the idea completely: this time featuring a couple on a first date with the young man's desire to sleep with his companion is interrupted only by his wanting her can of Pepsi Max. All I can say is that at least the first two ads had a semblance of a point. Complete miss, Pepsi Max. Try again next year (if you're even still around).

*Lest any of you think me a hypocrite, allow me to distinguish between why I found the Pepsi Max commercials upsetting, yet enjoyed the House commercial where he throws his cane at the young child. In the House commercial, House isn't trying to hit the kid with the cane. He's trying to be inspirational and toss the young admirer a souvenir. That, in addition to the familiarity we all have with the original commercial, is what makes this ad funny. The Pepsi Max ads are just mean.

The good news is that I made it through the entire game and that it ended before 10:30pm! The fourth quarter just flew by because I spent it scouring the Internet for the House ad. Usually the fourth quarter just crawls by so that was exciting!

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers for winning the 45th Super Bowl. Enjoy my kind words now, boys, because I can assure you that by this evening, I will have forgotten who was even playing.

What were your favorite commercials? Do you agree with my picks?

Happy Monday!


  1. OK I really liked the Darth Vadar commercial I just thought it was so cute! I agree and really liked the half time show and was so glad they did it LIVE I have a lot of respect for performers that sing live instead of lipsyncing!

  2. I agree with all your picks. I loved the Reply All one the best! And yeah, it seems the past few years that there is just a complete overload of soda, beer, and chips commercials. None of them is ever funny, and it just seems like the companies should put all their effort in one GOOD ad instead of about 5 mediocre ones. And hurling objects at people always seems to be involved in some way. Lame! lol.

  3. Agree with your picks but the Darth Vadar commercial was my absolute favorite! I liked the Coke one with the line in the sand too.

  4. I havent watched any of these yet..I have to make dinner, lol..but I wil be back to see them...I didnt even watch the game, lol

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  5. The VW Darth Vader commercial was my fave! And while I appreciated the aspects of the Audi commercial, I didn't think it was funny - except for when Kenny G showed up at the end! Doritos also had me cracking up a few times too - I was actually really disappointed with the Bud commercials, they used to rock!

  6. The Darth Vader child actor is the cousin of one of my students so it's been the talk of the school today...

  7. I LOVE the E-trade babies!!!! And I loved the money ad as well