Car commercials, beer commercials, car commercials, beer commercials, with an occasional movie or business service thrown in. How exciting. I’m a huge football fan and try to watch as much of my favorite teams as possible throughout the year. This is the normal formula for televised football games. Why should I expect anything different here? Because this is the Super Bowl and there are millions upon millions watching this game. Many of whom this will be the only football game they watch all season. Over the years we have elevated Super Bowl commercials to be the best the advertising world can give us. Because of the cost for air space during the Super Bowl you only see an ad once. It is an event. There is some excitement around making sure you did not miss the best commercial. This is usually the case because the game is a bore and it will the best thing you will watch the whole day. It gives you something to talk about the next day at the water cooler. Those days are gone.
The need to push advertising into the fantastic has left us with commercials that have no relevance to the product or service and the audience watching them. The connection points are broken. The advertisers rely on the expected ways of wooing us; reviving the entertainment past (Jerry Seinfield & Jay Leno, Ferris Bueller, Star Wars), action heroes, sexy women and men, and slap stick comedy. Most of these approaches have no real connection to the product itself. These ads are relying on their company’s brand values like excitement, innovation, self indulgence, Americana or speed to drive the story. The stories are so fantastic that in the end we don’t care what the product is. We know it is either a beer or car commercial. Does it matter which one? We enjoy the ride to some degree but are always left disappointed in the end. We forget which product is for which ad by the time the games starts up again. Mainly because these products do not relate to us anyway. How many people can afford the cars advertised? How many Budwieser commercials do we need to see? What do polar bears have to do with Coca Cola? Do these companies relate to us at all?
The glory days of Super Bowl commercials has past us. The need to push the envelope of brands beyond the product qualities and performance to stories and values has gone too far. The stories are trite and uninspiring. The connection to the company advertising is not authentic but dependent on association. I’m glad the actual game has gotten much better over the years. I don’t mind missing the commercials now.
At least this ad was inspirational and relevant to our lives today.