Commentary by Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts and Living Editor
|PHOTO COURTESY OF CULTURESS|
Each year during the Super Bowl, while we are all crowded around televisions waiting for the big game to resume, we are entertained by the most expensively secured commercials of the year. And while in years past there have been many clear favorites, these past two years the commercials have been less stellar overall. While I had no number one pick, there were some commercials this year that stood above the rest.
The Kia Motors commercial featuring Melissa McCarthy was a example of a cute and humorous spin on being an ‘eco warrior’. As she tackles disaster after disaster, the car’s features are shown off as she moves from problem to problem.
The simple but funny Skittles commercial was also a pleasant advertisement to lighten the mood, as was the Honda commercial featuring many comedians in their high school yearbooks giving positive advice to the audience while still pointing them in the direction of buying Honda.
Another great commercial is Squarespace’s “Who is JohnMalkovich.com?” showcasing John Malkovich failing to secure a domain name. It’s funny, memorable and simple.
Some commercials received less than positive reviews, like the Mr. Clean, which features Mr. Cleanbecoming sexier than ever before. This strange cleaning product commercial left many feeling more confused than aroused into buying Mr. Clean. It has, however, become a meme.
Another questionable commercial is T-Mobile’s #Punished. This commercial features Kristen Schaal getting punished for going over her data limit in a Fifty Shades of Grey-esque way. Which, just like Mr. Clean, was not what I wanted sexualized on my Sunday night.
Some of the commercials did not shy away from addressing the explosive political atmosphere in their advertisements.
Some, such as Budweiser, did so in subtle ways. This year the company took a break from their normal Clydesdale horse and puppy combo to tell the story of their co-founder, Adolphus Busch, who travelled to America as an immigrant from Germany. While even just last year this commercial likely would’ve been thought as a pleasant story about the American dream, this year after President Trump’s travel ban, the commercial sends a far more political message. While Budweiser’s PR continues to report that the ad was planned for years in advance, news events timed perfectly with their departure from puppies and horses, so it is hard to believe that they did not release it with some sort of political motive.
There were also some other commercials that were more blatantly political. 84 Lumber’s ad featured a woman and her young daughter traveling through Mexico to the US border. On television, the commercial cut off, saying to go to their website to see the rest of the commercial. So many people tuned in online that the website crashed. The conclusion of the commercial featured the woman and her daughter reaching the border to find the large wall there (referencing President Trump’s plans to build a wall of that nature).
This ad attempts to make a solely political statement, instead of trying to really promote their product. While lumber products are shown briefly as they build the door, largely anything having to do with the company itself is left out from the commercial. From one perspective, this makes this ad terrible, but it did spark a lot of conversation about the company and encouraged many to visit their website, which ultimately achieve their goals. It’s a good marketing strategy.
These two commercials, among others including Coke, Airbnb and Tiffany, have been hailed by some Trump supporters as being anti-American and have inspired a boycott of their products. Budweiser did receive a 78% positivity rating for their commercial however, reported by CNN.
Super Bowl commercials continue to be a topic highly discussed, but in years past the quality content seems to be continually decreasing. This is a trend that, for the sake of all those less interested in the football, will hopefully reverse itself within the next few years.