Wednesday, 24 June 2015

bowled over, or not

“Whatisit?” hisses the girl behind the bar as all heads are swivelled towards the large flat screen TV glued to the wall. “Superbowl 2009,” someone whispers back.

Indeed, it’s that time again, a time to gather our friends and colleagues together to pay homage to that most Yankee of affairs the Superbowl. There was a time, when the invasion of burgers and fries were new to the world at large, that we would sit up all night to catch every throw and dive of never-ending rows of guys dressed in what looked like Sumo suits.
Now, of course we just record the action and watch it the next night down the Keg & Minstrel.
Not the actual game you understand, in what may be seen by civilians as a perverse reversal of the use of PVR recorders we have all the commercials spliced together and dump the game, revealing a glorious celebration of American life.
At an average of $3 million just for a 30 second media slot at Super Bowl XLIII it was interesting to see how the economic downturn had affected this advertisers’ haven.

Kicking off with an ad nodding to the worries besetting workers across the world, the Wieden & Kennedy commercial begins with the statement;

“It can be hard to know when you need a new job…

as a rule if you hate going to work every day…”
[woman in car screaming and banging head against steering wheel]

“and your co-workers don’t respect you…”
{Guy walks past and says “Hey dummy]

“and you always wish you were somewhere else…”
[guy sitting on back of a leaping dolphin]

“and you cry constantly…”
[large bloke at bus stop crying inconsolably]

“and you daydream of punching small animals…”
[stuffed koala has it’s glasses knocked off]

“and you sit next to this guy…”
[half-naked geek picking his toe-nails]

“if you make loads of money it may not be time.”
[ guy in smoking jacket is handed a large glass of gold liquid as his man servant feeds gold bars into a blender]

But if you make loads of money…It can be hard to know when you need a new job as a rule if you hate going to work every day, and your co-workers don’t respect you, and you always wish you were somewhere else, and you cry constantly, and you daydream of punching small animals, and you sit next to this guy…it’s probably time…as a rule.”

Get a look at it at:

Better still go to; where allows you to send useful tips to your co-workers regarding such delights as personal hygiene, work ethics and toupee wearing.

As usual the Superbowl ads attracted more than a fair smattering of famous faces, this year we were treated to the versatile visages of Tiger Woods, Ray Lewis, Muhammad Ali, Alec Baldwin, Bob Dylan, MC Hammer, Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Ed McMahon, Danica Patrick,Troy Polamalu,, Serena Williams and Conan O’Brien.

Mr O’Brien’s spot for Bud Light was as good a use of celebrity as you’ll see. It’s a commercial playing upon the habits of famous people to star in commercials in foreign countries to protect their image at home while quietly raking in the cash. Created by DDB it contains the spoof pay-off line “Vroom, vroom, part starter,” something that may well come back to haunt the star for quite a while.
Watch it sail into the end zone at:

Celebs also pop up throughout TBWA/Chiat Day’s Pepsi-Cola commercial. In “Refresh” we are treated to an onslaught of split screen images reflecting a now and then scenario contrasting 2009 with 1969. It’s all very interesting and not a little amusing, worth a look if only for the brief clip of John Belushi and Jack Black arsing about side by side. Under scored by Bob Dylan’s anthem “Forever Young,” sung by rap star, the commercial suggests there was a close link between the fizzy drink and the laid back, hippy beatnik counter culture of the 60’s. An interesting historical rewrite given that at the time PepsiCo was run by Donald Kendall, a close mate of Tricky Dickie Nixon, and was regarded as the drink to quench neo-Republican thirsts as they led baton charges.
Sing along at:

Probably the best way to use celebrity with any force is to take a well-known character from a popular programme and transpose their personality onto a product. It’s a notoriously hit and miss game.
Hulu,com offers computer users the chance to see an array of programmes from NBC and the News Corp. The ad, by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, stars Alec Baldwin in his persona from the award winning 30 Rock series. He explains how “TV doesn’t rot your brain, it only softens it, like a ripe banana. To take it all the way we’ve created” The often bizarre sense of humour from the TV series translates perfectly to this commercial peppering it with phrases like “celebral gelatinising shows” and “Hulu, an evil plot to destroy the world.” It’s just silly. Which is why is works so well.

On a slightly more bizarre note a cable television provider has apologized to Tucson-area customers over a 30-second porn interruption during the Super Bowl. Philadelphia-based Comcast issued a brief statement Monday saying the company is "mortified" and is conducting a thorough investigation. See it all at:
This should finally put Ms Jackson and Mr Timberlake to bed, as it were.

One sign of the parsimonious times is that most of the commercials aired during the Big Game were for once not created specifically for the day. Hardly any make even an oblique reference to Superbowl or indeed any football game, the majority of large corporations seemingly happy to just air their latest offerings on the biggest stage available.
Billed as “airing in 27 top markets during Superbowl,” the media has often become the only message as this years’ selection of over 50 different ads failed to deliver the once-off punch and humour of previous years.
It’s all a tad disheartening really, if the world’s biggest consumers of advertising have stopped throwing their considerable weight behind their favourite Brands in such purpose built arenas then where does that leave the rest of us?
I mention it to the young bar maid, her tongue-piercing glistening disturbingly in the light of the bar taps she considers my concerns, “Yeh, but whatisit?.”
Exactly, I think.

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