Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50 Ads: Overrated, Underrated, and Properly Rated

Overall, I thought it was a pretty underwhelming year for Super Bowl commercials (and, while we're on the topic, the actual football game itself was pretty lackluster). There were some that I liked, some that everyone liked, and some that make you question the whole concept of advertising altogether.

To the numbers, courtesy of the USA Today Ad Meter:

First Quarter

Hyundai, First Date (score: 6.90) 
Verdict: Properly rated

How perfect is it that the highest-rated commercial in 2016 is featuring Kevin Hart? He's in approximately two-thirds of all movies that are released now, and he essentially played the same character in the Hyundai commercial that he plays in all of his movies.

Side note: to summarize how much of a "down year" this was, the highest-rated commercial last year was rated an 8.10. So... 6.90 might not actually be that nice.

Doritos, Ultrasound (6.60)
Verdict: Properly rated

If you didn't yell out loud when the baby shot himself out of the mom's butt (or whatever happens, I'm not a doctor), then you probably should have pregamed a little heavier. I thought it was great.

Audi, Commander (6.04)
Verdict: Overrated

Look, I love outer space and astronauts as much as anyone, but get out of my face with comparing a car to a goddamn rocket ship.

Snickers, Marilyn (5.60)
Verdict: Underrated

Maybe we can consider this properly rated, but I'm a sucker for all of these Snickers "You're not you when you're hungry" commercials. The Willem Dafoe/Marilyn Monroe version was as good as any, and it also marked the second year that Willem Dafoe killed it in a Super Bowl ad.

Avocados From Mexico, Avocados In Space (5.52)
Verdict: Properly rated

Did you guys ever have a time capsule project in middle school? If you're the kid that ended up with that collection last night, you got an F- and you maybe even got kicked down into remedial classes.

I hope that we leave a better picture of humanity behind when we ultimately leave Earth. Maybe some literature, or some movies, or some high-tech engineering project? Because a Rubik's cube and Bob Loblaw aren't going to make anyone look upon us fondly.

Disney, The Jungle Book (5.19)
Verdict: Properly rated

There isn't much you can say about movie commercials during the Super Bowl, but I thought the pseudo-3D effects on The Jungle Book commercial were cool, and that movie looks dope., Moving Day (5.06)
Verdict: Way underrated

The number one story that comes up when you Google this ad is a hot take "this was racist" column. I guess maybe it was racist because the Jeffersons were not white? Maybe it's racist to pay Lil Wayne millions of dollars to kick field goals off a roof? George Washington owned slaves, that means anything with him and a black man is super racist?

Racist undertones aside, I enjoyed the progression of apartments as Jeff Goldblum climbed the side of the building, and the George/Weezy appearance was the second most yell-out-loud moment of the night.

Shock Top, Unfiltered Talk (4.63)
Verdict: So underrated I can't even

Shock Top is good. TJ Miller is good. Last night's commercial was good. I don't understand how this is so low - it might be the most underrated spot of the night.

Mountain Dew Kickstart, Puppymonkeybaby (3.90)
Verdict: Overrated

Mountain Dew's ads have been weird for a long time (the dancing spaceman from last year comes to mind), but this was a whole new level of fucked up.

The idea of the ad was Kickstart combines three things: Mountain Dew, juice, and caffeine. The Puppymonkeybaby is also three combined things, but it's horrifyingly awful. So, ipso facto, Kickstart is horrifyingly awful? Is that what you're going for?

Mobile Strike, Mobile Strike (3.56)
Verdict: Properly rated

I most certainly will not download Mobile Strike (or any game like it), but it's nice to see that Arnold is still collecting checks.

Marmot, Love The Outside (5.40)
Verdict: Way overrated

After last night, if you wear Marmot clothing you should be embarrassed. Plain and simple.

Second Quarter

Hyundai, Ryanville (6.27)
Verdict: Underrated

Happy Monday, you are uglier than Ryan Reynolds, and no girls are ever going to get in a car crash because they're staring at you.

I'm calling it underrated because it caught everyone's attention (and made for some good content on Twitter), but I think every single car that's manufactured now has that brake assist/automatic stop feature. So this could have been an ad for literally any car on the market.

Toyota, The Longest Chase (5.97)
Verdict: Underrated

To be honest I thought this could have been the top ad of the night. The Prius looked good, the spot was funny and well-made, and it highlighted some features that probably sold quite a few viewers on the idea of getting a Prius. I will not be one of those people, but I'm sure this will help their sales overall.

Bud Light, The Bud Light Party (5.30)
Verdict: Overrated

Welcome to year two of Bud Light's annual "Hey we're doing this thing that may or may not actually be a real thing" campaign. Also Amy Schumer almost said cock on the television! Haha! She's hilarious!

T-Mobile, Drop The Balls (5.28)
Verdict: Properly rated

I'll say properly rated because the message behind the ad was definitely worth the price of the spot, but if I see any more renditions of the Steve Harvey Miss Universe flub I'm going to put my foot through my TV.

Third Quarter

Amazon Echo, Baldwin Bowl (5.63)
Verdict: Criminally underrated

This should have been at least a full point higher. Baldwin was great, Marino was great, Missy Elliot was funny, and it made the Echo seem like a useful item to have around the house.

Usually, I see ads for the Echo and think that it's for rich suburban housewives who spend all day cooking (and thus can't use their hands to play Coldplay on the stereo). But if Alec Baldwin has one, maybe we should start re-thinking it.

Valeant, Xifaxan (3.30)
Verdict: Overrated

It was a bolt strategy to pay $5 million to air this commercial. Xifaxan treats IBS, a condition that 10-15% of the population has, but only 25-30% of people who experience it actually go to a doctor. Rough math tells me that, in the whole country, less than 10 million people would be in the Xifaxan target market. Most of those people have probably already complained to their doctors, so how many people were really going to be reached with this commercial?

7 million? 5 million? 1 million?

The other 100 million people watching last night thought it was a waste of money.

Fourth Quarter

Valeant, Jublia (3.22)
Verdict: Overrated

When I'm a TV studio executive, I'm going to have one rule for commercials. That's it. One rule: nothing that's fucking gross.

Valeant followed up their irritable bowel syndrome commercial with a medicine for toe fungus. Toe fungus!

And the best part of all is this Jublia is less than 20% effective against the fungus it's supposed to treat. This drug feels like a huge financial scam - you'll try the drug because your insurance will pay Valeant for it, it probably won't work, and the goddamn French Canadians at Valeant will laugh all the way to the bank.

So yeah, I think 3.22 was too high for this thievery.

Jeep, 4x4ever (5.21)
Verdict: Properly rated

I thought this spot and the halftime "Portraits" spot did a good job of making Jeep owners feel good about their vehicles. I'd love to see a breakdown of how they were rated by Jeep Owners vs. Non-Jeep Owners.

It's an easy brand to be proud of, but last night's ads seemed like they could fly under the radar for the majority of viewers.

Fun fact: in Hawaii, the 4x4ever ad scored a 9.0 and the Portraits ad scored a 10.0. Hawaii loves Jeeps, apparently.

NFL, Super Bowl Babies Choir With Seal (5.71)
Verdict: Properly rated

What the fuck.

I don't even know what to say.

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