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The Ad Game - Ladue News: Tangential Thinker

The Ad Game

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 12:00 pm

So, I don’t know if you heard, but the Super Bowl was last weekend. The score is final at the end of the game, but that may very well be the only topic that is not open to debate. Check any social media outlet or coffee shop or bar, and people are arguing about anything and everything football. Did the refs screw up? Was the power outage a conspiracy to shift momentum? Well, I only heard one guy claiming that, but he also was licking parking meters.

Within 10 minutes of the end of the halftime show, I got two separate texts, one of which read: Beyoncé killed it! She made Madonna look like a hack. The other one read: Beyoncé is dancing like her shoes are too tight. Then, of course there’s the Internet rumor that Beyoncé flashed an Illuminati symbol during the performance. Now, to the extent of my knowledge, the Illuminati comes from a well-worn copy of The Da Vinci Code; but if Beyonce is a member of the Illuminati, I’m going to have to move in with that whacky minister who keeps predicting the end of the world.

Without question, however, the greatest debates surrounding the Super Bowl are not over what happens on the field, they’re over what happens when play stops. The hot topic on Monday morning always seems to be the ads. With a few spectacular exceptions, the 2013 Super Bowl ads were—oh, what’s the word...lame. Let’s begin with the most egregious offenders:

Axe Apollo

The ad features a gorgeous lifeguard rescuing a bikini-clad damsel from a shark attack. Once safe on the beach, she is immediately distracted by a dorky guy in full astronaut attire. The tagline: Nothing beats an astronaut. I get it. If you don’t look like Bradley Cooper, spray yourself with this product—which can only be described as a combination of car deodorizer and Pine Sol—and you will get girls. That being said, the last Apollo mission launch was in 1972, I’m guessing about 20 years before the target demographic was born. Are they even making the connection?

Volkswagen

I will admit I chuckled at this ad—a guy making everybody in his Joe-job office lighthearted and carefree with a nothing more than a Jamaican accent and a VW Bug. But a German car company, an American group of coworkers and a Jamaican accent? Granted, a German accent doesn’t do much to lighten the mood...

Taco Bell

A group of seniors bust out of their retirement home and live like reckless teens—getting tattoos, making out, and of course eating Taco Bell. Talk about missing your target demographic. The visual may put me off tacos permanently.

The big reason this was an unusual year, though, was that the real winners were not the funny ads—in fact, Doritos, Century 21 and Kia all pretty much duffed it. Oprah narrating the Jeep ad about our soldiers coming home was a big winner. Second runner up: Paul Harvey reading So God Made a Farmer for Dodge Ram trucks literally silenced the room. But of course, without exception—and I say this without bias toward my city or my beer—was the Budweiser ad, Brotherhood, where the loving trainer raises the Clydesdale from infancy to become part of the team. You know when the die-hard Ravens fan holding the remote rewinds a commercial to watch it again, it’s a good ad—a really good ad.

So football is over for now, giving us all a nice breather… just in time to gear up for spring training.

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