Super Bowl & Commercials: Who Won & Who Lost?

Amazon - Alexa Loses Her Voice

The Super Bowl is a celebration of the greatness of our nation, of our ethos that values spirited competition, hard work, going big or going home and a respect for historical tradition. For the accompanying commercials to “fit” the Super Bowl, they need to fit the lexicon of this celebration. As such, these ads should serve to entertain like Amazon’s brilliant “Alexa Lost Her Voice” ad, a self-effacing, celebrity-laden romp that showcases the utility of a product that people are increasingly dependent upon. Bezos (who knew he could act?) paints a world where, like having a substitute teacher, Alexa is replaced by a less competent set of helpers. On a deeper level, it throws Hollywood a bone by giving permission to not take the Hollywood elite so seriously. They need this bone at a time where Hollywood is rivaling our nation’s capitol for its level of ‘swamp’ in what seems to be a daily confessional around sexual predation.

Toyota - Good Odds

If you’re not going use humor to entertain, then please endeavor to inspire me. Remind me we are a great nation, of great people, with great stories and greater heart. The folks at Toyota get it, with their spot “Good Odds” that walks down the challenges faced and subsequently overcome by those with disabilities, chasing the Gold at the Paralympics. The spot is touching, humbling me around the size of my personal challenges that certainly pale by comparison.

The Spots That So Wildly Missed The Mark This Year Fell Down In 3 Unique Ways:

1. Production

Some showed a lack of respect for the scale of the event that is the Super Bowl, and they cheaped out on production value. Thanks, Wendy’s, for the powerpoint-style spot that yawned at me to please consider the value of fresh vs. frozen beef. Additional folks phoning it in included Skechers, trotting out the tired Howie Long spot in lieu of actually producing something fresh for the event. Am I the only one offended by this lack of effort? I get that production costs can be high (even astronomical for a big production spot) but the consumer uses this time to confirm or deny the importance of these myriad brands in their lives. These advertisers just clearly told the consumer, “You’re not worth the effort.”

Wendy's - Fresh VS. Frozen Beef

Skechers - Howie Long Wide Fit Sport

2. The Crime Of Co-Opting

A sure sign of brand weakness – those that borrow other brands to sell their own brand. Martin Luther King Jr. is a brand, representative of the civil rights movement, and as such is a sacred figure/brand. Borrowing his brand to shill Ram trucks is too long a walk for me, that owing Ram allows for a life of service to others. The taste got even funkier when you see the kitchen-sink of emotional triggers that Ram forced into the spot. Cue the military, cue the dogs, cue the babies.

3. The Heinous Crime Of Co-Opting

I’ll take my Super Bowl ads with levity or inspiration, but to go full blown social justice lecture for 60 seconds as T-Mobile did was just gross. At best it opportunistic to claim the social justice high ground as we remain embroiled in the #MeToo morass. At worst, it promoted a false level of homogeny, a symptom of the moral relativism that is a cancer in our nation. Yes, we are all humans, yes we are more alike than we are different. But we are not equal. Men and women are different and those differences should be celebrated. People should be paid for their level of effort and results, so arriving at “equality” in compensation is dangerous (aka socialist) destination. T-Mobile hijacked social justice, strapped on moral relativism as a bonus and didn’t tell me anything credible or believable about their brand. Let me guess, you’re going to need a reliable network like T-Mobile to arrive at the land of perfect equality? You’re cordially invited to stay in your lane, T-Mobile.