The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Super Bowl Commercials Not So Super This Year

3 min read


For some people, the football game was the most exciting part of the Super Bowl, while other people only tuned in for the commercials. The commercials this year did not have the same humor, action, sex appeal and punch as in years past, and for every winner, there were two losers.

A good percentage of commercials were devoted to upcoming movies. For instance, the highly anticipated, but highly secret, Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams collaboration, “Super 8,” appeared in a short clip. The trailer showed a lot more footage than the teaser released last year but proved no less mysterious. The movie appears to be a combination of “E.T.” and “Cloverfield.”

But the most tingle-inducing commercials of the night were those of the two films leading up to the gigantic Marvel team-up, “The Avengers.”

First “Thor” thundered on screen, swinging his mystical hammer. Then “The First Avenger: Captain America” showed Captain America’s WWII origin and a sneak peak at the villain, the Red Skull.

Many big companies such as Bud Light and Doritos ran multiple ads. Bud Light spoofed HGTV-style home makeover shows in its first ad, then continued strong in a second ad that focused on a Three Musketeers style movie using excessive product placement to score free beer.

The ads for Doritos were hit or miss. The first focused on a seemingly mentally unhinged man baiting his girlfriend’s dog into smashing into a glass door, which was pathetically unfunny.

Doritos came out on top in its second round featuring a man so desperate for the chips that he sucks the orange cheese dust from his friend’s fingers. It was simple, weird and uncomfortable, but it worked. A third ad suggested Doritos were not only magical, but held the secret to life as well.

Teleflora, an Internet flower delivery service akin to 1-800-Flowers, ran a commercial with Faith Hill in the recording studio helping her producer craft a valentines message to go along with his flowers. His message from the heart, “Dear Kim, your rack is unreal,” was funny enough to make you forget the confusion of Hill’s presence in the commercial until it explained her new collection of flower arrangements.

Motorola made the strange choice to focus on George Orwell’s “1984” for a commercial promoting its new tablet. It was strange when you recall Apple’s famous Super Bowl commercial to promote the first Macintosh computer, and because the tablet is easily mistaken for an iPad until the Motorola Xoom flashes on the screen at the last moment. What’s next, a Burger King commercial with the Taco Bell Chihuahua?

Best Buy cashed in on “Bieber Fever” by offering a surprisingly poignant ad about the constant search for “the next big thing.” The commercial began with Ozzy Osborne as the spokesperson for a 4G phone, and by the end he was replaced with Justin Bieber who toted a 6G phone. The ad was funny, and it was nice to see Bieber poke fun at himself.

Finally, the best and worst commercials of the night had one thing in common: Eminem. First, the rapper was featured in a claymation ad for Brisk tea, where Em just seemed out of place. The second, and arguably the best commercial of the night, was for Chrysler. There were tons of car commercials, but none offered the emotional, underdog look at Detroit that appealed to young and old viewers alike.