Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ad Bowl 2010: The Super Bowl Commercial Champions

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 2:39 AM

So the Super Bowl has come and gone, all the pageantry and glitz and glory and fury that entails. But what hasn't come and gone is the most important part of this or any Super Bowl: the commercials. The game may be over, but the advertisements will still be here long after Peyton Manning's tears have all been collected and used to transform orphans into heroic, football-playing centaurs. 

Now, first off, I have to say this: it was an historically bad year for Super Bowl commercials. Seriously. Just awful. I'll put it in automobile terms. The usual Super Bowl advert lineup is the cream of the crop, the very best advertisements money can buy. Creative. Funny. Memorable. There are hits and there are misses, of course, but overall, you get the flagship ads for most companies in any given year. The Super Bowl commercial lineup is a Cadillac, synonymous with the apex of the field. 

This year's commercial lineup was an '82 Pinto with a milk crate driver's seat. 

Still, there were a few good ones, ads which managed to rise above the sea of mediocrity and make an impact. Here's my own list of the five best this year. 

First off, an honourable mention goes to all the NFL Network promos using the Arcade Fire's "Wake Up". I'm not sure there's ever been a meeting of two more divergent demographics than hardcore football fans and Canadian art-rock collective fans before, but I'm so glad I was alive to see it. That song is anthemic and almost impossibly brilliant, and the commercials felt suitably epic. Good stuff. 

Now, the list itself. 

#5: "Sleepwalker" - Coca-Cola 

Okay, so I'm sure I'm probably the only one who really liked this one. But this commercial, featuring Maurice Ravel's beautiful odyssey "Bolero", was every bit as good as Coke's "Simpsons"-themed ad was bad. (Seriously, why was Maurice LaMarche in that promo? He's not even a Simpsons cast member.) 


#4: "Punch Buggy" - Volkswagen

Because, let's face it, it's funny when guys - and maybe even especially old guys - get hit in the crotch. And I'll wager everyone reading this has at least once in their life punched someone way too hard as part of this game when they really just felt like punching them for real. Plus, it's got Stevie Wonder. And you don't argue with Stevie Wonder. Because apparently he can kick your ass. 


#3: "Joy Ride" - Kia

Good song, good concept, and sock monkeys are cool. The only points this one lost came because yeah, I know the red thing is supposed to be called Muno, but I found something way too similar to that in my parents' "special drawer" when I was little, and I just don't want to be reminded of that. Ever. 


#2: "Parisian Love" - Google 

Yeah, I know it was already around for quite awhile as a web-only commercial. I don't care. You know why this one gets on the list? Because it was effing gorgeous. It cost nothing to make (unless screenshots have gone way up in cost and I was unaware), it was ridiculously simple, and it said more than any other ad I saw all day. That's why. And you know what? I'll admit it: every time I watch it I get this weird little feeling somewhere in my throat that I don't quite know what to do with. And I'll bet at least a couple of you do too. 


And finally, without further ado: 

#1: "Betty White Gets Tackled" - Snickers

Because ">she's Betty F. White, that's why. And you don't need any other reason. But you know what? Snickers went and gave us not one, but two more reasons. One, because it's Betty F. White saying, "That's not what your girlfriend says." And two, seeing Abe Vigoda getting his 150 year old ass planted is just icing on a peanut and nougat comedy cake. 


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