If Super Bowl commercials truly are an indication of the public’s mood, the United States is rapidly turning into a nation of voyeurs. With ads focusing on such passive activities as watching television, going to the movies or surfing the Internet, the 2009 batch of Super Bowl commercials showed that Americans prefer to watch instead of act.
More Super Bowl Ads for Movies than Ever Before
When the economy goes sour, people naturally want to escape into the fantasy world of the movies. Almost every commercial break during the faceoff between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals featured at least one trailer from this list of upcoming films:
· “Angels & Demons” (May 15, 2009): Tom Hanks returns as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon
· “Year One” (June 5, 2009): Jack Black and Michael Cera take on Biblical history.
· “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (August 7, 2009): The long-awaited live action adventure film.
· “Fast & Furious” (April 3, 2009): Features the return of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.
· “Land of the Lost” (June 5, 2009): Will Ferrell stars in this live-action remake of the Saturday morning series. In the commercial, Ferrell utters the phrase “Matt Lauer can eat it!”
· “Star Trek” (May 8, 2009): The first adventures of a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock
· “Up” (May 29, 2009): Pixar’s latest animated feature about a senior citizen hungry for excitement.
· “Race to Witch Mountain” (March 13, 2009): Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a taxi driver who picks up two children with supernatural abilities. Best line in the trailer: “Don’t go into the pimped out fridge, Jack!”
· “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (June 26, 2009): Round two in the battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons
“Monsters vs. Aliens” and SoBe Lizards Dance in 3D
The most ambitious commercial of the 2009 Super Bowl, a combined ad for “Monsters vs. Aliens” and SoBe Lifewater, gets high marks for technical achievement. One of the first 3D efforts since the 1989 “Elvis Presto” Super Bowl Halftime Show, this spot showcased a new DreamWorks animated film as well as the dancing lizards from last year’s Super Bowl spot.
The Internet is Smokin’ Hot
Domain registrar GoDaddy.com had two eye-catching ads featuring race car driver Danica Patrick, one of them showing her taking her “fifth shower” of the day. The second commercial shows Patrick and another attractive female in an unusual courtroom setting (Click here to see the “hot Internet” versions of Danica Patrick’s commercials for GoDaddy).
NBC Saves the Best Commercials for Themselves
With companies cutting costs across the board, the advertising budgets for the 2009 Super Bowl commercials suffered greatly. This gave NBC the opportunity to get creative with their promotional efforts for their Monday night adventure block (“Chuck,” “Heroes” and “Medium”). One creative spot featured the cast of all three NBC shows singing “It’s All Right.” Poking fun at the Super Bowl, the powerful stars of “Heroes” even played football in a second spot in a way that only they could (John Elway has an amusing cameo here as the secret weapon for the “Heroes”).
NBC also gets the biggest laugh-out-loud moment of the night with their “What happened to my butt” promotion for their Thursday night comedy block (“My Name is Earl” and “The Office” are so funny, you will laugh your, uh, butt off). A 15th anniversary love note from NBC to Conan O’Brien definitely was quite effective and creative (“Get some Conan…it’ll blow your mind!”).
(Watch the NBC commercials by clicking here)
Beer, Soft Drinks and Chips
Catering to a nation of cocooning couch potatoes, several 2009 Super Bowl ads focused on comfort foods. Talk show host Conan O’Brien had some great moments in a Bud Light “Drinkability” ad where he did an embarrassing commercial in Sweden.
Doritos deserves some praise for the most action-packed commercials. Evidently, eating Doritos can cause girls to lose their clothing and ATM’s to start spewing cash like a slot machine. Doritos also generated some good belly laughs in a spot that showed how to get free Doritos at the office with a snow globe. Unfortunately, a snow globe may not help you land an important promotion.
Coca-Cola also had a couple of cute spots, showing how opening a bottle of their soft drink is like opening happiness, but some of the new Pepsi ads seemed a little flat.
The E*Trade Baby Returns
Arguably, one of the most memorable spots from the 2008 Super Bowl was the talking baby from E*Trade. With the help of some computer animation and adult voice-over, this charming infant extolled the virtues of trading stocks online. The Super Bowl’s favorite infant made two return appearances in 2009, addressing America’s fear of investing as only he can.
Death, Taxes and Flowers
In any economy, there is nothing more certain than death and taxes, which was the topic of a great H & R Block spot during Super Bowl XLIII. When Death gets mad at his accountant, bad things will happen. Teleflora.com also showed the downside of sending flowers to a loved one in a box instead of having them delivered fresh from a local florist.
Super Bowl XLIII’s Oddest Commercial
Cash4Gold.com gets the award for the weirdest spot featuring Ed McMahon and MC Hammer. Desperate for quick cash, McMahon starts selling off very personal gold objects while MC Hammer gets ready to package up his gold records.