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The 2016 Super Bowl Commercials With Needed Room For Improvement

( [email protected] ) Feb 09, 2016 07:25 PM EST
Many were disappointed at the Super Bowl, and it had nothing to do with the Broncos winning and Peyton Manning's best day ever.  The issue was the ads, the ones that we know cost millions of dollars just for the ad space alone, and most were disappointed with what showed up this year.  The problem was with the creepiness, as it was practically everywhere, not to mention that they were downright uninspiring and hardly humorous.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy and the 50 numerical symbol indicating the celebration of upcoming Super Bowl 50. (Danny Moloshok/AP)

Many were disappointed at the Super Bowl, and it had nothing to do with the Broncos winning and Peyton Manning's best day ever.  The issue was the ads, the ones that we know cost millions of dollars just for the ad space alone, and most were disappointed with what showed up this year.  The problem was with the creepiness, as it was practically everywhere, not to mention that they were downright uninspiring and hardly humorous. 

One of the more popular and effective ones was also one of the dumbest and definitely most creepy.  Mountain Dew ran an ad for new flavors of Kickstarter last year, and they decided to do another one for their Grape flavor.  The method was as simple as repeating the words Puppy Monkey Baby, and then showing a creature with the head of a Pug, the waist and arms of a monkey, and legs of a baby (complete with diaper).  The end result was an earworm that ironically makes me actually want to go out and try this new flavor. 

 

Creepy was also a factor with Doritos, with an ad starting two parents watching their baby on an ultrasound.  The father notices that eating Doritos causes the image on the screen to want the chips.  When the mother throws the bag of chips away, the baby suddenly...yeah, that's what direction this is going.  There is only so much you can show of this on national TV, and those who have given birth might want to avoid Doritos for a while. 


Then NFL decided to use an ad with Super Bowl babies.  You know, all those babies conceived after the big game.  They are singing about this, and Seal makes an appearance to harmonize.  Again, it is very creepy if you think about it, just out of sheer premise alone.    


Snickers also upped the creepy factor with their ad showing Marilyn Monroe, but played by Willem Dafoe.  Even though using Monroe's image is probably not "too soon" territory, it certainly pushes the envelope of it.  This was a real shame considering Snickers succeeded so well last year with Marcia Brady and Danny Trejo with this ad campaign. Similar ads were done with Betty White and Robin Williams, using the appearance of the celebrity as the joke.


Speaking of celebrity appearances, there was the ad with Steven Tyler for Skittles.  Seeing the Aerosmith frontman in front of a portrait made with Skittles wasn't as creepy as some of these others, though.


Oddly enough, Yahoo Sports gave most of these creepy ads high praise. 

Generally, some of the best Super Bowl ads have been serious.  Budweiser has been famous for their dog and pony shows bringing tears to viewers' eyes, but this year, it did not go so well.  There were ads with Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer talking about a Bud party, like they were going to run in 2016.  Yeah, it's not well done.  The ad with Helen Mirren that outright insults drunk drivers felt like it was even in more bad taste. 


It was interesting to see Pokémon have its ad celebrating their 20th Anniversary.  However, with many fans wanting to hear more about Pokémon GO and Pokémon Z, this feels like a missed opportunity to tell their fans more. 


Audi had a somewhat serious and glum tone about a retired astronaut who feels some sense of living after trying out a new car.  The fact that a David Bowie song plays in the background also works. 


The one ad that probably did its job best was Prius.  It focuses on four inept bank robbers who have their car towed away after a job.  They are forced to steal a Prius as a getaway car, and what happens next is a short film involving how the crooks make their escape.  Then the crooks gain Internet fame and social media notoriety, and this is actually an incredible spotlight on the car as well as social commentary.  This was probably the best of the lot, but it wasn't really laugh-out-loud funny.  


Another funny ad for a car was with Kia, with a Walken closet.  This is one of those times where an actor just plays themselves, and it comes across as funny. 


This type of humor with actors being themselves didn't really work with the Amazon Echo.  Perhaps we have seen more Alec Baldwin than we ever really wanted to see. 


What was funny was seeing the characters of Kung Fu Panda 3 doing an ad for Wix where they imitated a lot of past Super Bowl Commercials.  It wasn't really that funny, though.


The same goes for an ad with Coke Mini with both Hulk and Ant-Man.  It certainly is effects-laiden, but in the end, it just feels like a lot of wasted money. 


Speaking of wasted money, a Honda ad showing sheep singing Queen's "Somebody to Love" was interesting, but not inspiring and hardly humorous.  Then it just goes surreal with a dog announcer.  If not for the goodness of the song, this would be quickly dismissed. 


For some reason, there was a lot of ads for special medicines.   As for the others, most people who were trying to snack during the Super Bowl might not want to be thinking about these medical conditions.  One of them was with a Marmot, which was pretty funny.


On the whole, the Super Bowl ads had a creepiness factor to them that really needs to be left behind.  Sure, it might make the commercial more memorable, but the ones that really attempted good humor with social commentary always shine the most during the big game.  All I can say to advertisers with millions to spare is - better luck next year.