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Super Bowl Ads: Detritus From a Cultural Wasteland

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If you watched the Super Bowl for the commercials you wasted 4 hours of your life. Unless you’re a Millennial as that’s who they were made for and – I’d speculate – mostly by. Since advertising, like bond trading, is notorious for being a young man’s (generic usage, no complaints please) game I think it’s safe to assume that most of yesterday’s ads were conceptualized and written by members of the millennial demographic. And if they are our future gird your loins for a tedious ride. The $5.6 million for a 30 second spots were mediocre at best and dreadful at worst.

We were presented with a panoply of post-modern themes: technology idolatry, pop culture idolatry, gender neutrality/bending, diversity and, of course, climate concern.

Thus we got Google’s maudlin portrayal of a man remembering his dead wife with all his Google assisted memories, magical technology assisted self-parking cars (Hyundai) and Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, the other wife, Portia de Rossi imagining what life was like before Alexa. Oh, and Facebook showing us how they can bring us all together with their Groups feature. Brought to you by the people who invented “unfriending.” Facebook is more than instrumental in assisting people in tearing the thin fabric of civility apart via internet “conversations” than Donald Trump.

Jimmy Fallon (Michelob Ultra) and Molly Ringwald – for some reason hawking Avocados from Mexico on a surreal Shopping Channel.

Probably would have been funnier if I had even a fleeting hint of who Lil Nas is or his song Old Town Road. Even though they threw in the old Cowboy for good measure I’m clearly not their target audience.

Then there was the save-the-planet-by buying-an-electric-car theme: Audi used some star from Game of Thrones singing music from Frozen to promote theirs, Toyota Highlander showcased Cobie Smulders (?) rescuing people in trouble from a variety of stereotypical movie disaster scenarios. My favorite though had to be GM’s gutsy push for reintroducing a nameplate I thought had been deep-sixed forever: Hummer. Because nothing says “saving the planet” like a  big-assed all-terrain vehicle turned electric.

There were plenty of other un-smart ads as well, including Snickers fixing the world by dropping a giant snickers into a giant hole – it could have worked, but it didn’t, Mr. Peanut’s funeral, Walmart’s delivery program…groaners all.

I did sort of enjoy the Bill Murray Jeep ad but it wasn’t great either.

Image result for super bowl commercials 2020 rocket mortgage

Miss by an inch, miss by a mile.

So here’s to you liberalism: you’ve managed to replace comedy with farce and slap-stick, satire with ridicule, irony with cynicism and creativity with sequels and spin-offs. I fear I’m not woke enough to appreciate your ongoing contributions to culture.


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