Monday, February 05, 2007

Taking a Moment to Be a Poo

I have to admit that I wasn't exactly excited about the Super Bowl. Maybe it's because I have a head cold that's making me groggy and lethargic. Maybe it's because I'm limping out of my first trimester of pregnancy. Maybe it's both. By all accounts I should have been glued to the television. First of all, I'm a huge Tennessee football fan, which automatically makes me somewhat sympathetic towards Peyton and the Colts. Second, I lived in Chicago for the last five years. But I just wasn't fired up.

Jay, Joshua, and I had dinner and then Jay and I got Joshua ready for bed. While Jay was doing to final honors in Joshua's bedtime routine I went to the living room and turned on the game for the first time. It was halfway through the second quarter. The game was on long enough for me to catch the score before it cut to commercial.

The first commercial was a Bud ad where one guy holds out his fist to his buddy to congratulate him on some victory. The buddy explains that "fist bumps are out," and when the first guy asks what's "in" his buddy slaps him across the face. The remaining thirty seconds of the commercial were a visual feast of grown men slapping each other across the face.

As if that weren't enough, the second commercial was for a blood-pressure medication. Some unsuspecting fellow in a heart costume is walking down the street when he's accosted by a gang of thugs labeled Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Weight Problems, and High Cholesterol. They throw him into a van and drive him to an alley where they proceed to sucker punch him and throw him into brick walls.

And I had to ask myself, why the violence? Why the need to show people smacking each other around? At $2.5 million dollars for 30 seconds of airtime, can companies not be a little more creative than that? Is it that funny?

This was only compounded by the fact that about two commercials later I had to watch that poor GM robot commit suicide by jumping off of a bridge after he'd been fired from the plant.

Why stop at grown men beating the snot out of each other when we can make light of severe depression and suicidal thoughts, too?

I'm really not a stick in the mud, I promise. I laugh at things that are funny. I even laugh (sometimes) at tasteless things that are funny. I'm even juvenile and tasteless myself on occasion. But I don't understand why people smacking each other around and committing suicide (I know it was a robot, but it was designed to appear somewhat human and the intention was for the viewer to have an empathic response to it) is supposed to pass for good advertising. I really don't.

12 comments:

Erica said...

You have to read an article in today's NYTimes about the commercials, their "cartoon-like" violence, and how that relates to the war!

Mary Beth said...

Here's the link to that article in case anyone else wants to read it. Thanks, Erica!

Kat E said...

If it makes you feel any better, I hated that robot commercial too. It made me really sad, and apparently I needed to save all my sadness for dealing with the Bears losing...

TLS said...

Alas, I missed the superbowl and the crappy commercials...but from all that I heard, most people think this years ads were less than stellar, if not down right stupid.

Jenny said...

I think the days of "cool" super bowl commercials are over. There really weren't any. Used to be, you hated to have to go to the bathroom during the super bowl at all because you might miss part of the game (okay, that was exciting for a little Indiana girl like me), the cool halftime show (ugh, Prince? You gotta be kidding), and the neat commercials. Now you can go pee during the halftime show OR the commercials and miss nothing notable.
Sigh.
I guess they spend so much on buying the spot, they can't afford creativity. Oh for the days of cat-herding. (I didn't really get it, but it was amusing...)

Laura said...

You weren't the only one disappointed, MB. And I absolutely hated the robot commercial. I thought it was just horrible.

Aunt Lee said...

I'm a football fan, too, but couldn't work up the energy to watch any of the super bowl. I watched my boys play their bowl and haven't seen a game since. I don't believe I missed anything...especially the commercials! I checked the score a couple of times online, cheered silently for Da Bears (orig from Chi-town and all) and went on my merry way. When did pro football get this lame????

MasonDixon said...

The commercials sucked, and as other commetators noted, the suicidal auto-robot ad could be read as a commentary on the US auto industry.
The others were simply crass or banal.

They have no other aspiration, but to shoot for the broadest possible denominator. Hopefully, they are a cultural novelty and not substitutes for the "better angels" of our culture.

anna said...

I did however find the doritos commericals entertaining...but that's probably because they were created by someone other then the big advertising companies this year.

Jennifer said...

I agree with you Mary Beth! But until now, I wasn't going to admit it. Didn't want to be the girl complaining about the stupid junior high level creativity of this year's commercials. But now... you've given me the courage to say it: they sucked!

Jennifer said...

You know what else?

All hell breaks loose when we get a brief glimpse of a woman's breast, but we pay huge amounts of money to see this kind of violence. What's up with that?

Mary Beth said...

Thank you, Jennifer! At one point I actually thought to myself, "I'd rather my child see Janet Jackson's nipple that all this adolescent-smacking-around humor!"