[Originally posted February 2011]

You wait a whole year, and this the best you can come up with?  I’ll take “The Steelers” for five hundred, Alex.

Except, I’m talking about yet another pathetic showing of creative at the Super Bowl.  Sometimes I get the feeling that the creative bar’s been progressively lowered so much each year that we actually think that the reason for a Super Bowl TV spot is to come up with the hackiest shit imaginable.  Why?  Because, I believe as a people, we’re wont to whinge about something that pisses us off (ahem) more than we are to wax lyrical about something we dig.  And so the point of the Super Bowl spots are to create conversations about the spots, who gives a shit what the product actually does – that’s what the label’s for anyway.  Ergo, the shittier the spot, the more we’re gonna talk about it.

Problem is, striving for shit is a lot harder than it looks.  I think.  I don’t really know, I’ve never really tried that hard to create shit.  So I’m gonna guess that because it’s just as hard to come up with bad shit as it is to come up with good shit, we end up with a lot of dull, mediocre shit.

We end up with hacky predictable shit like the Doritos or Pepsi Max spots.  The Doritos spot with the pug?  Stevie Wonder saw that punchline coming a mile away.  And what a shitty punchline it was.  The Pepsi Max spot with the raging bitch of a wife tormenting her husband over his diet?  Way to set back women about 100 years by serving them up as hell-on-toast, sadistic, irrational, overbearing horror shows, Pepsi.  And people fucking loved these spots.  These people are the same reason we have the Black Eyed Peas turning our brains to dogshit at the single-biggest sporting event of the year.  This is all your fault, America.

And a special shout-out to three car ads that made me want to drive my car right into the TV.  Ze Germans have lost their minds, haven’t they.  Audi, WTF.  What a lot of self-indulgent build-up for a confusing and shitty spot, all seemingly because you think Kenny G’s a clever punchline.  Fuck you.  The only people who enjoyed that spot are the people who went on that extravagant shoot.  And on the other end of the spectrum, you get BMW trying to be some weird heartland brand – I swear I was completely prepared for them to end the spot with Toby Keith holding bald eagle while tipping his cowboy hat and winking at you.  Maybe I’m slightly detached from the car-buying masses out there, but who the fuck buys a BMW because it’s made in South Carolina?  And just so my mindfuck for the weekend was complete, that X3 spot was quickly followed up by their diesel-powered 3-Series spot, which gave a boner.  The growl of that diesel, paddleshifts, slo-mo drifting, Bowie… that was all pretty bad ass.  F’real.  Yet, all of these spots pale in comparison to the Chrysler spot with Eminem.  Two minutes of complete and utter bollocks.  A friend of mine phrased it best: “That was Eminem? In a Chrysler ad? I saw him in the Detroit tourism spot…”  What a colossal crock of shit that spot was.  Yes, I get Detroit’s dire situation.  I get the whole phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes sort of persona Chrysler were trying to convey.  But it’s Eminem.  Driving around in some $20,000 piece-of-shit, copier paper sales rep company car.  In a spot that seems to apologize for two-minutes that it’s a domestic car before succumbing to an awful tagline that actually seems to set a higher aspiration for import cars.  What.  The Motherfuck.  I demand that the assholes who came up with that spot – and those who approved it – be repeatedly run over with a fleet of those shitty cars.  On the upside, there’s a good chance that shitty car lack the torque or horsepower to do any proper damage.  Or it will die before these assholes do.  Consider yourselves lucky then.

It wasn’t all shit, though.  Mad props for I thought to be the single best spot of the lot:  the Motorola Xoom spot, which seems to nicely skewer Apple (complete with the appropriate homage) with some leftover feel good schmalz from last year’s Google spot.

Also, props to Mini Countryman and the VW Beetle for clever spots which didn’t just entertain but provided some halfway decent product benefits.  Unashamedly, I’ve had a love affair with the Mini Countryman ever since I saw it – what a brilliant little car it is. (The S model is practically perfect in every way. The kids get proper seats in the back, there’s no middle seat in the back so I won’t ever be asked or hassled to haul someone else’s kid around [which seems to be a particular concern of the missus for whatever reason], that customizable center rail is superb, it’s not lacking in power and I can get a paddleshifting toy thingy.  See, brilliant!)  And the VW Beetle spot wins, not just because of clever visuals, but also because any spot that uses “Black Betty” is automatically awesome.  Bam-a-lam, bitches.

And speaking of VW, enough with the fucking Darth Vader spot already.  Yes, the kid’s adorable, his reaction to car firing up is priceless.  Blah blah blah.  But now, thanks to that stupid spot, the only thing my kids are interested in doing is using the Force to lock the car, unlock the car, pop the trunk, open and close the garage door, and whatever else one can do remotely with the starter key.  It’s been about 24 hours and already it’s getting old.  Now, if they would just use the Force to clean up their goddamn rooms, I’d be over the fucking moon.