In honor of the Super Bowl, Ike lists some popular commercials that he finds both terrible and desperately in need of being replaced by a new slew of (crappy) ads come Feb. 3rd
Super Bowl Sunday is fast-approaching. I couldn’t be more excited. This is the first time in years — maybe ever — that both teams I liked most won their respective conference championships. All kinds of great storylines abound, chiefly the fact that (hyper-competitive) brothers Jim and John Harbaugh are coaching against each other. If you think about it, it’s completely messed up and weird. They’re brothers (less than two years apart), but now they straight-up can’t talk to each other… for weeks: the two weeks leading up to the game and then the two to three weeks after the game when one of them is just pissed and the other doesn’t — but kind of actually does — want to overzealously revel in glory around his sibling.
On top of that, there’s Colin Kaepernick’s quest to both trademark “Kaepernicking” and become the next Pseudo Tom Brady; Ray Lewis’s last game; Ray Lewis’s PED scandal involving deer antler spray; the Ravens tragically missing out on a chance to go up against the kicker who “lost” them the AFC title a year ago (Billy Cundiff, who was briefly on the 49ers); the Ravens being unreasonably confident and badass; Joe Flacco attempting to prove (to the world) that he is the best QB alive (which he probably dumbly already believes); Jim and John Harbaugh absolutely blowing up at refs; Alex Smith glumly watching everything from the sidelines; Frank Gore’s overcoming immense hardship and getting to take the SAT orally; Ray Lewis’s post-game speech (win or lose), which will become the most-watched YouTube video of 2013; the incredible drama surrounding a potential Lewis-led Ravens trip to a New Orleans nightclub (win or lose); and — of course — the Niners being back, baby.
But wait, there’s more! Super Bowl Sunday means sitting on your ass, drinking some beers, and eating fried/cheesy/salty/spicy foods with friends all day. Sign me up. And then, beyond that, there’s the fact that it’s also The Day Advertising Firms and Large Brands Stress The Hell Out Wondering If Their New Ad Campaigns Are Any Good. And I, for one, am tremendously excited about this. You see, I have a problem. I watch a lot of commercials — not because I want to, but because I have to (sort of). And I cannot wait for a slew of new TV ads to finally come out. Over the last few weeks and months, we — the American public — have been subjected to a great many horrendous commercials. Here are some of the main offenders, why we hate them/they suck, plus (because that much negativity would just be wrong) a few ads that we actually like.
Taco Bell Loaded Grillers:
Honestly, I’d rather have the hot wings that they’re (unsuccessfully) trying to make fun of. They even show a close-up of wings being dipped into bleu cheese/ranch sauce near the end, right before cutting back to the disgusting-looking insides of those Grillers.
CITI Guy Who Becomes “Less Boring”:
Dude, you’re still boring! Just because you used your CITI card to buy some shit, it doesn’t make your ex-girlfriend’s reasons for breaking up with you irrelevant. To make matters worse, this ad directly features “Girl On Fire,” a popular song (by an artist I actually like, it should be noted) that I called “secretly bad” earlier this month.
Ford Fusion Inexplicably Driving Off a Cliff:
Dumb. As the car is flying through the air in slow motion, hurtling its driver toward his certain CGI death, the narrator lists some facts about the car, then says some would-be clever line like, “All those great features… but… there’s one thing it can’t do… yet.” Get it?? Flying cars? Dumb.
No more dubstep. Please.
GEICO Gecko Has a Flat Tire:
This actually isn’t terrible. It’s just… whatever. But…
GEICO Night Vision:
… These GEICO ads just confuse and irritate me (with one exception, coming later). Who are these guys Ronny and Jimmy playing music and narrating everything at the end? What’s going on? Why? Also, I feel like a lion could still take down an antelope “armed” with night vision goggles. That said, I’m pretty sure lionesses do all of the hunting; therefore I say this commercial is totally fake.
Bosley Hair Restoration:
I’m as scared of balding as anyone, but for the moronic opening line alone — “If you had a choice between going bald and a full head of hair, which would you choose?” — this makes the list. This particular Bosley spot came out over a year ago and somehow it’s still being aired all the time.
Bud Light Superstition:
I get it. I really do. Sports fans are crazy, superstitious idiots who get way too worked up about their sports and teams of choice. It’s a cute angle for a beer campaign. But this series of ads has semi-tarnished Stevie Wonder’s classic “Superstition” for me. I feel like there are certain songs that should be untouchable when it comes to the possibility of using them in advertising. Maybe filmmakers could be allowed to use them in movies, but commercials? No way. Anyway, “Superstition” is one of those songs.
Coors Light Mountain Climbers Who Almost Die Whenever Someone Wants a Brew:
There are two of these ads featuring mountain climbers whose job it is to find cans/bottles of Coors Light in horrendous snowy conditions, either by rappelling into ice caves or by rummaging around for beers at the base of a mountain and then climbing the same peak to deliver them. Cool concept, I guess. But did you see how busy that bar and tailgate were?! No way they could be adequately sustained by two ice climbers who nearly die for every third beer. And given the conditions, how long — on average — would each beer take to be delivered? 10 hours? 20? OK maybe I’m overthinking this and crapping on these commercials a little too much. Let’s move on.
Walmart’s Fast-Talking Schmuck Spokesman:
This clip is deceiving, because it’s actually the full version that tacks on an extra ten seconds to the version that normally airs on TV. Here, as in all the other ads from this series, the random dude Walmart has chosen as its spokesman speed-talks his way through a trip to Walmart with a real-life shopper, who naturally has no other choice but to be all, “Oh, cool! That’s cheap!” whenever he shows them price tags. Every time I see one of these, I basically black out from disorientation and/or boredom by the time I reach the 20-second mark and the schmucksperson is signing off in auctioneer-speak. Do they need to cap it at 20 seconds?? Can’t they afford another ten seconds of airtime? And yeah, things are cheap at Walmart, everyone knows that. Pretty sure the Waltons would still be billionaires if they hadn’t run a single ad in 2012.
“Gameday Bucket go boom!” Ugh.
Chase Footloose/Guitar Guy Who Can’t Play the Guitar:
It would have been better if they’d just shown Kevin Bacon buying a Big Gulp Bucket at 7-11 with a Chase card. But here’s something strange. Notice in the YouTube description for the official clip that they refer to the spokesman by name: “Ben Grant loves to see people getting cash back. He loves it so much, in fact, that he put it into song.” Whoa! Nice! I can’t wait to see Ben Grant throw down and jam on that blue guitar! Oh wait, he’s only pretending to play it. And oh, wait. Who the hell is Ben Grant?
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters:
Like all of you, I have no idea how this is a thing. But all I’ll say is this: A) Really? They had Gemma Arterton (a Brit) speak in an American accent for this? Given the Van Helsing time period/aesthetic, I’m pretty sure the right move would have been to have Jeremy Renner (an American) speak in an English accent. B) It’s currently the number one movie in America. Classic.
Good God, why do these Subway ads have such terrible graphics? And what’s the point of using these celebrity athletes (who aren’t that famous, by the way) if they’re going to display their names in miniscule white font in the corner of the screen? The TV-viewing public is getting older and older; help the old (blind) folks out! Furthermore, what a distinctly unfunny ad. So Turkey-Topia means Turkey Heaven? Ohhh. Lee, Howard, and Suh are also self-conscious and awkward in a way that makes me feel more uncomfortable than I did during the DiCaprio-Foxx-Waltz-Jackson-Washington dinner scene in Django Unchained. Finally, did you know that in America there are far more Subways than there are McDonald’s locations? It’s true; I learned that senior year and it remains one of the more memorable things I ever learned in college. In any case, that tells me that Subway has a lot of money to spend… you know… on ads and stuff. Confusion.
OK, so even I’m getting upset by how negative this is getting. Let’s move on to some gems that we (I) actually enjoy.
GEICO Eddie Money:
The lone exception to my dislike for those “Ronny and Jimmy” GEICO ads. A tremendous appearance from Eddie Money here, armed with an absolutely crazed look on his face and a jarring inability to sing whatsoever. Good joke at the heart of everything too. As mentioned earlier, GEICO can put out some decidedly mediocre ads, but over the years they’ve also managed to make great ones.
Love it. Dentist sneezing in your mouth, giant tortoise biting your finger, shirtless dude riding a dirtbike with a hottie holding two flaming crossbows that explode into a roaring tiger in the sky, hot/strange-looking/alluring DirecTV Genie Girl. And for the record, I love giant tortoises for some reason. By the way, the other DirecTV Genie spot isn’t as good, but it does notably (randomly) feature the boss from Workaholics.
Pixar’s got a wonderful ad campaign going on for this upcoming prequel to Monsters, Inc. Last fall they debuted a full Monsters University website, totally decked out from head to toe with a campus store, a map of the grounds, info about majors and departments, blurbs about student and Greek life, and a list of upcoming school and club events. I bought myself one of the t-shirts — one of the two-armed ones for humanoids. Anyway, being in charge of the design of the site must have been so fun. Now, they’ve come out with this commercial for Monsters U, which makes me want to go there. Badly. It’s so pretty. (Also, holy hell, how freaking good is that computer animation??!)
Finally, a word about the movie: I am a Pixar lifer with an intense love for their films. Things seemingly peaked in 2010 with Toy Story 3, during which I repeatedly asked myself, “How can they keep making such incredible movies, year after year (with the exception of Cars, which actually wasn’t even that bad)?!” But then came Cars 2, which I begrudgingly saw because I just couldn’t turn my back on Pixar that quickly. It was terrible. And so in its depressing aftermath I neglected to see Brave last summer, given that it looked like a rip-off of How to Train Your Dragon, only without dragons. And now comes Monsters University. When I first heard about it I was not thrilled. Really? A prequel to that movie? But then I thought about it — it’s Pixar doing college. It has to be good! If nothing else, I’m going to see it just to feel what it’s like to be in college again, if only for 90 minutes, and if only my college experience had consisted of being surrounded by (cute) monsters, learning how to scare toddlers, and there being absolutely no traces of alcohol anywhere.
Sprint Dad Turning Into Kevin Durant:
Admit it. They got you with this one the first time you saw it. I definitely got got. This was headed toward a totally adult, potentially weird place… but then nope! Also, Durant going, “Why? Do I look tired?” somehow cracks me up every time.
Ms. Brown the M&M’s Dumb Euro Boyfriend:
There is both a short and long version of this ad. You can’t go wrong with either one.
There you have it. As you already knew from being a TV/Hulu/YouTube/Netflix-viewer yourself, good commercials are few and far between. Most ads suck, and the crappy ones we just covered have gotten really, really overplayed, so much so that I routinely recite the lines to myself as I’m watching them.
So please, Super Bowl Sunday, give us a great football game, no terrible injuries or egregious officiating that will make us even think about Roger Goodell, random celebrity cameos, a non-lip-synced (zing!) but still great halftime show that does not inexplicably feature LMFAO, a Niners victory, and — last but not least — some new, good commercials. And to the companies behind the ads, as well as TV networks: please do not do what you pulled a couple years ago and show an outstanding commercial during the Super Bowl that you cruelly never air on TV ever again. Seriously.
[Very recent update: Mercedes uploaded this to their YouTube account. It’s set to air during the Super Bowl. And yeah, though it features Kate Upton, it’s not a good sign of things to come.]