Super Bowl Ads: The Forgettable and The Unforgettable

February 6, 2012 § 10 Comments

“Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century.”
~ Marshall McLuhan

If this statement is true, and if we consider the majority of this year’s Super Bowl ads, we’re becoming pretty forgettable.

Super Bowl advertising is eagerly anticipated by millions, almost as much as watching the game. (Some would argue that the ads are the main event). It’s a huge opportunity to hawk wares to a captive audience, and highly regarded as a showcase for some of the best & brightest commercials made.

So, I watched to see what cream would rise to the top, and was incredibly disappointed. Have I just become jaded and old-fashioned? As a reality check, I asked my teenage daughter if she found them entertaining. Her answer: “No.”

She was out of the room for the only one that I found powerfully memorable and worthwhile. It happened to be a serious ad, and featured Clint Eastwood (I’ll let that fact speak for itself). In case you missed it, here it is:

Aside from this one, I thought: “they just don’t make them like they used to!’ Okay, I’ll admit that the “we go” Budweiser dog ad was sort of cute, and I liked the one about entrepreneurs. So there, I found two more. But by and large there were too many ads and too little substance.

Of course, they don’t have to make them like they “used to”, except for maybe having some more class, more wit, more depth, more intelligent ingenuity.

Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. If the idea is to make a big impression, and get the most bang for the probably obscene amount of monies spent, they might take some tips from some great ads of Super Bowl’s past…

With the wealth of talent and creative energy in the world today, you’d think the 2012 Super Bowl ads could’ve been a little bit spectacular. In my opinion, it just goes to show that technology doesn’t equate with creativity, and bells and whistles don’t make the message.


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§ 10 Responses to Super Bowl Ads: The Forgettable and The Unforgettable

  • David Yorka says:

    I agree Pat Saxton. A cool Wendy’s “where’s” the beef” might have helped.

    I just believe we are in a good commercial glut.

    Gotta say Madonna is representing for the Boomers. Hate to say it…she tied Prince playing Purple Rain in the Rain.


  • Diane says:

    Today’s technology gives ads a visual wow factor. But I agree with you, Pat…I want to experience more wit, depth and intelligent ingenuity in the messages. The ad with Clint Eastwood gave me goosebumps. That voice, those don’t-mess-with-me eyes…now there’s a REAL wow factor!

    P.S….Ada, I want your recipe, too!


    • saxtonstudio says:

      Yup! People can rely too much on high-tech “wow” and add in so much stuff (just because they “can”, sometimes) that it becomes noise. Nothing will ever replace honest-to-goodness authentic spirit, whether it’s dolled-up with tech or left in a minimalistic state.


  • Ada Farrell says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the forgettable ads! I’m with you on the Bud dog and bugs on the grill ads. Pure entertainment!

    Thanks for this article Pat. I thought it was just me. On a positive note, the lousy ads gave me plenty of time to make this great new appetizer / dinner: black bean, jalapeno, and sweet potato cakes with sour cream and jalapeno dipping sauce. YUM!


  • Mary Watson says:

    Hey, what about those bugs riding on the car grill. I could have watched them all night!


  • Griffin - Kia Outreach says:

    The Clint ad gave me goosebumps when I watched it live. It was so well done. You can check out our Kia Optima commercial from the Big Game online right here:

    Kia Outreach Team


    • saxtonstudio says:

      Hey Griffin, thanks for writing in. Glad you felt the same way about the Eastwood ad ~ it was stunning. Of course, I’d seen the Kia ad as well, and while clever, not my personal cup o’ tea (sorry!) ~ partly, I’m guessing, because women weren’t the target audience. But it also missed the mark of “wow, that was great” that I look for in Super Bowl ads. Maybe I’m just a tough cookie to please!


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