Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Why Do Super Bowl Commercials Stink?

There hasn't been a truly memorable or inventive Super Bowl Ad in many years? (Terry Tate, maybe? When was that?) There are several factors that have contributed to this decline in your entertainment value.

1) Censorship. Thanks to Janet Jackson everyone is afraid of the FCC boogeyman. That means when it comes to sexy or possibly lewd advertising there are two tactics. Avoid the subject completely or go so over the top that it's guaranteed to get you banned, thereby generating more publicity than a straight, clever ad could have ever done. This latter technique seems to be the most popular.


2) Money. Super Bowl ads have always been insanely expensive, but the price has far outstripped the utility of such a large investment on one "event" ad. That's why many companies—Bud and Bud Light, most notably—avoid the big splashy ad and produce generic commercials that can be re-run endlessly for the next 12 months. They also buy several 30-second spots per game, meaning the actual production budget for each individual ad must remain austere. In short: quantity over quality.

3) The Internet. It's not enough to just market anymore—you must viral market. That means commercials for your commercials (see: Miller High Life), teasers, previews, or flat out leaking your ad on YouTube before the big game even happens. You have probably already seen half the major spots online (they're all right here actually) which lowers the impact of the actual TV spot. Nothing ever lives up to the hype in this day age anyway.

(Side note: Why does everyone crave spoilers so much? What's the point of intentionally robbing your life all unexpected joy? Speaking of—here is Springsteen's halftime set list, for people who like to read the last page of books first.)

(And another thing! How dumb are those Miller High Life commercials with the obnoxious "real American" delivery guy. As if anyone who brings ostrich burgers to a tailgate would even consider putting that swill in their coolers. Look, I appreciate a cheap beer as much as the next guy, but I really think you're barking up the wrong tree here. You know what else is a bird? Chicken! And turkey! Think about that. End Rant.)


4) Corporations have no balls. You're putting your company in the biggest spotlight imaginable and no one is willing to gamble their reputation or career on anything quirky, unusual, or unexpected. So enjoy your timid, risk-free existence, Mr. Executive.

5) Copy writers suck? Most people just aren't funny. Thems the breaks.

If you want to take all the fun out of your Super Bowl party and watch the best commercials beforehand, go right ahead. Maybe you can yell out the best jokes, too, just before they're said on TV and spoil all the fun for everyone!


Superbowl 2009 [Cast TV]


Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`