Super Bowl LI will be the stuff of legend, but the commercials during the game? Not so much.
I can’t say that I saw every commercial broadcast during the game, of course, but the ones I did see weren’t very memorable. Basically, in this Super Bowl as in other Super Bowls, the commercials fell into two main categories: the tedious “story” ads that hit you over the head with a message, and the ads that are supposed to be funny. (There’s also a third category of weird, one-off ads from companies that simply want to get their name out there during the Super Bowl, even though there is basically no chance that 99.99% of the viewing audience will ever purchase their product or service. This year, the Morgan Freeman ad for Turkish Airlines aptly represents that category. Turkish Airlines? Really?)
The enormous Super Bowl audience endures the “story” ads, and accepts the perverse notion of large corporate sponsors lecturing us on the proper way of thinking about something, in hopes that the ads that are trying to be funny will make us laugh.
This year . . . not so much. I like seeing Melissa McCarthy slammed around as much as the next guy, but her ad was symptomatic of the flaws that seemed to infect all of the wannabe funny ads — a thin premise that gets beaten to death and tries way too hard. You sit and watch them, kind of shake your head, and marvel that this is the best that a huge ad agency and a million-dollar commercial buy can do. I didn’t see anything clever or original in a way comparable to the classic “Doberhuahua” ad from a few years ago, for example — and because we could all use a hearty laugh these days, I’ve linked to it below.
Who knows? Maybe a symptom of aging is that you think the commercials during past Super Bowls are better than the current crop — but I doubt it.