Strictly Commercial

By Sam’s-a-fan 

Mad Mad Mad Madison Avenue, NY

Sunday’s game is not all that compelling, at least not to me, but it seems that there’s no way I can post the Friday before the big game and write about something not related to the Superbowl.  Baseball is the sport that feeds my soul, and basketball and football are a distant second and third.  I can get excited about the Giants without any difficulty, but as Yankee Joe is happy to point out, I’m not enough of a student of the game to make any incisive comments about football in general for a passable pre-Superbowl post, and again, Sunday’s match-up doesn’t really speak to my muse.

If the birth of the new site hadn’t destroyed the old, I might have given a very dry recitation of Rex’s Sunday picks for the past season, but that wouldn’t have done any good for anyone, least of all Rex.

So being a fairly big vidiot, I thought that I would go with something that I know a little something about, because I watch way too much TV, and I decided I would write about the all time greatest Superbowl commercials.  To do so I engaged in some fairly superficial research on the web googling and YouTubing “The best Superbowl commercials in history” and I came up with a few insights, well one really.  My insight is this, Superbowl commercials as a rule suck!  Probably through some evolutionary self-defense mechanism we protect ourself from the mass of utter crap that Don Draper and his Mad Men come up with every year by simply forgetting a bunch of frogs chirping Bud-Weiss-err, or the basic fact that the true measure of a man’s penis is directly related to the power of his pick-up truck, or the lie of all lies that a soft drink, any soft drink, is a party in a can, and let our minds seek out the tiny beacons of light that are the few, very few, honestly amusing bits of advertising all night.

Now let me say this, advertising, commercials, when done well can be art.  The men and women who bring us the best of these 30 second stories work hard to do so, fighting ignorant clients and account executives all the way, in the hopes that some morsel of their vision is left intact after the distillation process of meetings and focus groups and memos and budgetary considerations turns their creative output into a an inoffensive bit of pap that won’t offend, and will hopefully make it so Joe Couchpotato remembers our brand of spray cheese the next time he is in the aisle of the A&P.

But we get very little art on Superbowl Sunday, or any day for that matter, and one of the ways I know this, is because when I was looking at site after site listing their top ten Superbowl commercials of all time, one commercial that kept popping up was Masterlock’s famous “Tough under fire” spot from the 1973 game.  Now I won’t argue that this is not an iconic spot that is a part of our consciousness as much as say the pledge of allegiance or knowing where we were when we found out who shot JR, but let’s not kid ourselves, this is a guy with a high powered rifle popping a cap in a damn padlock!  America may love guns and violence, and this spot subtly feeds that hunger, but it ain’t art, and more importantly there’s no way you can tell me that if Mr. rifle guy aims for and hits the shackle instead of the body that lock is still in one piece.  Another commercial that seemed to be on everybody’s top ten list was the Bird and MJ “Nothing but net” game of horse for a Big Mac and fries.  We all remember that, and we know that there’s no doubt it placed those three words into the American lexicon for years to come, but that spot had far less going for it than the original Mars Blackmon Air Jordan spots, or way too many Sportscenter spots to name, but it did happen to premiere on Superbowl Sunday.  So what!  One spot that continues to irk me all these years later is Ridley Scott and Apple’s pretentious 1984 spot that ran during the game in 1984.  Apple’s gonna free us from Big Brother, oooh, but there only going to show us the spot once in the hopes that that fact will keep us all talking about it forever.  And it worked, but to this day, I wish I had used those 60 seconds to go and relieve myself after a few too many beers, instead of watching so many other people’s number one all time greatest superbowl spot in the history of the Superbowl!  But I think the spot that pisses me off the most, both as a New Yorker and as a human being with just a very little bitty piece of a brain in my skull is the Budweiser Clydesdale post-9/11 spot, where the Clydesdales take their heroic march to NYC and bow down in the shadow of ground zero reminding us that these pandering f*cks feel that if they can just get us to accept that Budweiser is America’s beer, maybe we’ll be stupid enough to equate patriotism with buying their product.

But enough of my yakking, here is a list of a few Superbowl commercials that I do remember, and that I think regardless of what day they aired for the first time, are just darn good.

 Mean Joe Green and Cococola kid

Monster. com’s “When I grow up” wherein fresh faced school kids tell us “When I grow up I want to have a brown nose,” and “When I grow up I want to claw my way to middle management,” or “I want to be a Yes-man!”

Budweisser’s “Whazzup!”’s High School marching band being set upon by a pack of ravenous wolves as well as’s Gerbil Cannon.

Last year’s Coke spot where the Underdog and Stewie from Family guy balloons fight for the Coke bottle balloon and where Charlie Brown finally wins the prize (We’re still holding out hope that you’ll get the little red headed girl Chuck!)

E*Trade’s dancing monkey with two differntly abled unrhythmic short bus fellas grooving to La Cucaracha.

Bud Light and the Magic Fridge

Visa’s Yao Ming “Yo!” spot

and I don’t remember whose commercial it was, but the one where the guy picks up his date, gallantly opens the car door for her, and while he is walking around to the drivers side she lifts a cheek and lets out a three octave fart before he gets in to the car, only to find out that the couple with whom they are having a double date are already sitting in the back seat and have borne witness to her slight faux pas.

So to sum it all up, on Sunday I am not expecting the game of the century, nor am I expecting any Clio winning commercials that will be remembered for years to come, I am however hoping for a well officiated game and a brilliant Matt’s Superbowl video with the winner of the Sports MatchMaker Superbowl contest, and I’m confident that I’ll be satisfied on at least one count there.

Finally, for those of you keeping score, with the help of wikipedia, I was able to learn that the all time winner of Bud Bowl, played 8 times between 1989 and 1997 (I guess 1996 was the strike year?) was Budweiser with a 6 to 2 margin of victory over Bud Light. 

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