I’m not sure what to think of the Super Bowl, whether it was the Seahawks’ fantastic catch followed by a quick interception by the Patriots guaranteeing a win, or the eerily sappy and dark commercials that were played in between each play. There was a dashing renewal of inspiring advertisements, but the dearth of actually humorous spots cast a shadow on the otherwise entertaining game.
There were a few spot-on hilarious commercials that aired, with my favorite probably being the “Clash of Clans” commercial in which Liam Neeson plays off his “Taken” character attempting to seek revenge from his online rivals in the game app. It perfectly balanced the self-aware aspect and the serious persona of Liam Neeson’s character in “Taken.” Another advertisement that was extremely impressive and nostalgic was the Budweiser “Pac-Man” commercial, in which a guy was randomly chosen to be Pac-Man and compete in a real-life version of the game. For viewers who grew up with the arcade game, it was certainly a memorable experience. For viewers who just love great commercials, this had to be one of the best from last night. Some other nostalgia-based commercials were the Snickers’ Brady Bunch/Danny Trejo/Steve Buscemi mashup and BMW’s commercial that compared the mysterious enigma surrounding the Internet back in the 90s to its new i3 electric car. The commercial was very clever in the way it attempted to compare the two technologies, though it did come off as very tacky at the very end when twerking was mentioned. We also saw some new movie trailers for the year, including ones for “Jurassic World,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Furious 7,” and “Terminator: Genisys.” “Jurassic World” was arguably the most exciting one of the bunch in terms of action and spectacle. We saw some pterodactyls picking up some tourists, some new shots of the half-T-Rex, half-velociraptor, hybrid dinosaur, and more of Andy Dwyer/Star-Lord/ Chris Pratt befriending some vicious-looking velociraptors.
However, “Furious 7,” took the cake with lots of cars racing, cars chasing, cars dropping out of airplanes with parachutes and cars jumping through skyscrapers. Yes, I’m still going to go see it.
Most of the movie commercials were good for what they were, but there was a noticeable dearth of many other high-profile movies coming out this year, including “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Fantastic Four”.
Out of all the commercials, Nationwide’s really got everyone’s attention of everyone. What seemed to be another inspirational commercial featured a child who proclaimed that he can’t ride a bike, fly, get cooties, or get married. It’s curious at this point, but the punchline hits (and it surely hits hard) when the child says “I couldn’t grow up, because I died in an accident.” Boom. Watching it with my friends, everyone asked the same question: “Wait, what just happened?” The commercial went on to show shots of an overflowing bath tub, a television that has fallen over,and some chemical sprays in a cupboard. I understand the sentiment that the commercial was going for, but it did so in such a cruel way that most people just were not expecting. It was done in such a hard-hitting way that it completely lost its justification for doing so. People watch the Super Bowl commercials to have a good time, not to feel emotionally disturbed or guilty. Considering Nationwide makes money off of this, it’s even more awkward.
Nationwide was the darkest commercial of the night, but there were other ones that were much more inspiring. Coca-Cola’s commercial about Internet hate comments was one of my favorites of the night. It addressed the problem of online hate speech and replacing hate with love and self-appreciation. It’s an even more important issue considering the amount of hate speech that dwells on Facebook, Twitter and Yik Yak. The “Like a Girl” commercial attempted to stop the notion that doing something “like a girl” held a negative connotation. It was a feel-good commercial and really struck the chords with equality movements and social media.
The commercials that played on Super Bowl night showed a new trend with commercials that has been emerging. With the amount of money paid to host a commercial for that night – this year it was approximately $4.5 million for every 30 seconds – companies want to spend more money on meaningful commercials that audiences will connect to. Sure, there will still be comedic ones, but in the coming years, there will be fewer of them. We’ll see more of the commercials that will resonate with you once everything’s done and over. Nevertheless, let’s just hope that we don’t see one like Nationwide’s anytime soon.
Usmani is a member of the class of 2017.