You listen to the bloviating about this year’s best and worst Super Bowl ads. The pundits barely mention the products. They don’t care and neither do we because the products play such a bit part in the entertainment. Almost like they’re an inconvenience now to their ad agencies. Those who write articles about the ads refer to them by shtick vs. by name– “the little Darth Vader,” or the “offensive fake Tibetan refugees,” or “the Eminem” ad. The Coke ad (I remembered the product!) was remarkable for having nothing to do at all with the tagline. I saw one with two opposing border guards in Outer Mongolia, tensely handing each other a frosty bottle of Coke from their government issue picnic coolers. They never crack a smile. The tagline after 60 seconds? “Open Happiness.” Maybe after the camera shuts off they go and share happiness on Outer Mongolian Brokeback Mountain. How the hell do I know?
Don Draper, who knew what an advertiser’s job was (his personal habits aside) would’ve said: “They’re paying $3 million per minute to tell a joke? The product has to be the star, the most interesting thing in an interesting commercial. THAT’S hard. But that’s what real advertising people get paid to do. Dumb jokes are easy.”
We know the Superbowl ads are supposed to be fun. That’s okay. But ALL ads are supposed to sell. Amen, Don