As @BiscottiDon, er @WIBakingCo, so eloquently put it;
My yearly tradition that comes from curiosity, investing, and getting a perspective on ‘mainstream America’ (or at least what the advertisers want us to think, see, and feel – and buy, of course.) Watching dozens of Super Bowl ads always takes longer than I expect, so this time I expect it will take long enough that I should refill my cup(s) of tea, and settle in for a lot of “Really? This is what is considered normal?”
Oh dear. I forgot. This year there were official teasers to the ads, that are teasers for products. Nope. Not going to dive into that recursive fantasy world. Hmm. I suspect some are trapped down there. Poor souls.
Summary (Written after watching over 100 ads – and that wasn’t all of them!; but probably enough to capture the main themes)
Progress, and with a lot of work to go. But at least now some of the ads seem to be more naturally reflective of who actually lives in the USA; except for Native Americans, you know, the ones who were here, first? Lots of ads show broad views of the American West – but more about the land as a setting, not a place where people were moved to, moved from, and basically shoved around. Maybe next year. But, still, progress.
Not much mention of the pandemic/endemic. No masks. No cheers for the nurses. A sign that many are already past it, or that advertisers know that mentioning it is too risky?
Blessed none that I saw. Whew.
Except for a few small companies, the healthiest meal I saw was for KFC. Shudder; but I do succumb to their chicken on occasion. Now if they’d only do gluten-free biscuits. Oh yeah, and Quaker Oats gets a nod for being included.
Beer, liquored up tea, cider – no surprises. The ads were superstars celebrated success with see-through bottled beer, not convincing. May be true, but not convincing.
I heard there was a lot of crypto. Nice economic evolution. Not surprised that none of them tried to explain it – but they did seem to blindly encourage folks to participate. I wonder what the SEC and FTC thought.
Cars and Trucks
EVs rule! And then there’s also celebrating the great outdoors by churning up the dirt. No motorcycles or bicycles, though. Not even e-bikes. Next year?
Fewer than last year, it seemed. Nods to the few that wanted to save the planet, etc.
The Clydesdales did it, again. But I saw fewer similar stories played out. Most of it seemed to be more fantasy and escapism.
Why to buy is usually left out. And one motivation is to not be left out, so join in without knowing why? That’s America!
It is also educational to see how much money fast food and escapism can generate, because sodas, chips, beer, and movies make enough to hire multiple celebrities, and to use very high production standards.
A few did nod to important issues; but I wonder how different the world would be if, for every high-end ad that has the message of ‘Don’t think. Feel! Buy!” they also had to have an ad based on some issue that is reflected in that company’s official values from their Annual Report. How much do they really care?
(My comments about specific ads are below because it would take too long for many to scroll through.)
The trends I saw were nothing new. The ones with enough money to launch such ads are probably already too big for me to buy into.
EV and crypto stand out. Finance issues cheer interest rates that are actually historically small percentages while inflation is rising.
One trend that is more hopeful than proven is that there was more maturity to many (but definitely not the majority of) ads. The ads can still be silly, but there was less making fun of others, less divisiveness. Overall, that’s good.
Wealth inequality seemed to be less obvious. Violence was still apparent, but feel sorry for the furniture in any room where the game was being played. Cuteness was used, but it felt less manipulative.
Give me a few moments to quickly scroll through again to see if there is anything that will change how I live or what I will interested in investing in. Hmm. I might buy some gin, because I just ran out the other night. And yet, probably not.
(Oh yeah, and thanks for the Expedia ad that incidentally described how and why I’ve ended up writing books about travel and nature.)
Amazon – Mind Reader
Alexa reading minds and an overly automated house. Duh. Hari Seldon, Foundation sci-fi series from decades ago; no? Doesn’t sound familiar unless you’re a sci-fi fan? Oh well, at least they made fun of why I won’t buy one.
Hyundai – Evolution
Nice history and geography lesson. Actually talks about the car, too.
Ski lessons. Nice. Still looks very pricey, but as an occasional indulgence, great.
It is the Super Bowl. There must be fatty, salty, sweet, hot, and crunchy food.
Nissan – Thrill
Stars from multiple mega-media-successes? Fun, but don’t try this at home, or anywhere on this planet. As for how the car actually drives – well, that’s immaterial. Showing off? Well, that’s important.
Movie trailers – Pardon me folks, but I don’t like spoilers (mostly) so I’ll skip them.
Pretty good for a travel site – and good timing if the pandemic is over (and we can travel during the endemic.)
Because there must be fizzy sweet drinks to go with the snacks. But, hey, chess! AR song battle? Oh, a trailer for the halftime show. Evidently fizzy sweet drinks are profitable enough for a phenomenal – trailer – for a halftime show – for a sporting event that most folks can’t afford to attend. Oh, the things I miss out on. Whew. Good production quality. Pity chess was gone so soon.
(Side note: They just reminded me that I’m older than the Super Bowl. Pondering the changes. I wonder what Vince would think.)
Netflix – more spoilers
(Side note: Fastforwarding is so handy.)
Games, what change. Remember Space Invaders? Lots of quarters. Now, lots of dollars. Handy if you’re stuck inside. How many will stay there, or were there all along during the pandemic?
(Side note: No masks, so far.)
Rakuten – High Stakes
Indulgent spending. Spend, spend, spend – so you can get a little bit back?
T-Mobile – home internet
A musical! Hmm. Share that wi-fi password and save more?
Amazon – more spoilers
BMW – gods
Mythical EV. A natural for a god of lighting, but what makes it a better car?
T-Mobile – 5G
Well, they talked, er, sang about the phone.
Busch – Mountains
Nice. They got folks outside. I prefer my hikes to be quieter though (unless I’m the one doing the singing.)
Nope – more spoilers
Netflix – more spoilers
More diversity this year, and more natural portrayals (considering past decades). Bragging – then celebrating with…Nah. At least not for me.
HBO – more spoilers
(side note: Ads that last two minutes? Yeesh!)
T-Mobile – 5G
Dolly Parton helps amazing causes. Phones?
You had me at tea. Ten proof iced tea? Well, I watch these to see new trends.
All electric? Finally. I was convinced of the value of electric pickups when the Prius came out. Surprised it took so long. Ironically, I just donated my 2000 Silverado and got a Jeep. Getting the right vehicle is more about personal lifestyles, so think then buy – or are you interested in an electric bicycle?
A 1% account makes you do your “money dance”? Check inflation, eh?
Monday – Work Without Limits
I get that it’s about work, but what about it? Missed the point.
MGM – gambling
Did Vegas ever to advertise like this?
Honey – online shopping
Oh, saving cash. At least this one is talking about regular purchases rather than glitz.
(side note: Just imagining how many artists got good gigs to make these ads. Congrats.)
The Botanist – gin
Gin! And I just ran out. Also like the Isle of Islay. Missed it when I walked across Scotland. (Got to meet someone from Glenfiddich, though.)
Budweiser – Clydesdales
OK. These ones I usually want to see; but that because of the horses, not the beer. Someday I’d like to see a Clydesdale beside the winner of the Kentucky Derby; basically a big rig beside a sports car. I’m more impressed with the big rig on four hooves. Cute ad as usual. Good story and photography. Choked me up. How about ads for horses and dogs? Might have to look for the Puppy Bowl, now that I think about it.
Amazon Prime – more spoilers
Ah, hard cider. Actually talks about the beverage. Radical.
eToro – crypto
Oh, if only I’d been able to complete that transaction when Bitcoin was $220 (up from $20, so it seemed risky.) Social investing is cool. They make it look like a fantasy, though.
NBC – more spoilers
Nicely done, but ultimate?
A real solution to a real problem. Rare. Well done ad, too.
An ad for the game where the ad plays, so they should already be watching the game? Oh, but destruction is ok if football is involved? Wha?!
NBC – more spoilers
Contents of the beverage. Zero. Not convincing, but open.
NBC and Lexus?
Cars advertising TV shows.
DC – more spoilers
Win, because winning? Valentines Day is – important.
Miller – math problem
Number Theory! Excellent! Get this guy some champagne!
EV. Climate change. Save the world. Then take over the world.
Drinks selling snacks. To excess.
Games. Violence. You know, there are challenging games that involve less death and destruction.
Smart money. Learn to earn. I approve.
Roses. Nice and direct.
Paramount – more spoilers
Intuit & MailChimp
Kind of on-point. Kinda.
Bowling. Ala Big Lebowski? It’s only worth it if you enjoy it.
Disney – more spoilers
Rocket Mortgage and Barbie
Competitive market. Mortgage pre-approved – but did Ken have cash?
Off-the-grid. Cute, of course. Now from Morgan Stanley? Cross that one off.
Sam Adams Beer
Considering the rest of the food and drink ads, this seems almost healthy.
Diversity in expression.
Cars with lots of nos, but I don’t know why besides electric. The anti-Tesla ad.
History. Crypto. Not convinced.
Marvel – more spoilers
And this is for a movie I really want to see. Look the other way. Look the other way. Mute. Mute!
Dystopian burgers. VW Thing! Bring that back as an EV! Oh, this is about fast food.
ExpediaTravel over stuff. Agreed. Shall I show you the books I wrote?
Universal – more spoilers
Drugs – skip the fear
Draftkings – gambling
Don’t try this at home. Branching out. Handy if you know who they are.
Supplements. But why do they work?
Bevy Long Drink
Finnish cocktail. OK.
Pet meds. Cute.
OK. So, it’s a razor. Saves time? Ha or nah.
Grains (but I’m gluten-free). Fine.
Forrest Gump-ish. But why?
Buffalo wings. OK.
Better show of automation.
Beer = Ideas.
Games without guns. First one.
OK. That’s enough. I probably have a statistically significant sample, and I’m not doing statistics on this. I missed some, but the others don’t make me want to catch them. Lunch. Ponder. Then write my impression – which are probably back up at the top of this post, because that’s the way writing works.
Now, pardon me as I return to some of my favorite YouTube channels.
oh yeah, and mine