Do you watch Super Bowl for football or commercials?
I appreciate clever commercials. I like the current one pitching the Nissan Rogue. It makes the vehicle look sporty, nimble and fast—and appealing to young, urban professionals. But I've probably seen it about 100 too many times already.
My wife, however, doesn't like that commercial. We agree that the latest Old Spice commercial, with the woman appearing behind the bowling pins on an alley and then rolling up the ball return, is hideous. As a fan of “Mad Men,” I can imagine being the marketing company that pitched that idea to the makers of Old Spice. What a sales job that had to be.
I despise the Allstate insurance commercials with the “mayhem” guy. Some of them include scenes that I imagine might give immature adolescents more ideas for dangerous “Jackass”-like stunts. On the other hand, I like the Farmers Insurance commercials that involve actor J.K. Simmons as spokesman. By the way, American Family Insurance scored a coup when it got former Badger football star Russell Wilson to film a commercial for the Super Bowl weeks ago, before it knew Wilson would lead his Seattle Seahawks into Sunday's big game. That commercial will air regionally where American Family does business.
Some of the most memorable commercials in TV history debuted during the Super Bowl. Coke is apparently bringing a new one this year, decades after it aired one of the best, in 1979, involving a kid giving a hobbling “Mean Joe” Green a Coke and the Pittsburgh Steeler player, in turn, tossing the boy his jersey.
I read an Associated Press story Thursday that said companies are going for sophistication to get the most out of their estimated $4 million cost for each 30-second spot. Sex and slapstick won't be as prominent as they often have been in Super Bowl commercials. I wouldn't t expect the entire contest to pass, however, without some companies using these time-honored sales devices.
Of course, the Internet is taking the air out of the commercial suspense. You can already find some of this year's Super Bowl ads online, including an enjoyable one from Volkswagen that I saw on a morning TV show this week. It involves a dad telling his daughter about how, every time a Volkswagen surpasses 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings.
So be honest—do you watch the Super Bowl more for the commercials or the action on the field?