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The Georgia Bullddogs' dynamic duo should be on NFL rosters at some point in the next 72 hours. Which will be the better pro? That depends on what kind of running back you're looking for.

10 Feb 2011

Scramble for the Ball: Super Bowl XLV Commercials

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

The Man Your Column Could Smell Like

Mike: The return of Isaiah Mustafa is pretty epic.

Tom: Return? In what? Did I miss something on Sunday?

Mike: The Old Spice guy has returned on YouTube .

Tom: I recognized the name, but I had not noticed.

Mike: I'm guessing Old Spice thinks he's viral or Web 2.0 or Youface or whatever enough not to need a Sunday spot this year.

Tom: Or they realized the only place they could take the commercial was ridiculous.

Mike: They long since went there. Remember "Monocle Smile?"

Tom: The transitions aren't quite as smooth. They've lost the element of surprise. It couldn't have the same impact it did.

Mike: See, I think the transitions are at least as good, maybe better, and more technically complicated, but I do agree that it loses impact because we know what's coming.

Prop Bets

Mike: So, how'd Mike and Tom's Excellent Prop Bet Adventure 2011 go?

Tom: Well, once again I couldn't find an official list of prop bet results. I could figure out most of them. We went from 86 prop bets last year to 128 with an outcome this year. And, if I did my math right, we both came out ahead.

Mike: Wow.

Tom: I wagered $19,630, and won $20,251.67. Correction: I was ahead. You were slightly behind. You wagered $20,990 and only won $20,966.67.

Mike: Aw. Still, around 24 dollars in losses is acceptable when betting on insane things like the coin toss.

Tom: Not only that, a negative EV bet on the coin toss. No matter which side you bet, you had negative expectations.

Mike: Yeah. Well, congratulations, Tom, for coming up with the slightly less insane way to risk $20,000.

Tom: Well thank you. I remember in previous years Scramble columnists making lots of insane wagers and losing lots of money. Yet, for the two years we've done it, we've come out very close to even.

Mike: Well, we probably didn't embrace the crazy quite as fully as previous Scramble writers. We also pretty aggressively hedged our bets. Maybe not intentionally, but in past years, Scramblers have called for blowouts and put down money overwhelmingly on one side, only to get wiped out.

Tom: True. The only big money bet either of us lost was me putting $500 on Shaun Suisham not missing a field goal. And of course I read that after the game Mike Tomlin admitted he shouldn't have had Suisham try the field goal in the first place.

Mike: That try had me screaming at the television. My non-football fan partner was watching the game with the wife and I and said he saw no problem with it, until I explained that the turnover occurred at the spot of the kick, and not the line of scrimmage. He immediately came around.

Tom: And he wasn't even familiar with Shaun Suisham!

Mike: Indeed! Let's not dwell too long on the many ways various Steelers shot the team in the foot this past weekend, and instead focus on ... What the hell are we focusing on, again?

Tom: Commercials.

Mike: Oh, right.

Playoff Fantasy Results

Tom: But I guess we could also talk about fantasy football. There was an extraordinarily small theoretical possibility Dave Gardner could've pulled out a win. But instead, Sean McCormick ended up winning by 91 points. The key was drafting Aaron Rodgers, who put up 100 points. That alone would've put Sean in third place, even if he drafted all Arizona Cardinals to go with him. He also managed to beat out the top Best of the Rest entries; Nevic had 199 points to Sean's 238 to win that category.

Mike: Well done, Sean.

Tom: Yes, thank you Sean, for not screwing it up. batbatt, turbohappy, and former Scrambler Ian Dembsky also finished ahead of Dave. The most common ingredient to Best of the Rest success this year was lots of Green Bay Packers. And, once again, a perfectly picked Best of the Rest team could've managed to beat out the staff winner, but divining a perfectly picked Best of the Rest team is darned near impossible.

Mike: Well, you'd essentially have to not only pick every game correctly, but also divine ahead of time which upsets will yield what points for individual players, so yes, pretty much impossible.

Tom: Exactly. Here are your full Staff League results. If you want to know where your Best of the Rest team ended up, post it in the comments and I'll post your individual score when I get the chance.

FO Playoff Divisional Round Results

Mike Matt Ryan 7 Ray Rice 15 LeSean McCoy 7 Marques Colston 6 Anquan Boldin 12 Johnny Knox 9 Heath Miller 13 Matt Bryant 3 Bears 0 72
Tom Tom Brady 20 Matt Forte 29 Pierre Thomas 0 Roddy White 11 Deion Branch 11 Brandon Tate 0 Rob Gronkowski 3 Shayne Graham 7 Patriots -4 77
Dave Ben Roethlisberger 48 Michael Turner 9 Joseph Addai 6 Greg Jennings 41 Wes Welker 5 Hines Ward 22 Jacob Tamme 4 Adam Vinatieri 14 Falcons -2 147
Sean Aaron Rodgers 100 Jamaal Charles 13 Shonn Greene 25 Reggie Wayne 0 Santonio Holmes 24 Braylon Edwards 22 Dustin Keller 11 Mason Crosby 19 Ravens 24 238
Tim Peyton Manning 15 Rashard Mendenhall 46 Reggie Bush 4 Mike Wallace 16 DeSean Jackson 4 Blair White 5 Brent Celek 2 David Akers 4 Steelers 15 111
Ben Drew Brees 28 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 5 Ladainian Tomlinson 32 Dwayne Bowe 0 Pierre Garcon 17 Jeremy Maclin 7 Tony Gonzalez 0 Garrett Hartley 12 Saints -5 96

Tom: And now on to commercials, all of which are available here for your viewing pleasure. According to USA Today's Ad Meter, dogs were the most popular advertising gimmick this year, as Doritos and Bud Light tied for the top commercial with the glass door falling on guy and the dogs running the party as the top ads.

Mike: This is the one time a year where your Scramble writers take a break from raking advertisers over the coals and highlight a few commercials that we enjoyed. Naturally, I didn't like either of those commercials! The dog waiter hitting on the woman was disturbing, and the pug breaking down the door was too predictable.

Tom: I thought the Bud Light ad was reasonably clever, but I was not particularly a fan of the Doritos ad either. I tend not to be a fan of commercials that feature people getting hurt unless it's part of an odd juxtaposition or in an unexpected and amusing fashion, that is.

Mike: Or features "Yakety Sax."

Product Placement

Tom: Well, that too. If I had to pick an InBev commercial, my favorite was Budweiser's Product Placement spot.

Mike: I did really enjoy that ad.

Tom: It was over the top in exactly the way I tend to enjoy things.

Mike: They had a Bud Light stained glass window and a pinball machine. How can you possibly go wrong?

Tom: Plus it highlights what I think is an under-commented upon trend, namely the ubiquity of product placement in the background of movies.

Mike: I think it's only under-commented upon in your mind

Tom: Well, people comment on the obvious stuff, like all the Chevrolet cars in the Transformers movies. But it's all the background stuff you don't normally think about that's also the result of product placement. And then the piece de resistance, the truck pulling in at the end. To use a very random example, there's a box of Snyder's of Hanover hard pretzels (which I'm a big fan of) in Strange Days.

Mike: Yeah. It's just moderately crazy up until then, because things vaguely fit. The truck has no reason to be there, makes no sense in the scene, and runs over a table. It makes sense for people to drink beer; you can make an ad into stained glass; heck, you can even knock a guy out with a beer bottle. And then this giant truck just crashes into the frame behind the musketeer kneeling in front of the princess.

Tom: Very over the top.

Mike: And at the precisely correct moment.

Tom: Yup. I could've done without the suit of armor at the very end, even. The truck was just perfect enough.

Fifty Percent Off Tibet

Mike: I really liked Groupon's Tibet commercial. It starts out with the perfect misdirection: low-key music in the background with a very concerned-sounding narrator, talking about the plight of the people of Tibet, who are famously downtrodden enough for most of the audience to get the reference. They also employ the A-Bomb of seriousness: the Ken Burns Effect.

Tom: A lot of people from the immediate reaction I saw (e.g. on Twitter) were really turned off by Groupon apparently mocking the seriousness of the Chinese oppression of the native Tibetan culture, or something. Sports Business Daily had a group of marketing executive as a sort of mini-panel, and I was watching their real-time reaction to commercials.

Mike: A lot of people using Twitter need to calm the heck down.

Tom: One of the things I was reminded of is marketers, like other people, tend to live effectively in blocs of like-minded people. The GoDaddy Joan Rivers spot was supposed to work so well because everybody these marketers knew not only knew about but also had most likely seen the Joan Rivers documentary.

Mike: See, I didn't see the documentary, but I thought the Joan Rivers commercial was very funny, both because it was a good reveal and because Go Daddy's marketing otherwise disgusts me.

Tom: What I'm saying, in a sort of roundabout way, is that I think Groupon took something of a risk. You're the only person I've heard who really liked the GoDaddy commercial.

Mike: Really?

Tom: I haven't done a survey, or talked to that many people, but yeah, really.

Mike: I mean, GoDaddy's approach has always been "Wait for it, wait for it ... there might be scantily clad women!"

Tom: And, boringly enough, not that scantily clad, and not doing anything very interesting.

Mike: Well, yeah. But here, they reverse that and have the reveal be a woman who is such a non-sex symbol is just a great reversal, to my mind.

Tom: GoDaddy's shtick feels played-out to me, and has for a while.

Mike: Go Daddy's shtick was awful before it was played out, so I applaud them for playing with it -- even if they did go back on it later on in the same broadcast with scandalous ankles. Anyway, I agree that Groupon probably took a risk. But aside from the small group of people who are going to be angry and vocal about anything that doesn't portray their cause celebre as the most important thing on Earth, people are receptive to that kind of marketing. The commercial also had good production, keeping up the illusion of the heart-wrenching mini-doc up until the waiter put the food on his table.

Tom: Well, sure, but it's now awful and played out. The Joan Rivers thing didn't do anything effective in my mind. Admit it, you're just a fan of the Tibetan restaurant in Chicago they highlighted in the commercial.

Mike: Honestly? I've never been there. I have purchased a few groupons, though, so I will admit I am favorably inclined toward the company

Tom: I haven't, but I'm not opposed to the concept. I bought from LivingSocial when they offered their Amazon promotion.

Mike: The CG part where the mouse is also pretty good, highlighting the building on mouseover. Sadly, the actual site doesn't work that way, although it should. You could just drag the mouse over the map until you hear "ANOMALY DETECTED." Of course, the normal response to that is just crying.

Tom: I'm just not sure this commercial gimmick is broadly attractive enough.

Mike: I think it has something for everyone. If you're looking for quality production and good concept, this has it. If you just want to make fun of hippies, this also has it.

Border Patrol

Tom: I think Coke generally does pretty effective commercials, and my favorite of theirs from this year is the Border one. I'm a bit of a sucker for absurdist military stuff in general, and this does a great job of playing into the stereotype.

Mike: While I think that Coke's marketing machine has fallen off in recent years, relying more on nostalgia for previous Coke campaigns, this is a superb commercial that still manages to maintain their overall message -- that Coke can bring anyone together.

Tom: It's a very well-constructed commercial. It blends timelines in a way that doesn't annoy me. You have the very traditional-seeming uniforms, and these border guards are walking around with sabers at a wooden crossing guard. At the same time, you have the satellite dish in the background and the refrigerated case with ice.

Mike: The whole thing is fairly minimalist, so you don't really have to confront the anachronisms. It's clearly trying to convey some meaning rather than accurately portray a scene.

Tom: True, but a less adept advertiser would have made it less minimalist and forced us to confront the anachronisms instead of eliding over them.

Mike: Incidentally, "eliding" is an awesome word, and "Eliding Egrets" would be a great hipster band name.

Tom: And "Evincing Eliding Egrets Evocatively" would be a hipster-parody band name.

Mike: Yes. The same number of people will listen to either band: zero.

Tom: Anyway, it's probably not the commercial I have the most to say about, but I liked it.

Mike: Coke also resists the urge to do something cheap like do a lot of quick cuts and perspective changes to try and make us feel the passage of time. Instead they portray the standoff very well by the larger guard's violent reaction to a bit of litter crossing the border, which, again, reinforces Coke's message that Coke is always welcome and should be shared.

Tom: It does a good job of setting the scene. These guys may work in close proximity, but they do not like each other.

Mike: Trash is not welcome, but of course Coke is, even if you have to redraw the line for it.

Miss Evelyn

Mike: I'm not sure Miss Evelyn is my favorite, but it's definitely in the top two. Maybe it's because Scramble is a collaborative process, and this commercial highlights some of the whimsical strangeness that comes when two people try to create something.

Tom: I see the obvious appeal: You could easily see yourself being part of the conversation they're having in this commercial.

Mike: It also does a good job of portraying the creative process, down to the weird, rejected ideas like the mirrors and the bales of hay.

Tom: And unlike the reader, you see all the detritus and nonsense that comes out of us having the conversation that results in the column this week.

Mike: Yeah. And they present it in a way that is amusing rather than just weird, and, of course, the writers trying to figure out an ending after they had escalated things to the point where they're not really sure where to go next. Endings are terrifying.

Tom: Actually, what I decide I like most is it really does feel like an actual creative process. Guy 1 has a semi-original idea (actual original ideas are really, really rare). Guy 2 tries to add some things that don't really work, then ends up getting into it and making valuable contributions that help decide where the commercial goes and eventually ends. I tend to associate teachers of children of that age arriving before any of the kids show up, though. I know that's me being hyper-literal, but I'm like that sometimes.

Mike: Well, she normally is there before the children, but today she was being chased by bad guys as she left her glass house in the desert.

Tom: Oh, ooof course. They get the creative process right, but they still produce one of those silly unrealistic commercials.

Mike: Well, that's kind of the point. They're just throwing ideas out and trying to figure out what would be interesting. They flat-out reject ideas as they go, like the aforementioned mirrors and hay, so we're seeing a representation of the process itself, not what the final commercial would be.

Tom: What would be interesting for me is adjusting to the guy who half a block before the intersection decides he wants to turn right instead of left and swerves across three lanes of traffic. It's like the tire commercial that showed stopping before a kid who ran out into the street to chase their ball. I got that. It made perfect sense.

Mike: I have no idea where either of those comments came from.

Tom: My hyper-literalism and desire to see a car perform the kind of moves I would reasonably expect to perform in the car? I've never driven off the side of a building and don't plan to ever have to do so. Plus, from MythBusters' attempt to replicate the jump in Speed, I know that sort of thing doesn't work the way it does in the movies. I have had to deal with the sudden turners and other nonsense like that. Show me what your car does then.

Mike: I guess? That makes for a less interesting commercial, however.

Tom: I'm a fan of either extreme literalism or complete absurdism. The middle ground is not my ground.

Mike: Compromise is weakness!


KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: When's the perfect time to pick up a personal foul penalty? Obviously, if you're Keyaron Fox, key Pittsburgh Steelers special teams player, it's your final possession in the Super Bowl, trailing by six points.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: Shaun Suisham is not a very good field goal kicker. So, Mike Tomlin, why did you send him out for a very long field goal attempt? The Steelers were in a difficult position, in the no-man's land of fourth-and-15 but your Scramble writers recommend against a decision that has an excellent chance of giving the Packers the ball at the 43.

COLBERT AWARD: If either coach did anything particularly bold on Sunday, your Scramble writers missed it.

That's another year of Scramble for the Ball in the books! Your Scramble writers would like to thank their editor for all his help, and remind everyone that "Brave" hit the over.

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 10 Feb 2011

54 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2011, 10:34am by Theo


by dryheat :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 1:06pm

At the risk of sounding sophomoric, I think my favorite commericial was the one for that web-based florist I've never heard of before or since. Granted, "since" doesn't encompass a lot of time.

by Duke :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 3:24pm


by turbohappy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 1:23pm

The Doritos ad tied for top commercial? That is just sad, that commercial was terrible. It had no redeeming qualities at all in my opinion.

by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 1:29pm

My wife's not-even-close favorite was the twice-played ad for spring-based mattresses (Sleepy's, maybe?). I thought the concept was cute, but...

1) All the couples are first shown falling onto the bed from about 6 inches above it. What? What position is that? Telekinetic Alien Style?

2) All the couples are wearing HEAVY make-up. What?

3) All the beds are PERFECTLY made. What? I guess if you're doing it TAS style there's no need to move the sheets.

Maybe this ad wasn't implying what I (and my wife) thought it was...?

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 1:32pm

GoDaddy is in the same category as the E*Trade babies--painfully obnoxious to watch. Maybe I don't fully understand the margins involved in registering domain names, but I don't see how their business has been profitable enough for long enough to justify their advertising expenditures.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 4:50pm

I like the Network Solutions parody of GoDaddy featuring Cloris Leachman.


by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 5:56pm

They certainly achieved name recognition, so in that regard their campaigns have been huge successes. However, given they pretty much are the low-price leader in domain name registrations (and have been since their beginning) I'd think their business would be doing just fine without huge outlays of money for Super Bowl commercials. And their concept is SOOO tired by now. And I'm apparently one of the few who just isn't at all into Danica Patrick.

by parttimemovieguy :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:15pm

The "Lassie" truck was my favorite. Identifiable parody, over-the-top goofiness ("How'd you get stuck in a whale?").

by Briguy :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:56pm

Seconded. Loved the Lassie truck commercial. The only reason I can think it didn't get more love is because I had to explain it to my girlfriend, who is 29, so it's possible that a big chunk of the audience didn't make the Lassie connection.

I was sure that "I didn't even know this town had a volcano!" was going to be the next big catchphrase.

by JFP (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:27pm

No love for the VW Darth Vader commercial?

by BlueStarDude :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 4:19pm

They hate children. Obviously.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 4:46pm

Set of my saccharine meter.

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 5:54pm

A little saccharine, yes, and sort of pandering as well to SW fans. I thought the spot with the remote start by the wife on the plane was more effective, even though some aspects of it bugged me. I also found the aired :30 version of The Force more effective than the full 1:00 version on YouTube.

by mshray (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 6:37pm

My brother-in-law & I liked VW-Darth Vader the best, and it finished 3rd on the USA thing. I found the Doritos one with the guy licking the fingers of his co-worker & then ripping the pants off another to be pretty disturbing.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:52pm

I liked the Carmax one with the mermaid at the swim meet and such.

by Kal :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 3:03pm

Seconded. That was a winner with everyone in the house.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:54pm

1-5 scale where 5 is "awesome", 3 is "i am glad i stayed to watch", and 1 is "why didn't I get more food instead of seeing this crap".

Telflora 4
Groupon 5 (people need to have a sense of humor)
Beer and Coke 2
Detroit 3 (but made no sense)
VW Beetle 4
Lassie Truck 4
Godaddy 1
Darth Vader 3
Doritos 1

by starzero :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 2:56pm

the etrade baby with the tailor--was that in the sb?--was probably my least unfavorite etrade commercial. that doesn't mean i want to see the baby again. ever.

the doritos commercial i can't remember--not the dog or the crumb sniffer--was my favorite of theirs. the one where the crumbs revive the fish, the plant . . . and then grandpa.

i thought groupon made light of serious situations, but at the same time generated enough controversy to promote both the causes and the site. that's pretty impressive.

but i'm going with border patrol as my favorite. for the same reasons you guys said.

hail damage

by idembsky :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 3:30pm

Pretty funny that I finished ahead of a lot of the actual drafters by investing heavily in the Seattle Seahawks...

I love the fact that you guys listed the Bud Light Product Placement ad first- It was my favorite by far! Hysterical. And I also thought the VW Vader ad was great as well.

by MCS :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 4:19pm

"COLBERT AWARD: If either coach did anything particularly bold on Sunday, your Scramble writers missed it."

Both coaches passed deep for TD's on 3rd and short. McCarthy did it first.

by scottybsun (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 4:48pm

Green Bay led a long 4th-quarter drive with mostly passes in an effort to WIN the game- instead of just plunging into the line conservatively to run some clock. Doesn't that count?

by Sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 4:44pm

But aside from the small group of people who are going to be angry and vocal about anything that doesn't portray their cause celebre as the most important thing on Earth

That's not why this ad got a negative reaction. The ad sloppily made fun of decades of murder, torture and oppression in order to sell curry. I get the whole "faux serious" angle which commercials often take, but it doesn't work when the situation being referenced is actually serious. It just comes off as callous.

by B :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 5:20pm

Thank you. The ad was horrible, and Groupon should be ashamed.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 6:42pm

If you cannot make a joke about something you are not taking it seriously. At least that is my opinion. It shows it is just an idea to you. Not another piece of the fabric of this absurdist drama we call life.


a) Much worse things have happened since the 1940s and are going on now than the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

b) Tibet spent the 1500 years prior to the Chinese invasion raiding and pillaging China repeatedly. They were not some Canadian friendly neighbor to the north, it was a hostile unorganized mess for centuries. That doesn't excuse what China did, but there is a historical context that Tibet's partisans seem strangely ignorant of. Frankly what the Europeans did to the Native American's was much worse. Even what the Han did to other nationalities within what we now consider the borders of China itself.

by Sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 8:13pm

a) Much worse things have happened since the 1940s and are going on now than the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

I see. So only the very worst thing in the world is worth getting worked up about.

Maybe next time Groupon could try this commercial: "The persecution of the Jews is one of the great crimes in history. But they sure make good deli food. And since 100 of us bought a coupon we all get 46% off Pastrami sandwiches!"

Or maybe: "The Genocide of the American Indian is a tragedy. But they sure make nice pottery and crafts. And since 200 of us bought a coupon we can get $20 of native gifts for only $10".

b) Tibet spent the 1500 years prior to the Chinese invasion raiding and pillaging China repeatedly. They were not some Canadian friendly neighbor to the north, it was a hostile unorganized mess for centuries. That doesn't excuse what China did, but there is a historical context that Tibet's partisans seem strangely ignorant of.

And what does this have to do with anything?

by starzero :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 8:48pm

i'd love to address how china is currently annihilating tibetan culture by importing and favoring the ethnic han in the tibetan region, but we're supposed to avoid politics.

hail damage

by Theo :: Sun, 02/13/2011 - 10:34am

"If you cannot make a joke about something you are not taking it seriously"... But it doesn't make it appropriate to make fun of some things.
Sure there are jokes about the holocaust, 9/11, cancer, the black eyed peas halftime show, retarded people and other things like that... and the jokes can be funny. But it's really not appropriate to ridicule the traumas of human civilization.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 6:01pm

Read an interesting article on that commercial--it succeeded in making both Tibet supperters and the Chinese mad. The Chinese see Tibet as part of China and hate all the Free Tibet stuff. And Groupon has been negotiating to expand into China--They have a billion dollar deal in the balance and risk it for a 30-second commercial?!

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 7:06pm

So being stupid and callous is better than just being callous?

by dbostedo :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 8:17pm

"The ad sloppily made fun of decades of murder, torture and oppression..."

I don't really think it made fun of any of that... it simply shifted tone from talking about the actual issue to talking about a restaurant and Groupon. The tone shift was funny, but there was nothing making fun of the Tibet situation in there.

by Jerry :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 10:49pm

Exploiting tragedies to sell coupons (or any other product) is cynical at best.

"Many first first responders heroically gave their their lives on 9/11. And now, First Response smoke detectors can save your life."

by dbostedo :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 5:37pm

Good example. I think the difference there, though, is that since there is no tone shift, you're almost trying to equate one thing to the other. To me, the smoke detector example says something to the effect of "our smoke detectors save you just like 9/11 first responders" which is an attempt to associate the two together in your mind. It's "using" the tragic situation much more directly.

In Groupon's case, the product has nothing at all to do with Tibet. And they invoke a humorous change of tone to shift away from the tragic aspect, to something related only in that it's from the same country. It's very different in my mind to products that want you to directly associate themselves with a tradgedy, or heroism, etc.

Groupon doesn't want you to think about the plight of Tibet when you think about Groupon. But in your example, First Response would certainly want you to think about 9/11 responders when you thought about First Response.

by Jerry :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 7:47pm

The best way to make sure that potential consumers don't associate a product with the plight of Tibet is for the company to not make the association. To whatever extent people associate Groupon with Tibet and/or insensitivity, that's a failure of the commercial.

And, for the record, my smoke detector example is entirely made up.

by Tarrant :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 5:19pm

Agreed wholeheartedly on the Bud Light Product Placement ad. It was the only one I went out of my way to watch again afterward. I think they should have just ended with the truck, though, rather than the suit of armor - I know that's the way Bud Light commercials tend to go (e.g. the guy picking up after the party while the dogs are playing poker), but I think they could have, for example, had the "Hero" and the "Princess" drinking a Bud in the truck or something.

by Dean :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 5:28pm

I thought the Audi ad was probably the best one of the bunch.

by Rikki (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 6:52pm

NFL Best Fans Ever is my favorite. I'm a sucker for weird popular culture, and hey, what beats the legendary Fonz in the jersey of the legendary Aaron Rodgers? Although Jerry Seinfeld should have been a Jets fan (I think), Moe Szyslak a Falcons fan, and I so wanted to see H.M. Murdock in Ravens gear.

Tied for second for me are Miss Evelyn and the Old Hoss Radbourn-written Hyundai Sonata commercial.

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 7:10pm

Cleveland Brown in a Cleveland Browns jersey was funny, as was Marge Simpson in a cheesehead.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 8:03pm

No doubt it was a good concept for a commercial. But it was also pure ego-stroking and didn't accomplish anything from an advertising standpoint--It was the equivalent of announcing it's your birthday at your own birthday party.

It pretty much fit the image the NFL ended up with after this Super Bowl--flashy and self-absorbed, but too busy for the basics like actually providing seats to ticketholders. Maybe a few bucks could have went from the commercial budget to making sure the temporary seating got completed?

by MCS :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 9:32am

I believe you are slightly mistaken. The seats were ready to go. The Arlington Fire Department declared them unsafe.

You would think that a businessman of Jerry Jones' capabilities would have thought to clear all designs with the necessary governemnt agencies prior to beginning construction and selling tickets.

How long had he been planning this shin-dig anyway?

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 1:11pm

If the installation hasn't been approved, they aren't ready to go.

by MCS :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 2:00pm

When the Anon says "to making sure the temporary seating got completed?", that implies to me that the actual physical installaiton was not completed.

Implies to me anyway.

My point was that the physical installation was complete, it did not pass inspection.

The larger point is: how does the Dallas Cowboys organization spend that kind of money without first ensuring it will comply with local fire codes?

by TomKelso :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 1:37pm

Was surprised not to see Drew Carey and Co. in Browns gear for that one.

I like the Murdock joke, but if you're gonna do "Classic TV/Ravens", it has to be Pembleton and Bayliss, or maybe Yaphet Kotto. Homicide even had a running gag where the coroner would always have some sort of Raven apparel -- picking over a corpse, and all.

Maybe I missed it, but Andy Taylor and Opie photo-shopped into Panthers jerseys woud have been as good as the Fonz.

The "We're the Motor City" ad is growing on me every time I see it, and I also greatly enjoyed the accidental KO of the jogger byt the diet-conscious girlfriend.

But Groupon has now joined Quiznos as something I will never patronize because of their commercials. What morally tone-deaf clod approved that campaign?

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 2:25pm

Other opportunities missed. Murray Slaughter and Lou Grant in Vikings gear. JR Ewing with Cowboys jersey and cowboy hat. Tim Taylor, Al Bourland, and Lisa in Lions outfits. Mork with an Tebow jersey on backward.

I'm not sure if I'll ever eat Doritos again. The finger-licking guy just creeped me out. How someone thought that would make a good commercial is even creepier.

by Jonadan :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 9:35pm

My favorite was the Chrysler Detroit one. But then, I'm from SE Michigan.
Next was the Doritos one - not because of the commercial itself (which was lamely predictable) but because they cut the music really really well to go with it. In contrast to Doritos commercials' general lameness, it was fantastic.
After that, I honestly don't remember any of the commercials.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 02/10/2011 - 11:41pm

Since when is Joan Rivers not a sex symbol?

by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 3:28pm

And I thought the Dorito's ad was creepy.

by are-tee :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 12:20am

My favorite was the Pepsi Max "First Date".

by Bobman :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 4:07am

I liked the pepsi max spot with the couple dining out, then the guy at lunch, and sneaking junk food in the tub. The wife always pops up to stop him from eating the wrong thing. Then in the end, on the park bench he pops a Pepsi Max and suddenly she is there, but it's okay... until a hot jogger sits on the other side of him and smiles at him.

The commercial worked adequately with some humor up to that point (pre jogger), but when wifey hurls the can and hubby ducks so it beans the jogger, man, that made me want to buy a case just to reward the agency for making me laugh at senseless violence. And I'ma diet coke guy, so that's saying a lot.

My three sons (aged 6-10) liked the other Pepsi Max spot with the cooler that catapults cans into the jerk's crotch and head. Predictably.....

Strangely, neither appealed to my wife. She must be brain dead or something. And weather she is or not, I can type shit like that because I am 100% sure she does not read FO!

by Bobwoman (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 3:37pm

You son of a bitch! I may be brain dead, but I'm not sleeping on the couch tonight.

by Drunkmonkey :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 5:40pm


by dmb :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 7:06pm

Best comment of 2011! (So far...)

by Theo :: Sun, 02/13/2011 - 10:02am


by Lindemann (not verified) :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 10:30am

Which is why you should know that it doesn't take a preposition. You don't "elide over" things, you simply elide them.

by Dan :: Fri, 02/11/2011 - 4:32pm

I found it odd that the helicopter just disappeared in the Miss Evelyn ad. Apparently helicopters can't follow you if you drive off a roof?