No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.
More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.
Look, there are two elements that can be used in a great Super Bowl ad, hot chicks and humor. And if you're going to go the humor route you have to keep it simple. Nothing is more simple, and for that matter nothing is more simple and hilarious than a guy getting conked on the head. Period.
You can't do clever and you can't do high brow comedy in a Super Bowl ad because people aren't going to be thinking about you're ad while the next one is on. You're ad has to be instantaneous in getting the laugh. Because of that, you almost have to go for guttural cartoonish violence to have a great ad. That's why the aforementioned rock ad worked as well as the following Doritos ad. It's why the fighting robots ad fell short, too much thinking. They might have well just had one robot step on the other and then flash "pwned" up on the screen.
I'm not saying only dumb people watch the Super Bowl, that's not true. But, you are expanding into a large demographic of people who don't go to Super Bowl parties to think. They want blunt instant gratification.
Now, if you can combine hot chicks with cartoonish violence, then you've hit a home run. Think about it, one of the most widely panned ads, at least in the left blogosphere was the Katie Couric ad for the CBS Evening News. Wouldn't that ad been a lot better if she would have gotten conked on the head?