Friday, February 3, 2017

SuperAd Sunday

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: This Sunday marks a big day in the American calendar: I'm speaking, of course, of the 200th anniversary of the incorporation of the Gas Light Company of Baltimore, the first gas company in the US.

No, it's Superbowl Sunday. And I have to admit, despite one of the teams playing being New England's own Patriots, I'm pretty disinterested in the match up. I've always been more of a college football gal. However, the influence of the game - what the heck are you going to talk about on Monday the 6th if not what you ate and saw? - means even those of us who Just Don't Care get sucked into the viewing event.

This year, I've discovered a little secret that could save us the whole afternoon. Did you know advertisers are putting the Superbowl commercials online BEFORE the game? Yes! Now, instead of cramming onto Ben and Diane's sofa with seven other people,  stuffing your face with twelve-layer bean dip, you can see the ads everyone will be talking and Tweeting about in the comfort of your own home. Become conversant with the following seven spots and, with the addition of the useful-for-all-occasions phrase, "I can't believe they just gave that play up," you, too can hold your own in the coffee break room on Monday.

Mercedez Benz assures us that even if we're old and gray, we're still Born to Be Wild. Starring Peter Fonda, who is ridiculously hot for a 76-year-old.

Budweiser traces it's roots back to the immigrant story of Adolphus Busch, who (true fact) came to America at the age of 18 because as the 21st of 22 children, he knew he couldn't expect any help establishing himself from his father.

What's funnier than "Eco-Warrior" Melissa McCarthy saving the world and driving her Kia Niro? Nothing, that's what.

Touching and pointed in today's political climate (cf, Budweiser Born the Hard Way,) Audi asks how to tell our daughters they aren't worth as much as our sons.

Perfect for thriller writers (and Jason Statham lovers) this exciting spy-meets-spy scene has almost nothing to do with creating websites. But who cares?

Also on the list for writers of the macabre: Kathy Bates gets some help from Turbo Tax on dealing with the unexpected additions to her new home.

And finally, the irresistibly vulgar, cheerfully crass Half Time Bathroom Break, brought to you by Febreze. Do you think they have knitted flag toilet seat covers anywhere else in the world?

How about you, dear readers? Will you be watching? Tell us about your favorite ads, past or present!


  1. Thanks for the preview of the commercials, Julia . . . loved both born to be wild Peter Fonda and the spy website ones; the Kathy Bates for Turbo Tax ad is downright creepy . . . .

    Will I be watching the big game on Sunday? Since I’ve managed to avoid watching every other Super Bowl game, I see no reason to think about tuning in to this one. But the commercials [this year, five million dollars for a thirty-second spot] are always a treat.
    My all-time favorite? The Mean Joe Greene Coca-Cola commercial, part of the “have a Coke and a smile” advertising campaign, shown during the 1980 game . . . .

  2. Such fun! I don't even like beer, but after seeing that commercial the other day, I'm just going to go buy some anyway. Go Pats!

  3. And remember the one last year with the Darth Vader kid?

  4. I just watch for the half-time show and commercials. My favorite are the one with the Clydesdale: the one with the puppy, the one with tribute to 911, the one with the little dalmation.

  5. oh yeah, the Darth Vader was a good one too.

  6. Julia, you might have hit all the high notes with one post.

    I don't know if we'll watch any of the Super Bowl this year. The Boy is not interested in either team, The Girl doesn't like football, and if we can get the ads online...

    That VW-Darth Vader one was a hoot.

  7. Needless to say, here in the Boston area everyone is glued. We usually tune in for the "last 5 minutes"... then it takes an hour to run down the clock. Love the ads, though. This year Budweiser ad is getting a huge amount of play this year, in support of immigrants. Several Facebook friends already posted it. Budweiser's ads are usually my favorite. The Budweiser frog? Irresistible.

  8. I'm with Joan, I see no reason to break a winning tradition. I thought the Chrysler ad, not sure which year, did a great job for both Chrysler and Detroit--very classy. Anything by Budweiser, but especially the 9/11 tribute.

  9. A totally apropos comment I read many years ago: "If real minutes were like football minutes Shakespeare would still be alive and writing plays".

    My husband enjoys watching a little of the game, but usually only if he knows someone playing, or if the Bengals are in the playoffs or the SB. And you know how often that happens. Two of our daughters are now rabid Bengals fans--one travels six hours to see home games with her season tickets, and the other one actually went to London to see them play there.

    Darth Vader was adorable! But most of those ads, enjoyable as they are, don't make you remember the brand. I wouldn't have remembered that was for VW.

    I'm sure I've seen the Kathy Bates commercial before. Love it! And Melissa McCarthy is a treasure.

  10. This is wonderful Julia, thanks! I especially liked the beer and the turbo tax with strange children. Reminds me of the middle-grade books we read for the Edgars this year... I heard on NPR this morning that Fox turned down an ad from 84 Lumber that involved a border wall. I guess viewers make a big fuss if they don't like the politics.

    I remember one from years ago that had a posse of cats in it and a cowboy wrangler. anybody else remember that one? It seems like a commercial can be fascinating and well done, but it is a success if no one remembers what it was advertising?

  11. The kid giving Mean Joe the Coke was pretty great. "Where's the beef?!" was good too. I can't remember if the Ridley Scott Mac ad that ref'd 1984 was in the SB.

    I'm not much of a football fan but I'll probably watch the first quarter to see the Watson ad. Since some of my coworkers (how does one ork a cow, anyway?) are in Littleton, those of us here in NC have enjoyed pretending to be Falcons fans in recent meetings.

  12. Finally, I too can talk about the commercials with my co-workers without having to watch a game I care nothing about ... if I only had co-workers anymore.

    Oh well!

    And I've been seeing that Kathy Bates commercial for a few weeks now on Hulu so I guess Turbo Tax figures they've got their market pretty sewn up what it it being tax season and all.

    But, honestly, I can't believe they just gave that play up. :)

  13. I'll definitely be watching. If I'm home alone, I'll start working on stuff on my computer and lose track of what is happening or the commercials that have aired, but I will have the game on and the volume up.

  14. I'm sure we'll have it on, if only so Ross can fall asleep in front of it :-)

    In years past, I've actually hosted Superbowl parties, including one memorable time when I made one of those three-foot-long sandwiches (featured in an article in WOMEN'S DAY) that everyone is supposed to take a slice from. What a disaster. I could have made twenty individual bulky roll sandwiches in the time it took me to piece together my masterpiece, and it was incredibly sloppy when cut apart. My guests wound up eating the cheese and meats from plates with their fingers.

  15. No thanks. But it's a perfect day to watch "Heaven Can Wait" with Warren Beatty and an almost perfect cast. "I think we're goin' to the Superbowl, and I think we're gonna win."

  16. Thank you so much, Julia, for posting these ads. I will have to come back later and watch them, but now I don't have to wait until after the Super Bowl and look for them when everyone is talking about them.

    I'm not a football fan, so I won't be watching the game, but, like Dru, I'll tune in for the half-time show.

    And, I'll have to choose the Budweiser 9/11 one as my favorite ad.

  17. Julia, this made my day! Belly laughed at the Melissa McCarthy ad - I just love her.
    The ads have always been the best part of the Superbowl for me since the halftime
    show can be dicey. That being said, I am really interested in seeing what Lady Gaga
    does with her time. Being a CT girl, I've always rooted for the Pats but this year I might
    switch allegiance and cheer on the Falcons - I'm actually rather sick of Tom Brady.
    DO NOT tell my brother I just said that.

  18. Chances are I will be on a plane during the day, otherwise, I would definitely be watching with the hubby. My flight is out of Boston, so I imagine the pilot will keep us updated. I'm looking forward to Lady Gaga and the halftime show.

  19. Sorry to mention this.

    IF you have a dog or a cat or a pet, Please DO NOT buy Febreze. It is toxic to animals!

    On a lighter note, I always enjoy funny Super Bowl commercials though I am disappointed that they never show the Sign Language person signing the National Anthem during Half Time!