As Super Bowl 50 proved to be a defensive battle on the field, it was that way in the ads, as well.
Paying a reported million for 30 seconds, advertiser after advertiser played it cautious by trotting out familiar faces and familiar music to help pitch their products.
Classic rock ads, A-You can’t go wrong with the stuff that’s still on car radios all the time, right? Acura nimbly employs the whoops and hollers of the David Lee Roth solo vocal track from “Running with the Devil,” long a You Tube favorite, to convey excitement about its new vehicle.
The perfect musical backdrop is Harry Nilsson’s (“I can’t live if living is…”) “Without You.” It is at once joyfully goofy and disarmingly elegant.
Amazon Echo, BEx-NFL QB Dan Marino and actor Alec Baldwin trade reasonably funny jabs in this reasonably product-focused spot for Amazon’s mashup of Siri and a Jambox.
Some of it worked (Alec Baldwin, David Bowie), but much of it was too safe to be interesting (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marilyn Monroe, Janelle Monae).
Meantime, some risky bets on new characters, a “puppymonkeybaby” and a friendly marmot, left viewers feeling a little queasy.
Give it credit for keeping the presence of the celebrities, who also include musician Missy Elliott, in service to the commercial message, showing America just what is the Amazon Echo, a surprise but still little-known electronics hit.
There’s a lot of talking here, but the jokes are funny, and ending on the product (and the guacamole you make from it) does make you want to reach for a chip.
Pepsi, B-The best you can say for this ad is that it is spirited and well-performed, casting Janelle Monae as lead dancer bopping through three settings of American music through the years.
But it is also generic and oh-so-very-safe, leaving us feeling like we’ve seen this before.
We sort of have: Pepsi years ago gave us Britney Spears singing through the ages.
In the game they called this sort of thing “unsportsmanlike conduct.”Heinz, A+ That this best spot of the Super Bowl could be made so simply (and so inexpensively) has to have other advertisers tearing their storyboards into little pieces. No massive production that looks lifted from an action movie.Just a horde of Dachshunds dressed as hot dogs (wiener dogs, naturally) running in slow motion across a field toward a handful of humans in Heinz condiment suits.
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