The Rest of This Year's Super Bowl Ads Better Try Harder Than These Two (VIDEO)

The Super Bowl is nearly upon us, and NBC is probably pretty excited about it—seeing as how it’s the one DVR-proof broadcast keeping the network afloat the other 364 days of the year. And if you’re as big of a sports nut as I am, well, then, you aren’t a sports nut at all, and will instead look to the expensive ads—NBC is charging $3.5 million per 30 seconds this year—for amusement as you pound high-alcohol-content Canadian beers smuggled over the border after a recent road trip. But that’s a story for another time. Every year, we’re primed for how these new commercials will be so darn clever and hilarious and outrageous, and every year, by and large, they suck.

The big hit from last year was the Volkswagen ad with the little kid in the Darth Vader costume, a wildly overrated spot that traded shamelessly on Star Wars nostalgia. “OMG! Tiny Darth Vader! That’s amazing! Where do we throw our money?! How many Passats would you like us to buy?!” That commercial was not that funny. At most, it elicited a “heh,” as in, “Heh, tiny Darth Vader.” But you wouldn’t know it in the days that followed its debut, when the kid in the ad was suddenly doing the morning show circuit as if he were some breakout media sensation. He was in a mask for the whole commercial! Who cares what he looks like and what his career aspirations are and how the runaway success of the VW ad has changed his life? Are we really that bereft of things to focus on and care about? Get lives, people! (And by people I mean morning show bookers.)

Anyway, the whole rigmarole is about to start again, and already we’ve been seeing previews of some of the mediocrity to come. Here’s one that’s been bouncing around online today. It’s a Honda CR-V ad that that stars Matthew Broderick paying homage to his iconic role in Ferris Bueller's Day Off—for my money, one of the best comedy films of all time. Watch it, then let’s talk.

From what I’ve seen on my Facebook wall today, people seem to like this ad and think it’s a good thing. The general thought-process seems to be, “Hey! I remember and love that movie! That’s so funny, because he’s older now but he’s doing similar things to all the very memorable and brilliant scenes in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! This is really cool and I’m going to post this to my Facebook wall and be nostalgic for that awesome movie.” Except this ad is not a good thing, it’s a terrible thing. It’s artless and shameless and not remotely funny and doesn’t even parody the movie correctly. “Oh, he sang ‘Twist and Shout’ in a Chicago parade in one of the most joyous and spontaneous musical sequences in modern cinematic history? Let’s put him in a Chinese New Year’s parade! It’s similar yet different! And let’s put him in a natural history museum because that contains the word ‘museum,’ echoing another classic scene in the film. And let’s make his dad his agent now, because Matthew Broderick is a working actor and this is all about his life, and he really gives a crap about whether or not his agent sees him driving in a Honda on the streets of LA. This is working out awesomely!” No, it isn’t. It sucks. I hate it. I’d rather watch Kia gerbils or whatever those dancing rodents are.

Okay, moving on! Here’s this year's Audi spot. Last year they had this overproduced and overcomplicated commercial about a prison for old rich people that flew over everyone’s heads. It was a serious misfire, and you can tell so much time and work went into it that the only response is just, "Why, Audi? Why? You make beautiful cars. Don’t overthink this. Just show us your beautiful car on a beautiful stretch of landscape and get out." That’s what an Audi buyer is looking for. Not rich men in monocles and handcuffs. So this year, what does the carmaker come up with? It’s hip. This shiz is hipple to the sizzle. Are you ready? Vampires. Yes, visionary automotive corporation Audi has hitched its V-12 wagon to the next big pop culture trend.

“Audi: The headlights so bright, they will kill vampires!” Could you imagine the Sterling Cooper creative team pitching this to Don Draper back in the day? He would have taken that mocked-up poster board and cracked it over Sal’s head. Then he’d have launched into a moving speech about how “we aren’t selling $60,000 sports cars to 13-year-old girls! We’re recapturing a lost moment. The exhilaration of the first time your father let go of the bike. The first time you undressed a beautiful woman, or held your newly born child...” to which Sal would just nod as if he completely understood, then scamper out of the room with the easel under his arm.

The point is, these Super Bowl ad people need to TRY HARDER. They are phoning it in. Honda’s Ferris Bueller commercial is the very essence of phoning it in. And that Audi vampire party ad doesn't even qualify as phoning it in; it’s like three levels lazier than that. Way to take a cool car brand and instantly render it utterly uncool, Audi. Though it could still be worse, I guess. You could be a Fiat, and those vampires could be J-Los.


QUESTIONS:

... What do you think of the two ads embedded above?

... Do you remember any of last year's ads? Which ones were your favorites?

... What do you think makes a good Super Bowl ad?


RELATED STORIES:
... Volkswagen Is Doing the Star Wars Thing for the Super Bowl Again (VIDEO)

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Lazy! I bet the sales pitch went something like "You know though popular things? Let's dredge them up and butcher them."



I feel so sad for Matthew Broderick right now.
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The VW ad with the dogs is cute but what's Star Wars got to do with selling cars?They are basically doing the same thing for a second year in a row.
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The Audi ad is bad,very bad and about 3 years too late.The Honda ad is nice in a nostalgic and movie buff kind of way.
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Seth, you are my new best friend* (internet one-way friend is not a real friend, sorry me) for being the other person out there besides myself to call shenanigans on that damned Darth Vader kid ad! I had been vocal about that the second it came out last year and got lambasted for my opinion, and have seen nobody else until now who felt similarly.



As for the Ferris Bueller ad, you are entirely right on the money that it's artless and shameless. Dunno about the Kia rodentia though. But it saddens me to think that Ferris Bueller would ever be caught dead driving a friggin' minivan - there is no fun or freedom to be had driving a minivan, despite what this commercial purports (and what Honda also ruined Judas Priest by usurping "The Hellion" for in an ad last year).



Home run on the Audi vampire ad callout, that is such a big miss I have to wonder if Audi is expecting a refund on that turd of an ad. At least last year's Audi ad was making a statement about the customers they were trying to get in a creative manner, here it's just "we've got bright headlights, even though headlamp brightness is federally-regulated".
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Yay! I love new best friends who agree with me!
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You think it's possible that thee's somebody on the planet who hasn't seen Ferris Bueller's day off?

Why do you need these comment when you argue against yourself in every other paragraph? Are they trying too hard or not hard enough?
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I haven't seen it.
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I think that the point of Superbowl commercials is to achieve advertising goals through mass entertainment not some art-house esthetic. As such, creating wider brand awareness beyond the immediate demographic target audience is the desired goal. It may be simplistic to judge the merits solely on whether they have artistic integrity.
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I agree with that point, but can't they be both? I feel like last year's Audi ad was artful, but maybe too artful. Like a Wes Anderson nightmare. I think Google repeatedly hits the mark. The ad that told a love story through searches was my favorite Super Bowl spot in years.
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i thought the audi commercial was funny,,, i guess.
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I liked the Honda commercial for two reasons. The first is the expected, it made me smile when I though about "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". However, the second reason is a lot more important. I like the commercial because reminded me that yes work is important, but every now and then you need to pause and take a breather, so that you can enjoy all the facets of your life to the fullest. After all, ten months in a school year, ten sick days allowed per school year, that is no coincidence ;)
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In my "Chris Traeger" voice: I literally...fell asleep during the CR-V commercial.
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I like them.
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If only Twilight Vamp-fairies were vamp enough to be destroyed by light of any sort . . . Y'know, I think this commercial is tapping in to a shared dream . . . Not even Audi can kill a glittery vampire. They just won't die. *psychotic break* DIE! DIE ALREADY!!! *grips shards of shattered psyche in fists*
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You don't have a Team Edward T-shirt I take it . . . so, are you on Team Jacob, or what?
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I actually liked the Audi commercial. These commercials are supposed to be fun, and that's the point. You have to keep in mind that vampires were around long before twilight, with From Dusk til Dawn, Interview with the Vampire, et al. and they were badass back then, and catered towards men. Just because one franchise features them glittering doesn't necessarily mean they'll remain jailbait catnip forever.
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I agree, even the Sookie Stackhouse and Dresden books are current and I believe they portray the supernatural in a very interesting (blood red)light.



But seriously, not even the shrieking tweens care that much about Twilight anymore. Even the 'Twilight Sucks' movement has become super annoying, we all know it sucks and anyone who makes fun of it at this poking is just poking it's dead and rotten corpse with a stick.
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If only it was that easy to kill off Twilight.
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Uh, I liked the little Darth Vader commercial and the "rich guys' prison" commercial from last year. The Audi vampire commercial is funny (I don't see how it's supposed to appeal to teen girls. It looks like it's supposed to appeal to people who hate TWILIGHT). The Ferris Bueller commercial is pretty "meh", not anywhere deserving of the word "terrible".



In other words, I disagree. *shrug*
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The Budweiser commercial a few years back that featured a young Clydesdale. Because, BABY HORSEY!!
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You can't un-see that. "Hey as long as their talking about us, right?.....right?..." -Soon to be fired Ad Executive.
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I was really hoping the idea that vampires scurry up trees like squirrels wouldn't gain any more adherents.
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I don't watch the Super Bowl to watch ads. I watch for the football.
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I watch for both. Go Giants!
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I am the opposite. LOL.
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