Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Video And Analysis Of Sunday's Ads

On Sunday, commercials will briefly be transformed into art. The miniature film festival will be frequently updated by a bunch of people called Steelers and Packers, but such is the price we must pay. We'll be posting video throughout the weekend.

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Groupon Super Bowl 2011 Commercial, Or Elizabeth Hurley's Ad For Discount Brazilian Waxes

Consider this: it is impossible for a Super Bowl commercial in 2011 to be sexually provocative. Advertisers have achieved the improbable by taking one of the least boring things -- sex -- and rendered it completely commonplace. GoDaddy ads are boring. This ad from Groupon is boring. I'm sorry that I'm being such a bummer about it, because you may have liked it so much that you took the time to Google it. Enough of my lecturing. Here's video.

A lot of people still don't know what Groupon is or does, and all this ad really clues you in on is that it's an Internet thing that saves money.

The intent: "Let's advertise our burgeoning Groupon service by mockingly segueing from a 'save the Brazilian rainforest' message to a 'save money on a Brazilian wax' message. That is hell of clunky, so let's hire Elizabeth Hurley to smooth it out."
The execution: "Elizabeth Hurley sure is a pretty lady. Also, some Internet thing about money. I wonder whether Elizabeth Hurley will act in any movies soon. Website? I like Elizabeth Hurley."

For more on Super Bowl XLV, check out our Super Bowl hub here. For more on commercials, check out these Super Bowl ads from years past. And to follow along with Steelers and Packers fans, check in with our Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain, and our Packers blog, Acme Packing Company.

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VIDEO: Hyundai's Anachronistic City Super Bowl Commercial Knows Huge Cellphones Are Funny

Though your company’s Super Bowl commercial may be innovative, it is very important to mix in some tried and true tropes of commercial humor. For instance, the VW Darth Vader ad features a little kid wearing an oversized helmet, a juxtaposition universally recognized as funny. In “Anachronistic City,” the Hyundai ad produced by Innocean of Huntington Beach, the universally funny touchstone is the gigantic 1980s cellphone. If you were alive at the time and honest, you’ll admit they were funny even then.

One quibble with this otherwise fine contribution to 2011’s cavalcade of likable, competent advertisments: the guy toting the record player around isn’t doing something anachronistic, he’s just keeping it real since Neil Young’s Harvest sounds that much better on the original vinyl.

For more on Super Bowl XLV, check out our Super Bowl hub here. For more on commercials, check out these Super Bowl ads from years past. And to follow along with Steelers and Packers fans, check in with our Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain, and our Packers blog, Acme Packing Company.

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VIDEO: The Volkswagen Darth Vader Kid Ad, For The Five Of You Who Haven't Seen it Yet

Since we all move at the speed of a well-oiled T1 line now, you’re so over a commercial that debuted this week. Please. I liked Darth Vader Kid when he was underground and hung out with MGMT before they went all lamestream, too. But for those of you not poisoned by hipster cynicism, please enjoy the finest ad of the Super Bowl before it airs, Volkwagen’s “The Force.”

Deutsch LA made the ad, and explain it here in an interview with Linda Wertheimer of NPR.

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VIDEO, 2011 Super Bowl Commercial: HomeAway's Ad, Featuring Gravely Injured Baby

For years, Super Bowl commercials and controversy have been joined at the yoke. This is especially true of commercials for brands that aren't household names -- Chevrolet doesn't need to be over-the-top controversial, but a company like HomeAway.com could always benefit from something that will get people talking, or gasping, or what have you.

HomeAway is an online service that puts you up at private rental spaces while you're on vacation, the idea being that this saves a lot of money. Here's video of their commercial, which is schedule to run in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV:

  1. It's a baby!
  2. Oh no, the baby has been gravely injured!
  3. Oh no, the baby is fake!
  4. Wait, okay, it's fine if the baby is fake.
  5. I'm too wound-up to think about vacations right now.

That was my roller coaster of emotions, anyway.  Also, the look on that women's face suggests that the test baby was not a test baby, but a baby. She would know better than any of us would. This commercial distresses me terribly.

For more video and commentary on Super Bowl commercials, stay tuned to this StoryStream throughout the weekend. And for more on the big game itself, follow along with our Super Bowl hub.

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VIDEO: CareerBuilder's Super Bowl 2011 Commercial, Complete With Monkeys!

During the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, Fox is slated to broadcast a CareerBuilder.com commercial. The commercials for web-based services, such as this one, E*Trade, Cars.com, and Groupon, really seem to be ramping up at this point in the broadcast. Here's video of CareerBuilder's ad, featuring, of course, incompetent monkeys. Are they cute because they're incompetent, or cute because they're monkeys?

Okay, going with, "they're cute because they're incompetent monkeys." I find it interesting that they used the license place to specifically establish that this is happening in Nebraska. Have monkeys ever even been to Nebraska? It's like trying to imagine a burrito in Norway. Does not compute.

Also, the apes are clearly not getting paid as much as the man, because the man has a fairly new cars while the monkeys are rolling around in beaters from the '70s and '80s. He's one of the most well-paid guys in the company and he still wants out? He must deal with a lot of monkey business if he wants to... oh. OH! Monkey business, because they're monkeys, and... okay, I've got it. Good commercial!

For more video and commentary on Super Bowl commercials, stay tuned to this StoryStream throughout the weekend. And for more on the big game itself, follow along with our Super Bowl hub.

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VIDEO: Kia's Super Bowl 2011 Commercial, 'One Epic Ride'

In the first quarter of Super Bowl XLV, Kia is scheduled to air a 60-second commercial entitled, 'One Epic Ride.' Here's video of the ad:

I really appreciate the tone of this one. It's self-aware, but unlike many over-the-top commercials, it doesn't waste time giggling at itself. The sole objective seems to be, "let's fit as many cool things into this ad as we possibly can," and they succeeded.

A man and a woman are handcuffed to a police motorcycle while the cop presumably drives away in their car. An Inspector Gadget-esque villain captures it via helicopter and is about to deliver it to a sea-faring tycoon, when Poseidon springs forth from the ocean deep and grabs it, only for an alien craft to abduct it. An alien inadvertently drives the Kia into a wormhole summoned by an ancient chief transports it through time into the Inca Empire.

Yeah, but that cop broke the law! How are those poor people supposed to get home? What if it rains? This commercial really should have taken the time to tie up these loose ends. Also, does the Spanish Empire end up with the car, or what?

For more video and commentary on Super Bowl commercials, stay tuned to this StoryStream throughout the weekend. And for more on the big game itself, follow along with our Super Bowl hub.

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Banned Super Bowl Ads: The Commercials Fox Won't Show In 2011

Every year, there is a slate of commercials that is deemed too controversial, crude, or obscene to be shown during the Super Bowl. Only some are produced with the genuine intent of seeing it on air; many of them benefit simply from the publicity that results from being banned. Publicity such as, you know, these words here.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, Fox has rejected three commercials for broadcast during Super Bowl XLV. Here they are:

AshleyMadison.com

This is what I was talking about: a commercial that was designed to be rejected. The high-gamma lighting makes it look like it was made in 1998, the canned orchestra music is boring, and you get the impression that the director really loves to cross his arms and smugly declare, "Let's face it. Sex sells!" at every opportunity. Yes, thank you, it's funny because of sex. As for the latter half of the commercial, I have no meaningful answers to offer you.

 

JesusHatesObama.com

The shock-value angle on this one is even more transparent. "Jesus" would go over well with some crowds. "Jesus Hates" would not. "Jesus Hates Obama" ... well, kind of a wash, really.

Here's an interesting question: if the religious angle were removed, and the pitch was something like, "Obama Is Not A Very Good President," does the commercial still get yanked?

 

Lookup316.com

Supposing you were intent on making a commercial advertising religion to begin with, this ad is just about as polite as you could get. The site it advertises is also pretty non-controversial as far as these things go, although...

 

There are plenty of things we enjoy about this world: our friends, families (hopefully), and a host of activities and amusements – like football – to name just one.  But in almost every aspect of life we experience disappointment, dissatisfaction, and daily frustration.  Simply put, the world we live in does not match the one we hope for.

Oh, dude. Man. That is a drag. I'd probably ban it just on account of how much of a bummer it is.

For more video and commentary on Super Bowl commercials, stay tuned to this StoryStream throughout the weekend. And for more on the big game itself, follow along with our Super Bowl hub.

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Super Bowl Commercials 2011: Video And Analysis Of Sunday's Ads

As we grow closer to Super Bowl Sunday, we also grow closer to the only time of year in which we actually look forward to advertisements. Sometimes they're predictable, and sometimes they're ill-advised, but once in a while, we come across a commercial that, were it stripped of its agenda of advertisement, would rightly be considered art.

Commercials are the Twitter of cinema -- reduced to 30 to 60 seconds, a premium is placed on brevity, and there is no room or desire for clutter. Everything must be streamlined. As long as you don't mind being pitched to, you can think of Super Bowl XLV as a football game interspersed by brief, stay-at-home film festivals. (By the way. for video of Super Bowl commercials from years past, check out our story here.)

We've already seen a few commercials that will officially air for the first time on Sunday. Be sure to stay tuned to this StoryStream all weekend, where we'll be posting video and commentary on as many ads as we can get our hands on. Until then, here is a working Super Bowl commercial schedule, as reported by SportsBusiness Daily:

First quarter
- Bud Light (2)
- Chevrolet (2)
- Audi A8
- GoDaddy
- Hyundai Elantra
- Kia Optima
- NFL (draft coverage)
- Lipton Brisk Iced Tea

Second quarter
- Budweiser
- BMW (2)
- Bridgestone
- Carmax
- Coca-Cola
- Chevy (2)
- Motorola Xoom
- Film: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
- Film: Super 8
- Film: Thor
- Film: Captain America: The First Avenger
- Teleflora
- Volkswagen Passat

Third quarter
- Stella Artois
- Best Buy
- Mini Cooper
- CareerBuilder.com
- Carmax
- Cars.com
- Coca-Cola
- Film: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- E*Trade
- Groupon
- HomeAway
- Hyundai Elantra
- Snickers
- NFL

Fourth quarter
- Bud Light
- Bridgestone
- Cars.com
- Chevrolet
- GoDaddy
- Hyundai Sonata
- Mercedes-Benz
- NFL draft coverage
- Film: Rango
- Film: Limitless
- Film: Rio
- Film: Cowboys and Aliens
- Skechers
- Volkswagen Beetle

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