How are your brands?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready for some football? Well, hang on, because first you are going to want to interact with these great brands!

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

There is no way around it. If you are watching the Super Bowl, you are going to #interact with some #brands. There are logos and sponsorships, and they are ubiquitous. There are the commercials break the game up more frequently and for longer periods of time than they ordinarily do. As I type this, the word "Jeep" is visible on my television in five different places.

In rare cases, the players themselves function as anthropomorphized versions of their sponsorships. Peyton Manning is, at this point, so closely associated with Papa John's in the football-fan unconscious that it's almost surprising not to see Schnatter's taut orange visage peeking out from under Manning's chinstrap, like an over-enunciative version of Kuato that was given to heartfelt blurts about Top Quality Green Peppers and 100% Real Meats.

I'm not sure something can become increasingly inevitable, but we do seem to have passed some sort of event horizon in terms of it being inescapable. There does, though, seem to be something of a sorting out going on where Super Bowl ads are concerned, if only among the brands themselves. These brands decide either to be EPIC or HILARIOUSLY RANDOM, and behave accordingly. Very few dare attempt what Budweiser does, with ads that ask you to get dewy about Emotional Clydesdale Vignettes and chuckle at the severe testicular harm that is the collateral damage in your more extreme Bud Light ads.

Most just pick one direction and go with it. If you are a technological product or denim product or automotive product or Coca-Cola, you will want something that looks like it was directed by an Adderall-addled Terence Malick. If you are selling handheld garbage food or a domestic macro-brew or some sort of product that men use on their bodies or Pepsi, you are going to want to go the random route. (If you are a movie, you are going to want to be LOUD AF, and involve CGI rocks being flung great distances, if at all possible by robots.)

Once the rules of engagement/#engagement are clear, there is almost something interesting in watching the brands hit their marks. It's like figure skating, in a way, if figure skating asked you to accept Walt Whitman quotes in the service of selling handheld internet devices or the idea that a company providing internet hosting services could somehow also get boners. We are doing this now, and it may yet wind up being the most interesting thing about the Super Bowl, even if it's just as formalized and lumbering in its way as what's going on between the lines in the game itself. Of course, that Peyton Manning is currently actually playing like Papa John doesn't help.

Of course, there is always the chance that something legitimately surprising may happen, not just in the game -- The Broncos have come back before! If never quite like this against a defense like this? -- but in the broader brand-churn. For instance, JC Penney was sending out tweets rife with typos from its account earlier. What was that about? Had we achieved #DrunjBrand?


So this was something, right? An actual human actually duffing it? It's not funny, exactly, but it could very well be a... sorry, breaking:

Right. Sorry. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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