McGinnis: Super Bowl ads translatedWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For 364 days every year, advertisers do in commercials mostly what advertisers are supposed to do. They craft entertaining little spots designed to increase visibility of the product they represent and demonstrate why consumers should want to buy it.
But one day a year, some advertisers enter into a grand battle royale for supremacy. On Super Bowl Sunday, it’s not just about product visibility, as the commercials on display often seem to have little or nothing to do with the products they are plugging. Instead, the goal is to make the most memorable commercial possible, at any cost. You’re not just fighting competitors. You’re fighting everyone who paid big bucks to get an ad on the show, in an effort to be crowned champion.
This year’s popular favorites included a child dressed as Darth Vader starting a Volkswagon with the Force and a dramatic Chrysler commercial featuring Eminem. But for every hit, there were more that made viewers scratch their heads — and said something very different about their product than what their creators intended.
O Coca-Cola, “Siege”: A CGI race of half-Wookie, half-hamster creatures have their stronghold attacked by marauders with a dragon. Our heroes’ secret weapon: Coke, of course. They pour it down the dragon’s gullet, and suddenly it can only breathe pretty, pretty fireworks. For some reason, this causes the marauders to signal a panicked retreat.
What the ad was trying to say: “Man, Coke sure tastes great, doesn‘t it?”
What the ad really said: “Man, when you have a product that everybody all over the world already knows and loves, you can basically do anything with a Super Bowl commercial and it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Does it bother you people that we spent more on this nonsense than you’ll ever make in your lifetime? Of course not. Because Coke sure tastes great, doesn’t it?”
O Doritos, “The Best Part” and “House Sitter”: The popular corn chip baffled with two separate fan-made entries this year — one featuring a creepy office worker obsessed with eating the leftover crumbs from the bag, including licking them off his co-workers. The other saw a negligent housesitter bring a dead fish, plant and even grandparent back from the dead by sprinkling crumbs on them.
What the ads were trying to say: “Doritos are so awesome, you don’t want to waste even the smallest bit!”
What the ads really said: “Doritos are so awesome, they will inspire creepy, anti-social guys to molest you repeatedly for the smallest morsel. And since our chips have magical, life-restoring powers, that guy will live forever, so you’re stuck with him. Good luck, suckers!”
O HomeAway.com, “Test Baby”: An overcaffeinated man in a suit rants about how hotels hate their customers and you should rent a vacation home from him instead. They demonstrate this by locking people in experimental rooms apparently re-creating the hotel experience, climaxing with a fake “test baby” slamming into the glass wall of the chamber.
What the ad was trying to say: “We have scientific proof that the hotel industry is evil! So rent from us, because we’re, um, not!”
What the ad really said: “We were willing to mutilate a silicone baby for you! Funny, yes? Now, RENT FROM US!”
O Mini, “Cram It In the Boot!”: A fake game show demonstrates how roomy the trunk space is on the new Mini by having a contestant stuff an unimaginable amount of stuff in there.
What the ad was trying to say: “Our newest car sure is roomy in the back! That’ll make you forget that our brand used to be hip, right?”
What the ad really said: “If you love lewd, obvious and childish sexual innuendos, this is the car for you!”
O Kia Optima, “One Epic Ride”: It starts with a police officer stealing a car from two people handcuffed to his bike, and gets weirder from there. In the space of one minute, the Kia is swiped by everyone from a diabolical villain in a helicopter, the god of the sea Poseidon, aliens from Mars and an ancient Mayan civilization.
What the ad was trying to say: “The Optima is such an amazing car, everyone wants to get their hands on it!”
What the ad really said: “We should drug test our advertising department before assigning them our biggest commercial of the year.”
E-mail Jeff at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.