Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl commercials blog-a-thon

5:37 PM -- I wonder how many people below the age of 30 caught the Godfather allusion in the guy-screaming-in-bed Audi commercial?

5:47 PM -- Of course, I also wonder how many people remember the Steve and Doug Butabi characters (from Saturday Night Live and A Night at the Roxbury) referenced -- through music, and a cameo by Chris Kattan -- in the Diet Pepsi Max commercial. Maybe the ad guys are getting a little too arcane with their pop-culture references?

6:04 PM -- The Wanted spot doesn't look much different than the coming-attraction trailer that's been running in theaters for quite some time now. Shorter, maybe, but not much clearer concept-wise. And, worse, no surprises. IMHO: A wasted opportunity to fine-tune the hard-sell.

6:06 PM -- But the giant pigeons for Fed Ex? Cool.

6:14 PM -- Isn't it a bit late in the day -- very, very late, in fact -- for a Rocky-themed beer commercial? Even Rocky Balboa is more than a year old.

6:17 PM-- Uh-oh. The Iron Man teaser looks a little... well, a little cartoonish, maybe? Or, worse, a little Hulk-ish (as in the first Hulk movie -- or, more specifically, the notorious Super Bowl commercial for that 2003 flick)?

6:19 PM -- But Leatherheads looks funny.

6:38 PM -- The Princess Narnia spot tells me: More of the same. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. If you didn't, you won't. Will be interesting to see if cable and homevid exposure for Episode 1 will increase the audience for No. 2.

6:42 PM -- The Pepsi spot tells me: Justin Timberlake has a sense of humor about himself. Also reminds me: He deserved more props for his self-effacing turn in the under-rated Black Snake Moan.

7:25 PM -- Enjoyable set by Tom Petty. (But, then again, I'm could hear "Runnin' Down a Dream" four or five times each morning during my workday commute, and never think punching up a new station on my car radio.) On the other hand, Semi-Pro looks... stale.

7:45 PM -- Clever Wall-E spot, establishing the Disney/Pixar link to Toy Story in a way both simple enough to appeal to kids and hip enough to amuse older audiences.

7:53 PM -- In sharp contrast to the aforementioned Wanted spot, the Jumper spot rethinks its own coming-attraction trailer(s) to clarify the central gimmick -- and the dramatic conflict. (I have to admit: This is the first time I've had any idea why Samuel L. Jackson's character is such a party-pooper.) Good move: At this point in the football game, many viewers may be too, uh, fuzzy-headed to grasp subtle ironies or complex concepts.

8:13 PM -- James Carville and Bill Frist come together with a Coke and a smile. OK, maybe I'm easy, but I laughed out loud. Haven't done that since the giant pigeons.

8:16 PM -- But You Don't Mess With the Zohan? Didn't laugh. At all.

8:27 PM -- A second chance for Semi-Pro. Funnier. And, yeah, this spot may get more use -- as an ad for Bud Light.

9:06 PM -- And what do you know? The game wound up having more suspense, and a more jolting surprise finish, than most thrillers released in recent years. Congratulations, New York Giants.

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