Monday, January 26, 2004

Six days and counting. In six more days we will have finally reached the Promised Land. It’s not so much a land of milk and honey. It’s more like a land of Budweiser (ver.USA only), Pepsi, Visa and Yahoo. It’s the land of Super Bowl commercials.

I am fully aware that on February 1, 2004, there is also a little matter of a football game (Go Pats, I guess), not to mention the anxiously awaited premiere of All-Star-Survivor. But, first things first. I want the ads. I love the ads. Since I can’t watch the Super Bowl for the Lions (stop laughing), I watch it for the ads. This annual obsession is a little unusual for me, because during the year I will generally do anything not to watch a commercial. In fact, TinyTuna doesn’t get to watch much non-PBS television because I can’t stand the TV’s incessant “buy-me” yammering. Its effect is like a food chain. Passed from TV to TinyTuna, distilled and strengthened by school and friends, by the time the fevered pitch reaches me, I’m saying no before she’s even started.

Aside from a few inexplicable exceptions that I love (Arby’s Oven Mitt, anyone?), commercials drive me nuts. Between physical maladies, feminine freshness and movies that I wouldn’t watch even if they were free, as soon as a commercial appears, my remote cries SURF!! And I do. Take back your chocolate frosted bombs, your plastic soldier bombs and your electronic arcade bombs. I do not like them, Sam-I-Am. I do not like commericial Spam.

Super Bowl ads are different. Super Bowl ads are clever. Super Bowl ads are thought provoking. Super Bowl ads are funny. Super Bowl ads are cinematic marvels. Some Super Bowl ads are so arty, we don't get them. But we love them anyway. I’m perfectly happy to contemplate corporate confusion as long as I'm comforted by snack foods. I must admit, though, that to this day, I still don't know what mLife is. It's been two years, and I still don't get it. If there is going to be a 2004 Super Bowl ad campaign for mLife, I'd suggest some clarification and another bag of chips.

I’ve been skipping down the memory lane of 2002 and 2003 Super Bowl commercials. There are too many great ads to list, but I have to give special props to Reebok’s 2003 “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker” ad, which still makes me laugh like an idiot (Break was over 15 minutes ago, MITCH!), and Bud Light’s 2002 “Robo Bash” ad, which pits the five-time world champion bot “Inflictor” against the old beat up challenger “mini fridge”.

This year there is an ad you won’t be seeing, and yes, it is political. The network claims the ad is “too controversial to air.” This particular commercial doesn’t endorse a particular candidate. Instead, it shines a light on the current economic state of our country and asks its citizens to think about how, and perhaps more pointedly who will end up carrying our economic burden. How is this controversial? I’d like to hear the network explain their rationalization for making me watch acid reflux cartoons, Bob Dole and his erectile dysfunction, and flowery classical guitar-infused ads for springtime fresh douching agents, while refusing me the opportunity to see one thirty-second spot that asks if it wouldn't be a good idea to spend just a moment thinking about the economic hole we as a country are digging for ourselves. Unlike the current commercial with the woman who finds a creative way to repair a hole in a boat, there isn't a tampon big enough to plug this one up.

Thought provoking doesn’t mean controversial. This ad, like all the finalists from this competition isn’t controversial. Some are tough. Some are smart. Some are funny. Some make you think.

Perfect for the Super Bowl.
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