Superbowl LII Commercials: The Good, the Bad, the Just Plain Weird

        Alexa Loses Her Voice:

       This commercial is what a Hollywood executive would call high-concept in that you can pitch the idea literally just using the four words of the ad’s name. The ad begins humorously enough with Amazon’s Alexa coughing. The scene shifts to some poor bloke asking Alexa how to make a grilled cheese sandwich and being insulted by “Alexa” – who turns out to be celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. So far, so good. But by the end, the ad is insinuating that a sinister Anthony Hopkins has turned some guy named Brandon into a peacock who is shown eating out of his hand. As my friend Chiara would say: “you’ve done me a discomfort.”  As an aside, for those who find delight in imagining chef Ramsay insulting their food dishes, End-Gadget reports that there’s a new Alexa skill (plug-in) available that randomizes Ramsay responses to your food-related queries.

      Ram Trucks / MLK Commercial: Tasteless or Diabolically Clever?

      In the first two seconds, when the name Martin Luther King Jr. appeared in white on the black screen, I was already grimacing. Surely they aren’t going to culturally appropriate MLK in an attempt to sell trucks? But yes, yes they were. It feels like the kind of idea generated by the white guys on Dre’s marketing team in ABC’s hit show Blackish. Actually though, this might not have been a blunder. The outraged internet was quick to inform everyone that in this same speech, MLK was critical of…modern advertising. So, at best we have well-intentioned idiocy, but at worst, it looks like an ironic, self-aware attempt to cash in on the “all press is good press” playcard while smirking all the while.

      Miscellaneous Ads, An Anthology

      New Stars Wars Trailer! New Avengers Trailer! New Westworld Trailer!

      Doritos and Mt. Dew: (Game of Thrones actor, Fire and Ice themed, Get it? Get it?!)

      Touchdowns To Come: Why is The NFL Advertising Itself During The Superbowl?!

      Tide Ad (The One With The Shirtless Black Guy on a Horse):

      This ad might constitute “objectification of men,” but really, who’s complaining?

      The Other Tide Ad:

      The “is this a Tide ad’ bit parodied pretty much every other Superbowl ad while causing the audience to think of many situations where cleaning products are necessary. In terms of sheer cleverness, I would say this was the best of the bunch. It was also fun to see David Harbour, a star in Netflix’s Stranger Things, in this commercial.

      Rocket Mortgage: Too Real

       Remember when you were an infant and had to learn how to communicate beyond just tears and lung-straining vocalizations? Me neither. But, as it turns out, becoming an adult also entails its fair share of language-acquisition, and it can be super jargony. I barely know what “mortgage” means, which is probably okay because as a millennial college student, I’ll be renting forever as I pay off student loans. But if I did want to understand the lingo around home ownership – whether ARM or PRM or ABCDEFG (I made that last one up) – I’d want Key (of Key and Peele) fame to explain it to me. Of course, as this commercial shows, even Key is not quite up to that challenge. But Key does know of an app that can help. This ad was funny yes, but also extremely real and incredibly close.

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