Sunday is the Superbowl and you know what that means: yep, folks are going to talk about the commercials like they just walked out of Cannes.
I know I’m less of a fan of television and its ilk than most people, but this is absolutely alien to me, that the same people who will bitch 364 days of the year about billboards, email ads in their inboxes, ads inserted into videogames, and so forth, will suddenly want to hand out advertising awards on the 365th day just because an expensive beer ad made them laugh for a moment.
The idea that people are planning on tuning in just for the ads utterly boggles my mind. That’s like wading into a swamp specifically for the leeches.
I mentioned this on Twitter and had this conversation:
me: Another Superbowl, another bunch of people talking about the damn commercials like they’re going to Cannes.
him: I think the annual Super Bowl commercials are literally the only broadcast television I care to see in a timely fashion.
me: I totally don’t get that.
him: I’m already too few hours in the day to catch a scheduled show on TV. I can’t justify the expense or the time sink.
me: That’s not the part I don’t get. It’s using the time you do have to watch commercials.
him: I figure an hour or so per year to try and grok the mainstream American consumer makes sense.
And he’s not alone. Someone on BoardGameGeek (which is where this guy is from so it may well be the same person) had this to say:
Commercials represent what businesses think about a consumer. The Super Bowl appeals to such a large group that its audience encompasses far more than just typical football fans. The audience of the Super Bowl is, well, all of America.
Now if you’re going to spend $3 million dollars on an ad, you want to reach a broad spectrum of people, and you really want to make sure you connect with them. So you research the heck out of it. You sell products by connecting with people.
By watching the ads, you get to see how companies are attempting to connect with people. You also get a pretty good sense of how people in America are generally feeling and what they’re thinking. Think of Super Bowl commercials as sort of a cultural thermometer for the nation’s temperature.
We’re going to see a lot of recession-based ads. Hyundai has already announced it is changing its planned Super Bowl ad so that it can air one for buyers concerned that they may lose their jobs. Miller High Life is planning to air a one second ad parodying the fact that its company is trying to cut back and save some cash during the current economic downturn.
If you don’t normally watch commercials (or even television for that matter) the Super Bowl may be a chance for you to learn something about society as a whole. And chances are, if you don’t watch the Super Bowl, that’s a lesson you need – you are clearly in the minority.
So apparently in addition to getting some world-class entertainment from these commercials, it’s also a social examination so that I can grok* What’s Really Going On in America? (A lesson I obviously need since I don’t watch the Superbowl.)
God DAMN, people. They’re ADS. For CARS and BEER and shit. If this is what you think defines “edutainment” then I don’t think it’s me that needs to “grok” anything.
How do you even respond to something like that?
* — Hated as much as “shiny”.