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Super Bowl commercials generate a lot of foolish analysis, perhaps as much foolishness as contained in the advertisements. This year provided plenty of that in several varieties, reflecting the efforts of ad agencies to make the biggest impression in their greatest competitive event. However, none of it comes close to matching the idiocy of the analysis provided by the New York Times, whose ad analyst blamed the war in Iraq for making commercials more violent:
No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.
More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.
In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair.
There was also a bank robbery (E*Trade Financial), fierce battles among office workers trapped in a jungle (CareerBuilder), menacing hitchhikers (Bud Light again) and a clash between a monster and a superhero reminiscent of a horror movie (Garmin).
It was as if Madison Avenue were channeling Doc in “West Side Story,” the gentle owner of the candy store in the neighborhood that the two street gangs, the Jets and Sharks, fight over. “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” Doc asks plaintively. (Well, Doc, this time, there is.)
Oh, for Pete's sake. Did any of the commercials feature IEDs or suicide bombers? How does a face slap equate to the battle against religious fanatics in Baghdad? How do two hitchikers holding beer, an axe, and a chainsaw evoke the street-by-street battles in Anbar?
The answer is that they don't. Commercials have used cartoon violence or hints of it for years. Cartoons have used it for decades. Stuart Elliott uses a reference (West Side Story) that comes from over forty years ago, when the US wasn't involved in any war, to illustrate his point -- even though nothing we saw last night even approaches the warlike violence in the play and movie.
His stupidest -- and that's not too strong a term -- argument comes from the Prudential commercials, which asked "What can a rock do?" Prudential has been singing "Get a piece of the rock" for as long as I have been alive, and the obvious reference was to their longtime icon and not Baghdad. Anyone arguing a connection between "a rock" and "Iraq" reveals much more about their own biases and agendas than that of these innocent commercials.
Where does the Times find these writers? Do they just troll the crowds at International ANSWER rallies, or do they have to advertise to find such inanity? (via Hot Air)Sphere It View blog reactions
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