In a way, it now seems odd that there actually is going to be a Super Bowl here. We lost, and now we have to go through with it anyway? Why should we bother?
Because it's a tradition to complain about overhyped ads.
Even if you're not a football fan, you're supposed to watch the game in order to see the commercials because they say so much about our culture. The Super Bowl ad parade is like, well, the Super Bowl of advertising.
Here's what we can expect, based on previous years:
High-concept ad with minimal connection to the product.
Scene: Outer space. A female astronaut is on a spacewalk, fixing an antenna. She gives the thumbs-up to another astronaut. A flock of winged pigs flies past the station. Voiceover: "You never know what might happen when you least expect it. Immodium. Because it takes at least half an hour to get out of those suits."
Reaction: That's funny, but now I'm thinking I shouldn't eat more nachos. Thanks.
High-concept ad with no connection to the product.
Scene: The desert. A cowgirl on horseback appears out of the shimmering sun; a harmonica plays a mournful tune. She cracks a whip. From over the hill comes a herd of men dressed in suits. Vultures carry them away one by one. Camera shows the cowgirl transferring money on her phone app. A man in a suit falls from the sky in front of her horse. Voiceover: "Westhaven Investments knows that the traditional way of investing doesn't work for everyone."
Reaction: It was all fun and games watching football, but boy, now we're super-psyched about managing our nonexistent investments from a smartphone.
Humorous beer ad.
Scene: That bro-dude who's a medieval king comes out and says, "Dilly dilly."
Reaction: All the guys laugh but are secretly unsure whether "dilly dilly" is still funny.
Inspirational beer ad.
Scene: We see a team of Clydesdales trotting through a field of wheat — but one of the harnesses is empty. The scene shifts to a barn, where the horse is giving birth. The music swells: It's a bouncing baby boy eagle! The eagle flies off and alights on the spyglass of a Revolutionary War navy captain. Voiceover: "Beer. Since America was a thing."
Reaction: Everyone enlists.
Sleek car commercial.
Scene: Interior of a car, instruments glowing softly. Voiceover is from some actor we can't quite place who was in that show we can't quite remember: "It's not the journey. It's the trip. It's not the destination. It's where you're going. It's not about the view. It's the vision. The all-new Mercedes Contradicta."
Reaction: Shrugs of approval followed by utter boredom.
A heartwarming car commercial.
Scene: Dad is teaching his daughter to make a model airplane. Cut to a few years later; he's waving to her as she gets on a rocket to fly to the International Space Station. The rocket thunders skyward as Dad leans up against the side of the all-new Chevy Emotion. Up in the space station, Astrodaughter hangs a model airplane in the living quarters, looks out the window at Earth and smiles.
Reaction: Watch out for flying diarrhea pigs.
Another bleepin' car commercial.
Scene: It's the new Fordge Ram 150, and it's hauling a load of hay up the side of Denali. Voiceover: "Born hard. Forged stiff. Wide power. Adjective noun."
Reaction: Vague belief you would enjoy a life of throwing hay around.
Loud movie teaser.
Scene: A cascade of dramatic moments that give away key plot points and impressive visual special effects, interspersed with that low BROMMMM sound. People looking grim! BROMMMM Fighting! BROMMMM Stars exploding! BROMMMM Close-up on hero, who says, "It ends. Here." Crashing sound, silence, title card: "Charlotte's Web 2: Stuck on You." In select theaters March 1.
Reaction: "You guys seen the 'Avengers' trailer? It looks awesome."
You'll also see ads so dull and straightforward you wonder why they bothered, as well as ads for products so popular and ubiquitous that it seemed a waste of money. What you won't see: anything you'll remember beyond the next day.
firstname.lastname@example.org • 612-673-7858 • Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks