I’m not sure what transgression I have committed to inspire such bad Super Bowl ad karma. Maybe it was all those years of prohibited rebroadcasting or retransmission of accounts of NFL games, without the express written consent of the National Football League, but my assignment was the 4th quarter and this year there wasn’t much to pick from.
Let’s recap: Not one, but two really creepy Denny’s chicken ads, another talking baby ad for E-Trade (a cringe-inducing pet peeve of mine) and an Audi ad that butchered one of the anthems of my youth, Cheap Trick’s Dream Police. But all of that pales in comparison to the Taco Bell ad featuring the “Round Mound of Rebound,” Charles Barkley rapping the virtues of a $5 box of tacos. Sadly for Chuck, it was less Dr. Dre and more Dr. Seuss. I have a feeling Charles just lost some serious street cred with this spot.
There were two bright spots in the quarter for me: the Vizio spot and the funniest Bud Light ad of the night, “Book Club.” It wasn’t so much that I loved the Vizio ad, but seeing Beyonce manhandled by a robot is always good. And when I saw the same robot drop a zombie into a pit with her, I thought to myself, “If this zombie bites Beyonce, I don’t care what they are selling…I’m in.” And the Bud light ad was one of the few to actually make me chuckle all night. “I’d like to hear you read some words.” Indeed.
While marketers and brands everywhere are wondering how to connect with customers and clients during a pandemic, one thing is abundantly clear: people are watching