Super Bowl Ads Fall Short

Well how about that. We as an industry have the eyes of the world on us, we are invited into places we’re usually kicked out of, we actually become part of the conversation instead of its interruption, and we serve that up? Remember when people used to complain about the game sucking, but at least the ads were cool? Those were salad days, amigo.
So, in the spirit of the great change sweeping our nation, I hereby propose a treaty. A pact among agency creatives throughout this once proud industry.

An armistice in the battle being raged in American homes every Super Bowl. A peace accord in the war over garnering cheap laughs. Let us lay down our loveable chimps. Our crotch hits. Our disrobed women. I advocate a cease-fire between our talking babies and our computer-generated dancing reptiles. Can we not live without another Grim Reaper gag? Or another mawkish tale about a horse realizing his dream to pull a beer cart? Yes we can.

Let’s show the world that our writers have the potential to avoid the three-story fall/ski mishap/bus accident when selling a beverage or salty snack. Surely we can shelve our giant fake boobs, too, or at least make them incidental to the ad, rather than its point. And if we do try to pull off a much ballyhooed 3-D extravaganza, can we make sure it a.) has lots of shit flying at the viewer seeing as that’s all 3-D is good for, and b.) is better than the original trailer?
Yes, friends, we can. Let us all, writers and art directors alike, adopt an advertising New Deal whereby we swear off the same, tired, beaten, kicked, dragged-around-the-block-and-kicked-again clichés. We can do it. We can shed the shackles of mediocrity.

We ourselves have forged those chains out of farts and sack whacks and primates in human clothes, and by God, we can break them. If we don’t start anew, the unthinkable will happen. People will tune in on Super Bowl Sunday for a football game.

Paul Venables is founder and co-cd of Venables, Bell & Partners.