Super Bowl Critique: Chuck McBride

By Chuck McBride, creative director of North America, TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco

When you anticipate something with high expectations, it always seems to let you down.

That was clearly what happened with this year’s Super Bowl ads. Maybe it’s because I had to write this. But I wanted to be blown away by something. And I wasn’t.

Yeah, there were funny animal beer and soda ads: donkey as Clydesdale, horse farts, bears. Monkey jokes seem to have made a comeback, though they shouldn’t. CBS seemed to have taken most of the valuable time slots and promoted itself. Which was a buzz kill. Especially since I waited for every break to thrill me.

I loved nothing. There was no great media-placement strategy. Nothing seemed to hold the air around you as some of the greats ads did in their day. The room didn’t fall silent. People weren’t hanging on every second of a commercial.

I did laugh at the AOL stuff, especially the time-machine one. The others got a little too stupid at the end, but the one with the guy coming back from the renaissance was laughable funny. And the NFL network did a nice job with their musical spot and their athletes.

“So much, so little,” [worldwide creative director of TBWA Worldwide] John Hunt said to me this morning after he had watched the spectacle stateside for the first time. Yes, John. Unfortunately, that’s the Super Bowl.