Monday, February 06, 2006

super thoughts

- Is it me, or did most of the commercials last night look like they were done by a losing corporation in an Apprentice task? Take the Burger King "Whopperettes" commercial. It's a 60 second homage to 1930s Busby Berkeley musicals, with dancing girls dressed up as buns, beef patties and various condiments.

First of all, consider the audience. I'd like to think that we're not a nation of slackjaws, but did Burger King really expect to impress America with the concept and execution of this ad during the biggest football game of the year? "Wow, look at the costumes, and the attention to detail. This is really evocative of the 'Melody of Broadway' number from Gold Diggers of 1935, and- OH SHIT, RANDLE-EL JUST GOT FUCKING JACKED UP ON THAT KICKOFF RETURN!!! Anyway, as I was saying..."

Second, it's 60 seconds long, which for a Super Bowl commercial is an eternity without any overt irony, humor, people hitting/tackling each other and/or farting monkeys.

Third, their one feeble attempt at humor is to have the ingredients of the Whopper - i.e., the dancing girls - fling themselves on top of each other, each landing with an "oof" on top of their fellow foodstuffs as the burger gets built from the bun up.

The whole thing just smells like the vanilla product of ad agency groupthink. Like the products Apprentice losers tend to come up with, it feels like the result of an uninspired, out-of-touch creative team taking the path of least resistance when it comes to concept, then overcompensating in execution. It's as if one of them got the idea after seeing a Berkeley musical late on TCM one night, and the rest of the team went along with it because they couldn't come up with anything better. Then one guy added in the women hurling themselves on top of each other because, well, you have to have physical comedy - it's a Super Bowl ad, after all!

I appreciate the fact that Burger King was going for something big and well-done. I do. Most of the other commercials were just as disappointing, but they all likely fared better because they didn't try to obliterate our lowered Super Bowl ad expectations (see: monkeys, farting). In Burger King's defense, the production value was top-notch (it better have been at $5 million worth of airtime), and the lyrics and choreography do indeed communicate the brand message Burger King has been seeking to establish for quite some time - namely, that the Whopper and other B.K. products are comprised of quality ingredients, and that you can have them all "your way."

And the commercial actually involved the product in question, which is more than you can say for a lot of the more "clever" ads. Though I haven't stepped into a Burger King in at least three years, I must say they made that Whopper sound pretty damn appealing. And I think if this were a campaign that debuted normally at any other time of year (and the commercials were all 30 seconds), it would be pretty effective. It would certainly make me more likely to buy a Whopper than those creepy "The King" ads.

But you know what? Given the fact that it's the Super Bowl, and given the fact that they had 60 seconds during the first stoppage in play, it feels like Burger King should have done so much better. You can just hear the Donald and his underlings in the boardroom:

The Donald: You did a good job with the product, but I kept waiting for something to happen. You had 60 seconds, and it got boring. I didn't know what was going on. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong; what do you think, George?
George: Where were the farting monkeys? There were no farting monkeys. I've been in business for 60 years, and let me tell you: you need farting monkeys.

- Wow, that was a long thought. Anyhoo, congrats to the Steelers, and a word of advice to their fans: don't become Red Sox fans. Please. We all rooted with you for your guys because they're really likable and they're a great story. Don't make us sick of them.

- Was I the only person who thought that the Steelers would be told they need to face the Patriots in the "Real Super Bowl"?

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