The Obligatory Super Hole XV

by Feb 7, 2021

While sadness reigns supreme, if briefly, here at the AdHole as my hometown Chiefs self-immolated in Super Bowl LV, I am nonetheless here for you, my sixteen faithful readers, to give you my top five spots of the night.

Truth be told, it was a decent night for advertising. I don’t suspect any of the ads will enter the Super Bowl Ad Hall of Fame (located in a Butler building outside of Canton, Ohio), but we did get some good spots. Most of which were humorous.

We also had way, way, way too many Pointless Montage Spots that attempted to be uplifting, but were not. Unless lifting my buttocks off the sofa and towards the lavatory counts as uplifting. Hint: It does not.

Also, if you want to talk about “unity,” consider not using a politically active entertainer as the centerpiece of your spot. No offense to The Boss, but I didn’t buy a single, eloquent word he said. I also liked the ad better the first time I saw it when it was for Ram Trucks and the voice over was Paul Harvey.

Now then. On to the fifteenth annual Super Hole.

If you prefer to watch me wane poetic about the following spots, just view today’s The Daily Beard which I’ve graciously embedded below:

As always, my top five spots were shown during the actual game itself, so no pre- or post-game ads. Local/regional ads, TV show promos, and movie trailers are likewise excluded. That’s right, excluded. I judge ads by whether they have good strategy, a good idea, and a good execution of said idea. Usually if they don’t have the first one, they have little hope of the last two.—
No. 5: M&M’s, “Come Together” – Dan Levy is a second-generation comedy genius, but he actually detracts from this spot. Not his fault. It’s just that his presence pulls you out of the vignettes (I suppose in this case, ignorance really would have been bliss, or at lease funnier). Regardless, still a funny spot that plays off recent cultural moments without being too heavy-handed or elbow-to-the-ribs. I’m sure it’ll get short shrift for appearing so early in the game. I somehow think the company will survive.

No. 4: Paramount+, “Sweet Victory” – Technically, this non-award is for the entire Paramount+ campaign, but I’m only linking to the final spot. Let’s be honest, something like this – a streaming service with a lot of, you know, content – would be ripe for a montage showing said, you know, content. Pshaw, said everyone involved. And that’s how you end up with a delirious Sir Patrick Stewart inviting everyone to dance in a tiny dome with Sponge Bob. On-point writing that played to the character’s strengths, and great editing that kept the timing just right. FYI, CBS blocked my The Daily Beard video for including this ad. Because you wouldn’t want more people to see you ad. That would be weird.

No. 3: General Motors, “No Way Norway” – Sure, it’s Will Ferrell being Will Ferrell, but I’m a sucker for that. Sue me. And let’s be honest, did you really want to watch another sanctimonious spot about how electric cars will usher a glistening utopia that doesn’t in any way resemble “The Hunger Games” wink wink? I thought not.

No. 2: Toyota, “Jessica Long’s Story (Upstream)” – This spot could’ve been at the top if it had tied to Toyota in a more meaningful way. I get that it was ostensibly about their sponsorship of the Paralympics, but still. Nonetheless, the storytelling and production elevated it well beyond the iffy strategy. Most teams given this assignment would have created a typical underdog spot that held off revealing Jessica’s amputated legs until the Big Reveal. Not here. Here we see from the outset – with both a super and a visual of Jessica herself – that she is a Paralympian. From there, it’s just great structuring, pacing, set design, and – what was that? – writing.

No. 1: Tide, “The Jason Alexander Hoodie” – I’m sure this will be a contentious choice but, as you may suspect, I don’t care if you’re wrong. It’s funny even if you don’t know who Jason Alexander is. It’s even funnier if you do. And it’s even even funnierer if you get the “Greatest American Hero” theme song reference. Which I do. It even survives a pointless stinger virtually unscathed. I do wish they’d made a reference to Pretzel Boy, but, like back-to-back Super Bowl victories, we can’t everything, can we?