Last weekend, I watched the Superbowl not so much for the action on the field, or Madonna's geriatric acrobatics during the half-time show. I think the most anticipated part of the Superbowl for me was the commercials. This television event has taught consumers and advertisers alike a new way to approach commercials. In a world of Tivo and DV-R, the commercial is no longer an irritating necessity. Advertisers must earn the right to show us the value of their products, and the production quality of the Superbowl's sales pitches is a perfect example of ads that engage the home audience.
There were a few commercials in particular worth mentioning this year. Ads that told stories, had strong messages, and made the beer-swilling nation stop and think.
Volkswagen's dog commercial was a clever statement on the reinvention of the Beetle. Then the ad became a commercial-within-a-commercial and tied it back to last years memorable "Mini-Darth Vader" YouTube sensation. Great story, great cinematography, great commercial.
The much anticipated "Ferris Bueller" homage starring an older Matthew Broderick was a bit of a let down and sell-out moment as it recreated scenes from the 1986 film. I realize that it was a Honda commercial, but the CR-V references throughout cheapened the cult classic status of Ferris Bueller's Day Off and made the whole thing feel tainted.
The most intriguing advertisement that hit the airwaves last weekend was most certainly the Clint Eastwood driven public service announcement, courtesy of Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge.
Eastwood has long been a vocal critic of our current administrations policies, so his "It's half-time America" and it's implicit applause of the Motor City's bailout driven comeback has been criticized by the right wing politico's as a complacent back-stab to the conservatism for which he's so famous. Here is the scandalous PSA in all its gritty glory:
I love this commercial. Thank you, Mr. Eastwood, for showing the humility of a renaissance man by stepping away from your preconceived bipartisan ideals, understanding the value of compromise, and telling America to get over their petty differences for the betterment of our nation. It's not about beating one candidate or another. It's not about red or blue, left or right, conservative or liberal. It's about America.
This commercial is pure high-road politics at its finest. Eastwood doesn't point fingers. He doesn't complain about the erroneous behavior of his foils. He says that we stand at a crossroads, and have the potential to be great again. It's a bold call - one that I can only hope our country answers.
Amen, Clint. Amen.