MC Hammer, Ellen and Portia top quality list for Super Bowl LIV Ads

AdWeek has handily rounded up all the “Big Game” ads ahead of the 54th Super Bowl on Sunday, and I selected the Cheetos popcorn ad featuring MC Hammer and the Amazon Alexa ad featuring Ellen and Portia DeGeneres as my favorites when it comes to one factor. Quality.

*Featured photo is from the US Library of Congress. It was taken between 1920-1930. It is from the National Photo Company Collection.
*Featured photo is from the US Library of Congress. It was taken between 1920-1930. It is from the National Photo Company Collection.

There are other ads I liked for different reasons, and there are also ads I viewed negatively for one reason or another. I learned a few things too.

For instance, do you know there’s a name for that orange dust that sticks to your fingers when you eat Cheetos? Do you know how many ads will air during the game? How much 30 seconds of air time would cost you during the game?

orange football Clemson TigersThe Cheetos Popcorn commercial featuring MC Hammer is my top favorite. For one thing I love the song “You Can’t Touch This”—it’s a motif in the commercial. The ad is funny, and it evokes a time when rap wasn’t, as country and pop are these days, glutted with brands that are all brand and no substance. MC Hammer is a legend for good reason—talent.  The commercial also riffs on something anyone who’s ever eaten a Cheeto experiences—that orange dust on your hands and maybe your lips too. There’s a name for it.

Cheetle.

Jim Thorpe Native American Athlete Olympic gold, football player
Football legend Jim Thorpe, the first Native American to win gold for the US in the Olympics, once headed the organization that became the NFL. To learn more about Thorpe, visit www.cmgww.com/sports/thorpe/. [Image from US Library of Congress; Harris & Ewing circa 1910]
Coming very close to the Cheetos popcorn ad is the Amazon Alexa ad with Ellen and Portia DeGeneres. I confess I have a love-hate relationship with Amazon in general. I am addicted to the company’s excellent service, products, and delivery ability. I will not, however, ever have an Alexa or similar device in my home. The commercial works like a charm and in the beginning, as Ellen waits on Portia to finish getting ready for whatever they’re going to,  I immediately identified because my husband is always ready before I am. There’s a moment in this ad that’s truly hilarious, comparing Alexa of today turning the thermostat down and Alexa of yesteryear doing the same.  It helps that I’ve always enjoyed Ellen, and I admire her style and grace. I also love to watch her dance. So I do have a bit of a bias in selecting that commercial.

Close on the heels of both those spots are commercials for Doritos and Budweiser. The Doritos ad features actor Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X engaged in a duel of sorts, and it is comical.

The Budweiser commercial is one of those “woke” type messages based on the concept of being a “typical American.” It works and the goal is commendable, but it came off as just trying a little bit too hard to me.

One of the most entertaining ads comes from Hyundai. It features the extremely visually pleasing John Krasinski who plays Jack Ryan in the Amazon Prime series. Krasinski and the other actors capably pull off a Boston accent and bring a smile as they tout the advantage of the new Sonata that can park itself.

One of the most inspiring ads features Josh Jacobs, running back for the Las Vegas Raiders. Jacobs is talking to his younger self, and it’s very touching. I think it will inspire young people. The ad is for Kia.

I conferred a brickbat on the Porsche ad. The primary theme in the ad is speed, and I don’t think that needs to be encouraged. The National Highway Transportation Safety Board said in 2018 speeding killed 9,378 people. Porsche has the right to distribute any messaging they choose, so it’s their call, but I didn’t think the ad very effective otherwise.

Gentler brickbats go to Reese’s and Snickers. I think both companies can do better than those ads.

Also note I chose not to focus on “woke” ads. I’ve never liked mixing politics with the market because that has opened such dangerous doors in other countries and our own in the past. So I’ll leave it to you to check all the Super Bowl ads featured on Adweek if you’re so inclined.

Super Bowl means very big money for media and for the NFL. I noticed on the NFL website that a ticket for this Sunday’s game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami includes the “all inclusive pregame party” and goes for $4,547.50.

Adweek said there will be “somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 total commercials.” The ads you see on the page linked above may not be aired in full on Sunday—“understandable, with ad time going for as much as $5.6 million for 30 seconds.”

There was one political ad on the Adweek site. I chose not to comment on it because to me, Super Bowl isn’t about politics. It’s about sports. And for the kind of money the networks and the teams and the NFL make off this event, I’d just as soon they say thanks and please leave the “woke” stuff to the politicians and the Cable networks.

I’ll be in the chair on Sunday to watch the game. I’m pulling for the Chiefs.

(Kay B. Day/Jan. 30, 2020)

Derelict by Rebecca Day
Image of ‘Derelict’ book cover courtesy of author.

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