Super Bowl commercials: Slate staffers chat with readers about this year’s crop of ads.

Slate Staffers Chat With Readers About This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials

Slate Staffers Chat With Readers About This Year’s Super Bowl Commercials

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Feb. 6 2012 7:47 PM

Beckham’s Bod and Clint’s Politics

Slate staffers chat with readers about this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

(Continued from Page 1)

John Swansburg: I wondered about that. I was watching with adults, but kept thinking about how I wouldn't want to be watching with an eight-year-old. Even the naked M+M ad struck me as sort of PG-13. Also: I don't want my candy anthropomorphized. Or dancing nude.

Seth Stevenson: Yeah, I'm now forced to contemplate popping a nude, male being in my mouth when I eat an M&M.



John Swansburg: Resolved: Jerry Seinfeld should be ashamed of himself.

Seth Stevenson: Defend your Seinfeld resolution. Is his sin selling out (horse is out of the barn on that one)? Or being unfunny (I thought the ad had a few grin-worthy moments)?

John Swansburg: I have no problem with the selling out. It was the unfunniness. There was a funny moment in the extended version where Seinfeld has a great aside about owning all the characters from his show (Soup Nazi, e.g.). Otherwise I found all the come-ons painful. And the Leno kicker excruciating. Leno was in two too many ads last night. Though it's NBC, so maybe I should be glad it was only two.


Marilyn Tucker McCall: Beckham was gorgeous, loved the polar bears and Coke and Clint Eastwood—could listen to him read a grocery list!

Dan Kois: I was a big fan of the Will Ferrell Old Milwaukee ad, although I couldn't watch it because I don't live in North Platte, Nebraska. In the age of YouTube, should companies start microcasting more often?

John Swansburg: I totally think they should. So many of these ads were up on the web well before the game—I watched 85 percent of them on yesterday afternoon. Why not microcast, particularly if you have a Ferrell to goose your "viral lift"?

Seth Stevenson: The ROI on the Ferrell ads is almost certainly better than 3/4ths of the ads that aired during the game. Perhaps a combo platter is in order—5 second teaser in the first quarter which sends folks to a viralicious YouTube vid. Cost effective, long half-life.

John Swansburg: Related, I always like it at halftime when the local ads come on. In NYC, we were treated to a Tristate Ford Dealers ad in which Derek Jeter looked absolutely ridiculous bopping his head to music while driving a Ford Mustang. Slim consolation for us Bostonians, but it was something.

Thora Reynolds: Audi's Vampire Party was easily my favorite. I do not have a TV, so I watched the commercials on Hulu.

Seth Stevenson: Fascinating. Madison Avenue loves you—you skipped the content and watched the commercials! And likely paid much closer attention to them then you would during an advertising pod on TV.

John Swansburg: I was sad about the use of Echo and the Bunnymen, but also impressed by it. I wished the driver hadn't gotten zapped at the very end. Felt like one beat too many. But otherwise, I liked the ad, though I also agreed with Seth that headlights alone do not make me want to buy a luxury automobile.

Nora Merhar: My BF pointed out that that Echo and the Bunnymen song was used in The Lost Boys. It was kind of an 80's-tastic night.

Seth Stevenson: VERY '80s night. But that's the age group most likely to be in the market for a new mid-priced automobile these days. Makes sense to use Ferris Bueller to hawk a unibody crossover vehicle to Gen Xers.

Jeremy Repanich: ‎ I'd say the same of the heated steering wheel BMW was touting

John Swansburg: ‎ Totally. Also, as my wife pointed out, is the message you want to be sending that the only thing that gets warm in your car is the steering wheel?


Jeremy Repanich: What was the last truly great, memorable Super Bowl ad? It seems there wasn't one this year or even in the last few.

Seth Stevenson: I loved a Coke ad from a few years back in which giant Macy's day balloons fight over an inflatable bottle of Coke. Bart Simpson loses and (spoiler alert) Charlie Brown wins.

Mary Harriet Talbut: I think some of the disappointment comes from the availability of the commercials to be viewed before the game. Part of the fun is the surprise of the ad's story-line, which if previewed is lost.

Seth Stevenson: You raise a matter of great debate. Pre-releasing the ads probably gets them more views, builds buzz, etc., but it lessens their impact on game night. It's a trade-off. Advertisers in part justify the high cost of Super Bowl airtime by noting the water cooler effect, in which people discuss the ads for days before and after Super Bowl Sunday, creating much more engagement and attention than an advertisement usually gets.


Seth Stevenson: Something I didn't mention in my Slate story: Many fewer one-liner, stupid guffaw ads this year. The two that come to mind were both from Doritos, and were user generated. Perhaps ad agencies have ceded that ground, acknowledging that it doesn't take a trained ad creative to make a 30-second video that makes people chuckle.

John Swansburg: Re the one-liners/guffaws: I found myself feeling like the Doritos ads were more effective this year because they owned that territory. I don't particularly like those ads, but the Super Bowl would feel weird without them, so I was grateful to Doritos for slingshotting babies and homicidal dogs.

Shirley Ann Sabot Adams: Two ads that actually hinted of abuse was the Doritos slinging a baby back across a yard in a sling (there actually might be ppl who will try that) and the other where a dog apparently eats a cat....what the hell? All the ads with scantily clad women in sexual poses and Beckham in underwear spoke to me that "sex sells."


Nora Merhar: HATED the Skechers ad, BTW. On all levels, including the basic fact that French Bulldogs generally have terrible hips and, like most brachycephalic breeds, breathing problems.

John Swansburg: Better French bulldogs than Kardashians, but that's just me.

Seth Stevenson: Wait, they race Kardashians on a track? Where can I bet on this?