Live-Blogging Super Bowl XLV - Commercials, football and more
The Game: Super Bowl XLV.
The Beer: Blue Moon, for some reason.
The Dip: French Onion.
The Rooting Bias: Go Packers, though I'm not gonna get worked up about it.
The Commercial-driven Live-Blog: After the break...
3:16 p.m. PST. I've got my tortilla chips, my dip and my first beer all ready for some Super Bowl action. The good (read: expensive) ads don't start until after kickoff, but it's time to let the excitement build...
3:25 p.m. I'm not convinced Christina Aguilera knows the lyrics to the "Star Spangled Banner," but she's definitely been Trimspa-ing it.
3:26 p.m. I wonder what the ration of "Glee" commercials to "Chicago Code" commercials is gonna be. [Nice FOX omnibus ad featuring Walter Bishop catching a football.
3:30 p.m. The game's first flag is called on Marshall Faulk for that green tie. I know he's a Hall of Famer, but that honor is not for snappy dressing. Green Bay wins the toss and defers, as you do...
3:33 p.m. Early ratings prediction: FOX is going to win Sunday night in most key measures. [Animal Planet may have a slim advantage among puppy fans.]
3:38 p.m. The Steelers go four-and-out, well aware that football is merely an impediment standing in the way of very, very expensive advertising time. But wait. We go straight into the Packers possession? What the heck. SELL PRODUCTS.
3:43 p.m. The Packers tease, but end up punting themselves... Now... COMMERCIALS!!!!
3:43 p.m. The first ad is for... Bud Light. It's a parody of home-living shows. It's not funny. The point is that your house will sell if you put out a bucket of Bud Light. Or maybe the point is that you don't need to renovate your home if you have plenty of Bud Light?
3:44 p.m. A man mocks his pug in the night's first Doritos commercial. The lesson is very simple: Do not taunt your pug with corn chips. They'll mess you up. I'm OK with animal-based commercials, so anything with a pug running in slo-mo will at least get my tentative seal of approval. [A commenter correctly points out that the dude isn't teasing *his* pug. He's teasing his girlfriend's pug. Because in Super Bowl ads, every guy is stuck with a pain-in-the-ass girlfriend, or a girlfriend who needs to be tortured.]
3:44 p.m. I'm already confused by this commercial for Audi, which involves prisoners "escaping the confines of old luxury." The ad is saved by the presence of Kenny G at the end. Maybe if I were richer, I'd understand this commercial a little more. Or maybe if we didn't live in an era of upper echelon economic malfeasance and I weren't somehow uncomfortable with Audi advocating breaking Enron executives out of prison.
3:49 p.m. That was only a very brief intermission for football.
3:50 p.m. More Doritos. In this one, a clingy office mate licks his coworker's fingers to get the last of the orange cheese powder. He also depants a colleague after he wipes his cheesy fingers on his pants. I'm disappointed they didn't go with a boss wiping cheese on his rear and the coworker coming to lick his butt. Wait. "Disappointed" is the wrong word.
3:51 p.m. Old people can't hear. It's for the Chevy Cruz and the gimmick is that old people can't hear that it gets 42 MPH. If one of those old people is not Betty White, that's not an ad that's going to sell me anything. Now if it were the cast of "Hot in Cleveland" struggling to understand the commercial? That might be funny.
3:51 p.m. A dude's girlfriend won't let him eat what he wants or check out sexy joggers, but she will let him drink Pepsi Max. Then she pelts the sexy jogger with a full can of soda and they run off. The lesson: Madison Avenue takes a very stereotypical view of African-American couples.
3:56 p.m. A swashbuckling movie falls victim to product placement in order to get free stuff. The director decides what he really wants is Bud Light, so Bud Light makes many appearances in his movie.
3:56 p.m. In lieu of Lassie, a man's Chevy comes to let him know all of the unfortunate things happening with poor Timmy.
3:57 p.m. Our first movie trailer is for "5 Fast 5 Furious." The movie appears to star The Rock's goatee. And some cars.
3:57 p.m. There's our first "Chicago Code" in-game spot.
4:00 p.m. The Packers are on the board with the game's first touchdown.
4:01 p.m. A group of preps taunt a nerd with a beverage, but comes flying into his hands. He's empowered and uses the Power of Pepsi Max to hit the preps in the nads with cans of soda. Pepsi Max: It's good for drinking and also for braining hot joggers and emasculating preppy douches!
4:02 p.m. Wow. Doritos will bring your dead grandfather back to life. That's seriously the only thing I got out of that commercial.
4:03 p.m. Dull car commercial leads into a spot for "Fringe." Very nice of FOX to give advertising to a show averaging 2-ish million viewers on Friday night. The network really wants "Fringe" to succeed. Why don't viewers, darnit?
4:04 p.m. The trailer for "Cowboys vs. Aliens" emphasizes excitement and just how old Harrison Ford is. Harrison Ford's age is not going to get me to a summer action movie. Nor will Daniel Craig's ears. That's why this ad needs more aliens and more Olivia Wilde.
4:05 p.m. The reason why people distrust police officers is because when they pull you over for a routine traffic stop, they'll steal your Kia Optima. Of course, you know who else wants your Kia Optima? Helicopter-flying drug kingpins, yacht-riding playboys, bad CGI sea gods, aliens and ancient Mayans.
4:07 p.m. Interception Packers, taken back to da House! The Packers are determined to get in as many commercials as possible!
4:08 p.m. A claymation Eminem likes Brisk. It's a fun, stylistically interesting rebirth of the "vintage" (two or three year old) claymation Brisk ads. Nothing in the text of the commercial is all that funny, but it looks fresh. The spirit of the ad appears to be: Eminem's an ass and he normally prefers not to advertise for things, but sometimes Eminem likes money. But even if he likes your product, he'll still make unreasonable demands after the fact. I find this very plausible.
4:16 p.m. An office worker takes extreme steps to prevent his overlords from reading an e-mail he hit "reply all" on. Bridgestone helps him.
4:16 p.m. Chevy Volt is historic. Meh.
4:17 p.m. Who will the new GoDaddy.co girl be? Jillian Michaels and Danica Patrick really want to tease us. Who will it be? It's Joan Rivers. Ick. I have absolutely no desire to see what happens next. Also, how could GoDaddy possibly not have evolved past Danica Patrick yet? I understand why *she* hasn't moved on. She's a mediocre driver who doesn't win races. But for GoDaddy, what is she providing?
4:18 p.m. iPhone. Now on Verizon. Meh. I'm excited, I guess. But I expect more pizzazz out of Apple and I expect better audio from a commercial that's supposed to appeal to people sick of shoddy AT&T service.
4:22 p.m. That was a lengthy time-of-possession for the Steelers for only three-points. But points are points.
4:23 p.m. A man rides into an Old West Town. Can the stage coach get into town in time to stop him? Oh, who cares? It's Peter Stormare! Nice cameo. He appears to want a Bud and after getting his beer, he goes from menacing to friendly, leading the bar in a chorus of "Tiny Dancer."
4:24 p.m. Faith Hill is called over to assist a technician write a card to his girlfriend. She tells him to trust his heart, so he writes, "Dear Kim, your wrack is unreal." That's got something to do with Teleflora. I chuckled, I guess. The message: Screw what's in your heart. Send flowers.
4:25 p.m. You really couldn't pay me to see "Transformers 3," but as Super Bowl commercials go, that ad delivered all of the effects, explosions and scared-looking Shia as one could possibly hope for.
4:26 p.m. BMW is apparently now an American car.
4:27 p.m. A nice take-off on the classic Apple 1984 ad set in a chilly dystopian society very sweetly makes the case that an iPad will allow you to collect to other people. Oh wait. The commercial's actually for the Motorola Zoom. This is actually the first commercial of the night that I've hit rewind to watch again. OK. All of the drones are plugged into their earbuds. They're all Apple people, then? I'm not sure I know what the Zoom can do that an iPod can't do, but I guess that's a shot across the bow?
4:28 p.m. BMW is apparently now good for the environment.
4:31 p.m. Some nice effects in this "Lord of the Rings"/World of Warcraft"-ish Coca-Cola commercial.
4:32 p.m. The "Thor" trailer accentuates action over "This is a silly premise." Good call.
4:32 p.m. Simply Put: The VW/Darth Vader commercial, directed by Lance Acord, is perhaps the best Super Bowl commercial of the past decade. It's beautifully directed and tells an almost Pixar-esque story of realizing your dreams, even if those dreams are to use the force and conquer the galaxy.
4:39 p.m. Richard Lewis is working as a lumberjack. Oh. It's a Snickers commercial, like last year's Betty White spot. He's not actually Richard Lewis. He's some guy named Tony who gets whiny when he has low blood sugar. When he gets his Snickers? Lumberjack again! Magic. As secondary punchlines go, though, Roseanne Barr is no Abe Vigoda.
4:40 p.m. I love monkeys. Therefore, the CareerBuilder.com ad convincingly makes the point that if your co-workers are monkeys who like to park too close to you, you probably need a new job. Meanwhile? MONKEYS IN SUITS!
4:40 p.m. That "Super 8" trailer seems to be emphasizing the "Steven Spielberg" aspect of things over the J.J. Abrams side. But I'm OK with that. The first teaser seemed to be making the movie look "Cloverfield"-y. This one is going much more strongly for a "Close Encounters" vibe. Mostly, I'm happy to see Coach Taylor in the movies.
4:45 p.m. The rout is on! 21-3 Packers. Good thing we only watch for the commercials...
4:49 p.m. Chevy is pushing hard with this game. Chevy Cruz offers you real-time Facebook updates. Really? This is something I want in my car?
4:50 p.m. "Captain America," yo! A solid tease for the summer action movie. Fans of Chris Evans will be satisfied by the toplessness. Fans of Stanley Tucci doing funny accents will be pleased. Fans of Hayley Atwell (me) will be pleased. And geeks will have already made screenshots of that footage of Hugo Weaving removing his mask to reveal his Red Skull face will also be pleased. That's ticking a lot of boxes. [I was on the "Captain America" set in London last fall and can assure you that the Red Skull makeup is awesome.]
4:50 p.m. An amusing loop of "kid in a candy store" analogies have something to do with CarMax. I'll have to rewatch that one to see if there are nuances I missed.
4:57 p.m. Touchdown Steelers. I actually *like* the Steelers, but nothing makes me less happy than things that make Big Ben happy.
4:59 p.m. It's Half-Time! That means I'm going to go eat some Pizza Egg-Rolls and I'll let HitFix's Melinda Newman handle half-time musical duties...
5:02 p.m. Wait. That robot/thumbs Android commercial was freaky... But now I'm really getting food.
5:27 p.m. Hmmm... Well *that* was a halftime show. Hopefully my ears will stop bleeding in time for the second half kickoff.
5:35 p.m. That was a huge stop for the Steelers. There has been a fairly massive momentum shift in this game.
5:36 p.m. It's a commercial for testing, for Cars.com.
5:37 p.m. Oh. The ETrade baby is a racist also? How cute. Have I ever mentioned that I hate the ETrade Baby?
5:37 p.m. I don't see what Ozzy Osbourne added to that commercial, but the combination of Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber is gold. But "gold" for who? I didn't retain what the darned commercial was for.
5:37 p.m. More advertising for "The Chicago Code," which needs the boost, and "American Idol," which does not.
5:42 p.m. Sigh. And now it's a four-point game. That was a fast drive and the Packers were utterly defenseless.
5:43 p.m. Here's the last of the big movie trailers, this one for "Pirates of the Caribbean 4," a trailer that really wants you to ignore the absence of Keira Knightley. Like "Transformers 3," "Pirates 4" is a movie that I'm not going to see without a lot of coercing. Unlike the "Transformers 3" trailer, which at least provided some visceral thrills, I got absolutely nothing out of that "Pirates 4" teaser, other than the sensation that I've watched Johnny Depp do the same thing too many times.
5:43 p.m. "Cram it in the boot." See, it sounds dirty, but it isn't. Because it's about how much room there in a Mini-Cooper's trunk.
5:44 p.m. I don't know what HomeAway.com. You don't know what HomeAway.com is. But now you know what a "test baby" is and you're disturbed by the concept.
5:48 p.m. Swirly kaleidoscopic commercial for Hyundai makes me physically ill. Probably not their goal.
5:49 p.m. Timothy Hutton advertising for Groupon, the second Oscar winner we've seen shilling for Groupon during this game. Somehow I feel worse for Cuba Gooding Jr. Hutton at least has "Leverage." Plus, Hutton's ad aired during the game, which Cuba got stuck during the pre-game. Poor Cuba Gooding Jr.
5:50 p.m. Two soldiers guard a remote border, but reach an accord over a Coke, which is placed in neutral zone. I like that commercial. It's simple, but it was nicely shot well played. It did not, however, feature people getting hit in the nads with a can, so don't expect it to get much buzz.
5:53 p.m. Adrien Brody singing cabaret at an underground club. How strange. At least it's also nicely shot. And it's for Stella Artois, which is classier than Groupon. Still, apparently being an Oscar winner doesn't mean what it used to.
5:54 p.m. CarMax somehow zips a guy back to the '50s, where he's shocked to discover that customer service used to be common practice. Wait'll he gets a load of segregation! And the Under the Sea dance!
5:54 p.m. "The X Factor" commercial? Interesting... The timing is off. The commercial treats Simon Cowell as a White Knight, as a conquering warrior. This would be more meaningful if "American Idol" were tanking and America was clearly missing Simon Cowell. Instead, ratings for "Idol" are basically identical in Simon's absence. FOX has to be worried that this is proving that nobody actually needs Simon Cowell back.
6:00 p.m. Heh. That was a weak-ass attempt at a 52-yard-field goal.
6:00 p.m. Hmmm... This commercial for Detroit and Chrysler was pretty evocative. Interesting. Well produced, a bit powerful and totally made a lie of that "Eminem Doesn't Like Doing Commercials" Brisk spot from earlier. But I bought that. Totally. Resilience. The rest of America doesn't get us. Only Eminem doesn't understand. Yay, America. Sure. I can get behind that. Kudos to Eminem for making me both thirsty and patriotic this Super Bowl.
6:09 p.m. This has suddenly become a defensive war!
6:10 p.m. Hmmm... Did we use too many commercials in the first half?
6:24 p.m. So are we done with the good commercials? That NFL Films/clips commercial was cute, but it wasn't notable, nor were the two that followed.
6:25 p.m. Huge turnover for the Packers, but if they don't convert, it doesn't amount to much.
6:31 p.m. Touchdown, Packers!
6:31 p.m. I really can't tell on "Rango." It could be awesome. It could be... weird. As Johnny Depp projects go, it looks far more interesting to me than "Pirates 4."
6:32 p.m. That commercial for Cars.com is REALLY sexist.
6:33 p.m. Heh. Dogs. Playing poker, bartending and other random things. It has something to do with Bud Light.
6:34 p.m. Vaguely amusing commercial for Hyundai with the hook, "What if we always settled for the first thing that came along."
6:35 p.m. I'm HATING these Pepsi Max commercials. At least that one didn't feature a can of Pepsi Max getting whipped at anybody in a sensitive position.
6:35 p.m. That ad for "Rio" was not amusing. But it was, indeed, colorful. I'm not sure why they haven't just called it "Happy Feathers."
6:44 p.m. Is this an old commercial with the helpful beaver? Regardless, it's a solid Bridgestone commercial, their second good one of the game. I like the beaver and the driver doing the "Respect" salute at the end.
6:45 p.m. I'm tired of GoDaddy.
6:45 p.m. Good use of "Black Betty" in that VW Beetle ad. See, it featured beetles *in* the ad?
6:46 p.m. Honestly? I've now reached the point where I'm burnt out on the commercials and I'd much rather be watching the excellent football game.
6:47 p.m. And yet I can't resist the combination of Janis Joplin, P.Diddy and lots of Mercedes-Benzae. Very good for a late-game commercial.
6:48 p.m. "House" ad paying tribute to the classic Mean Joe Green Coke commercial? Not bad either. If I didn't find "House" so darned annoying these days, I'm sure I'd be responding to it even more enthusiastically. Ditto if that Mean Joe Green ad hadn't been parodied to death...
6:55 p.m. We're on a pretty good string of top-notch Super Bowl games these past few years, aren't we? This game is intense...
6:56 p.m. Six-point game... Two minutes left. WHEE!
6:56 p.m. Oooh. Meta. A Camaro commercial with people strategizing the perfect Camaro commercial.
6:57 p.m. REPEAT. Darnit. Another Verizon/iPhone commercial. The audio was correct this time. I wonder if this was a freebie.
6:59 p.m. ICK. "Glee"/Chevy advertisement. Double-advertisement.
7:01 p.m. Is anybody else impressed that Kim Kardashian's butt is doing well enough to purchase advertising time during the Super Bowl?
7:01 p.m. The first public "Terra Nova" ad is basically what FOX showed critics at press tour last month, only with one big difference... DINOSAUR! Roar.
7:04 p.m. HUGE 4th down stop for the Packers!
7:06 p.m. The Packers are your Super Bowl Champions!
And, with that, I'm done with this live-blog. Sound off... Which were your favorites? Which commercials did you hate?