I am always vaguely shocked the morning after the Super Bowl when I read about what commercials others thought were the best. There tends to be this moment when I think to myself "What is wrong with those people? That wasn't funny at all." That thought is immediately followed by another one which is infinitely worse as I think to myself "Oh man, it's me. I'm wrong. I have no idea anymore about what's funny and what isn't, what works and what doesn't." That's not always the case, I loved the Terry Tate commercial instantly, and think just about everyone loved that the moment they saw it, but it just doesn't usually work out that way.
Look at last night. Okay, the VW "The Force" spot was awesome (and I think everyone out there pretty much had the same opinion on it), but it didn't impress me all that much after having seen the longer version on YouTube earlier in the week. Check it out, the longer one is far better.
Then there are the various movie spots. I know that summer blockbuster films are always heavily represented in Super Bowl ads, but I can't recall truly loving any of those commercials. Yes, they may get me excited to see a film (or, conversely, convince me that there's no way I would ever spend money on it), but I don't ever recall sitting back after watching one of the movie spots and thinking to myself that the commercial itself was brilliant. They're all just trailers, and some trailers are better made than others, but they're not the sort of clever thing I want from a Super Bowl commercial. If I had to have a top pick there though, I think it would be the one for Super 8.
You know what I did love though this year? I loved the Android getting thumbs in a back alley operation spot so he can play videogames on the new Sony Ericsson. Who wouldn't want opposable thumbs so that they can play games on their phone. Isn't that why we have thumbs?
Perhaps however my favorite commercial from last night is one I didn't see on any "best" lists. I'm sorry, call me ridiculous, but I just loved the Coke "Siege" ad. Watch it again and tell me that it's not funny.
I also liked the Doritos sniffer guy, but why when the cheese dust was on the other man's pants did he rip off the pants and go at them that way? Wouldn't it have been so much better if he just started licking the guy's pocket right then and there? That can't be too racy or risqué for the Super Bowl and for my money would have made a far better commercial.
Then there was the Timothy Hutton Groupon commercial. I can understand why people would find it hugely offensive, but I actually found it moderately funny. The opening, before the joke reveal, was too over the top to possibly be serious which may be why I wasn't taken aback when the pitch finally came.
There was a moment last night when I thought that the Chevy Facebook status thing was going to be my favorite commercial, but then I realized that they weren't joking, that you can actually check status updates from your car. All that commercial needed to win the day was some great tag about how clearly your friend's status from four hours ago is more important than the fact that there's a huge 18-wheeler who isn't going to be stopping at the red light and who will therefore be plowing into you because you're too busy hearing the computer voice say "LOL" to pay attention to the road to be the funniest commercial of the night.
Now that would have made for a great commercial.
Article first published as The 2011 Super Bowl Commercials - My Picks on Blogcritics.