Thursday, February 4, 2010

2010 Super Bored Awards Preview

The Super Bowl is more than just the NFL championship. It's the one time of year where people get together and pretend, for a few hours at least, that they don't hate advertising. And for deep-pocketed advertisers, it's a great chance to waste a reported $2.5 to $2.8 million dollars on a commercial -- that's as much as $93,000 a second. Giddy-up!

In keeping with tradition, we present to you our preview of our Super Bored Awards (to be posted sometime early next week), where we recognize the worst (and the slightly less horrible) commercials set to air during Sunday's Super Bowl. And since it would be ridiculous to view these commercials as marketing per se, and in the absence of actual data, we'll review them for what they are: half-a-minute long, branded mini movies that marketing narcissists create to feel a little bit better about themselves. Here are the categories and the projected winners (thanks to AdAge for posting this great list of Super Bowl ad buys):

Apple 1984 Memorial Award for Least Shitty Ad

Explanation: The day we say a three million dollar, thirty second video deserves to be voted "Best Ad" is the day we shut down this blog. That's why we prefer "Least Shitty."

Prediction: A few possibilities: Coca-Cola is doing something with The Simpsons. That might actually be funny. Universal Studios will be advertising its new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park land, and that might be interesting (but maybe that's just my interest in theme parks.) Also, CareerBuilder, last year's winner of Worst Ad here on the site, is doing a user-submitted commercial contest, where you can vote on your favorite of three ads. This is different from Doritos' contest, because winners were selected based on their scripts, and then the ads were produced professionally. One of the ads is all right, another is kind of gross, and the third is childishly disgusting. If the Fairy ad wins, I might vote for that just because, why reward an ad agency for a mediocre effort when some random guy can do just as mediocre a job?

Most Overproduced Ad

Explanation: When you're talking about $3 million just to get a commercial on the air, the commercial itself better be good. Unfortunately most marketing execs seem to think "good" means "costs a ton of money." And that's how we end up with so many manic, over-produced pieces of crap. Oh, how to pick just one.

Prediction: Here's the Honda spot description:

Ad's focus will be on the launch of an entirely new model, the Accord Crosstour, a wagon-sedan crossover. And an animated squirrel. And Kool & the Gang's "Funky Stuff."

You don't suppose it will be a dancing animated squirrel, do you?

Worst Use of "Humor" Award

Explanation: So many Super Bowl ads try to be funny. It's fairly subjective as to whether you think they succeed or not. As we've said before, commercials make for poor entertainment, so we think we'll have a tough choice to make again this year.

Prediction: Boost Mobile. We've seen their horrible recent efforts, and their Super Bowl spot will be a remake of the 1985 Chicago Bears "Super Bowl Shuffle." Why does that need to be remade? Isn't the original's kitsch value alone funny enough? Not only does it sound painful, but it's wildly unoriginal. (Also, odd timing. Next year would have been the 25th anniversary. Why now?)

The Carlos Mencia Book Prize for Most Egregious Use of B-List Celebrities

Explanation: Who the hell is Carlos Mencia, and why did we name this award after him? Oh, that's right, he was some guy in a Bud Light spot 3 years ago. Well, I guess that just goes to show you that when you spend money on non-name-brand celebs, you're not getting your money's worth.

Prediction: GoDaddy
.com will be back with Danica Patrick a-fucking-gain. She was a bit of phenomenon on the Indy racing scene a few years ago, but at this point she has to be considered B-list. Come on, tell me she's still nationally famous outside of these commercials. There may be other B-listers in ads this year, but we're just so tired of seeing the same "let's pretend she's hot!" premise in ad after depressing ad.

And since this is a Book Prize, this year's winner will receive a signed copy of the biography of Carlos Mencia. It's one of Carlos Mencia's favorites.

Flimsiest Pretense Award

Explanation: In the simplest terms, this award goes to the commercial with the least appropriate use of sex. We can only hope there won't be any inter-species action this year.

Prediction: We'll just have to go with again, because none of the other descriptions really indicate anything about possible sex scenes. Maybe advertisers just wanted to tone it down this year since Tim Tebow's mom is going to be watching.

Cheapest Budget/Clumsiest Execution Award

Explanation: Remember SalesGenie? They had their CEO write their ads and then used animation that looked like it was done in Microsoft Paint. That's the kind of effort that wins this award.

Prediction: Doritos is, for the second consecutive year, doing their "Crash the Super Bowl" thing, where people can submit their own Doritos ads and the winner gets the Super Bowl air time. Last year's winners won a lot of "Best Ad" polls (although we didn't care for it), and even got on the Tonight Show. That certainly says something about the professional ad agencies.

SkyMall Championship Trophy

This award does need a bit of explanation. SkyMall sells weird shit, but it's the weird way they choose to sell their shit, and their eager, misplaced enthusiasm, that really gets us. So this award goes to the ad that best exemplifies the notion of selling a product in a way it just should not be sold.

Here's the Snickers spot's description:

Actors Betty White and Abe Vigoda will appear in a spot that reminds viewers that Snickers helps allay food cravings.

This could easily qualify for the Carlos Mencia Book Prize, but it sounds so outlandish that we might as well predict it to land here. Also, note to Snickers -- maybe the reason you help allay food cravings is that you are food. Don't kid yourselves, you're not a diet pill here.

The Light/Miller Lite/Emerald Nuts Award for Worst Superbowl Ad

What commercial will join the vaunted ranks of CareerBuilder (2009's winner) and SoBe Lifewater (2008)? This one's always a toss-up, but we'll be sure to post another poll to get everyone's opinion on which ad truly stood out.

If you haven't already heard about Focus on the Family's spot with Tim Tebow, you can read about it here. We could give this award to just another unwatchable corporate offering, but I think anytime you manage to piss off half the population, you're airing an historically bad ad.

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