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The best of regular season commercials

Patrick McManus | Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The Super Bowl, in addition to being a showcase for some of America’s finest football, is also famous for having the best commercials. Rightfully so, a lot of time is spent discussing the best of those commercials. But the commercials that air every other day of the year often go unsung, probably because most of them are uninteresting, annoying distractions from our favorite television programs. But the best of the best ordinary -ime commercials deserve some recognition before the furor over Super Bowl ads begins in earnest. 

There are probably some hilarious or otherwise effective commercials out there, which, despite the technical facility with which they were assembled, are obscure. 

In this age of Hulu and DVRs, and with the myriad choice of cable channels, it is all too easy to circumvent or simply miss the majority of television adverts. So only those commercials that have attained a very high degree of market saturation are discussed in the national forum. Because these commercials are aired so frequently and widely, it is especially important that they be entertaining. 

Perhaps because car insurance is so boring and the different companies all offer basically the same thing, many car insurance commercials are among the best that air throughout the year. 

One of the best is the series of Allstate commercials in which actor Dean Winters portrays Mayhem. Always clad in his black suit, he personifies a variety of dangers on the road that might cause an accident and hence bring insurance into the mix. They are quite humorous.

Another great car insurance commercial of the present is the Geico one featuring a woman driving home with a pig in the back seat, literally going “wee, wee, wee” all the way home. Sure, it is random and maybe a little bit annoying, but the pig is so cute and the concept so elegant that the whole package is endearing. The same cannot be said for the sequel with the pig on the zip line, however. 

One of the most interesting commercials to pop up in a while is the Direct TV commercial that features a series of causal relationships beginning with having cable and waking up in a roadside ditch. On first viewing it is something of a revelation, though the novelty does subsequently wear off. It remains to be seen whether this genre of commercial has any staying power, but it represents good initiative. 

The Old Spice commercials featuring “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” Isaiah Mustafa, are fantastic. Something about the way he talks, the crisp colors or the striking visual effects make those commercials endlessly entertaining. The Old Spice commercial with Terry Crews’ brain flying around is not as good.

All of the above commercials are worthwhile, but undoubtedly the great advertising character of our time is the Dos Equis’ “Most Interesting Man in the World.” Those commercials drastically increased sales of the product they were advertising, entertained America and spawned an Internet meme. What more could one ask for?

Unfortunately, for every good commercial there are countless bad ones. The current most annoying commercial has to be the AT&T spot with the tailgating guys and their 4G phones dismissing everyone else who has slower phones. It seems like 4G technology makes peoples jerks.

Hopefully in between the drives of Sunday’s big game, a host of new advertisements will enter the pantheon of great commercials.