The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Scene Selections: Super Bowl LII Edition

, , and | Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wait, they played football in between the commercials this weekend? This week, Scene selects a few of our favorite Super Bowl commercials that didn’t try to incorrectly commercialize the thoughtful words of a famous Civil Rights leader.


NFL commercial

By Adam Ramos, Scene Editor

As a lifelong Giants fan, I have been lucky enough to witness two Super Bowl victories — both at the expense of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the rest of the New England Patriots no less. Yet, this past season was a little different for my beloved G-Men. With the Giants winning only three games and losing a whopping 13, there wasn’t much for their fans to celebrate after the end of the abysmal season — that is, until the Super Bowl aired.

Separated into a series of short clips, the NFL ran an ad that portrayed my Giants interrupting a practice to perform a tasteful rendition of some “Dirty Dancing” choreography. In the ad, veteran quarterback Eli Manning and superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. prove that their chemistry extends even off the football field, with Manning gracefully hoisting Beckham Jr. into the air like true dance partners. While it may be a long shot, watching my team exude such confidence on the field gave me the hope that maybe next year instead of being in the ads, we will be on the field.


Tide commercial

By Mike Donovan, Scene Writer

In light of their recent memetic woes, P&G’s Tide has been in need of a win. They’ve been losing pods by the thousands to hungry, misinformed teens, bent on participating in the infamous #TidePodChallenge.

Enlisting the help of David Harbour (“Stranger Things”), P&G successfully redirected Tide’s marketing campaign — casting the cushy pods as pretty much anything other than a delicious snack. Is it a deodorant ad? No. It’s a “Tide Ad.” Is this an ad for insurance? No. It’s a “Tide Ad.” Are they pushing a pharmaceutical? No. Just Tide.

The ad campaign (which aired during a 45-second spot in each quarter) appeals to the uptick in self-aware entertainment, driven by the internet, meme culture and progressive television shows like “Nathan For You” and “Big Mouth,” which exist in a space where fourth walls don’t. The modern consumer can smell bulls— from a mile away and demands transparency.

Moreover, P&G’s Tide ads pioneer the idea of in-house brand crossover — bringing in character staples from the company’s Old Spice and Mr. Clean branches to supplement Tide’s central role.

All in all, the Tide ads provide the viewer with some phenomenal eye candy, as they sit, watch some #sports and munch on some #TidePods.


Jeep commercial

By Owen Lane, Scene Writer

In Jeep’s third commercial spot during the Super Bowl, the automaker simply went for a one-shot depiction of the vehicle in action. There is no music, no narration and no frills. It opens on a rugged setting, with the red hard-top Wrangler in the corner of the frame. In the ad, the Wrangler braves a shallow river and climbs a series of small waterfalls. It looks like the Jeep is not going to make it, or might even flip over backward on its climb.

Very few Jeep Wrangler owners will come even remotely close to using their car this way. The most adventurous days for most of the rugged vehicle’s owners will be the few times that they remove the doors and cruise around town. Even so, everybody who buys a jeep at least subconsciously wants to take their car into the wilderness and let it rip. With an ad like this, Jeep could probably market themselves with a slogan about being the only car you’d want in the event of a zombie apocalypse. This shouldn’t really be a great selling point to the average American but, hey, it sure caught my eye.


M&M commercial

By Charlie Kenney, Scene Writer

When I’m watching Super Bowl commercials, I don’t want to hear what company has done the most goodwill this year, I don’t want to see a horse pulling the Budweiser carriage and I definitely don’t want to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. try to sell me Ram Trucks. I want cheap laughs. And an M&M turning into Danny DeVito and getting hit by a truck is a laugh at its cheapest.

Sure, it would be nice if companies actually advertised why their products are better than others during the Super Bowl. But that’s just not how it works these days. Companies try to advertise why they are the most morally sound company, or try to show why they are the most welcoming American company in the country. They compete with each other to see which of them can have the most nonsensical commercial. Talking M&M’s, the usual route the M&M company takes, was already among the most pointless advertising campaigns used in Super Bowl commercials. They don’t show why M&M’s are tasty or why they are better than any of their competitors. But turning those M&M’s into Danny DeVito takes it to another level; it is so pointless that it earns my respect. Mars Incorporated and the M&M company has realized that, no matter what they advertise, people will still buy M&M’s, and they took full advantage of it. Nothing but respect for Mars Inc.

Tags: , , , , , ,

About Adam Ramos

Adam is studying international economics in the class of 2018. He hails from beautiful New Jersey and says "draw" instead of "drawer."

Contact Adam

About Mike Donovan

Mike enjoys good words.

Contact Mike

About Owen Lane

Contact Owen

About Charlie Kenney

Charlie writes about things with words.

Contact Charlie