Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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Kirk Baird

Some Super and not-so-Super Bowl commercials

The Blade's blog Culture Shock is a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

Christina Aguilera botching the national anthem. Cameron Diaz caught feeding A-Rod on national TV. And a half-time show featuring the Black Eyed Peas that made you yearn for Up With People. (Seriously, Fergie doing a bad Axle Rose and "Sweet Child o' Mine" with Slash playing guitar next to her? "I'll take 'Worst Moments in Super Bowl Half-Time History' for $400, Alex.")

Yeah, the Super Bowl had more than its share of forgettable moments. Fortunately, we had a great game and some funny commercials.

The "I love Doritos" spot was a favorite, the one where the guy sucks the nacho cheese crumbs off another guy's finger. The "Reply All" Bridgestone Tire ad, in which an e-mail inadvertently forwarded to everyone caused panic for the sender, was funny as well.

Eminem appeared in not one but two product endorsements: Brisk Ice Tea and a Chrysler shout-out to Detroit via its new Chrysler 200, to which Eminem says: "This is the Motor City, and this is what we do." After that, the line "imported from Detroit" appears on the screen.

Worth more than a chuckle was the Teleflora spot with Faith Hill and a guy trying to express his feelings to another girl by ordering her flowers online and penning note: "Dear Kim, your rack is unreal."

The ad for the upcoming Motorola Xoom tablet was clearly channeling Apple's legendary "1984" Macintosh commercial, subtly mocking the ubiquitous iPad as the colorless, boring social conformity. It was a pretty ad, but I'm not sure how effective it will be. Still, the Xoom looks promising as the first big threat to the iPad.

The Volkswagen Passat commercial featuring a young boy as a wannabe Darth Vader was brilliant because it had almost nothing to do with a car for most of the spot. But when car shows up, it serves as the spot's memorable punchline and really sticks in your head. Good stuff.

Of all the summer movies that used the Super Bowl to debut footage, I would say "Super 8," the J.J. Abrams-directed, Stephen Spielberg-exec. produced sci-fi pulled ahead, with the new Transformers movie, "Dark of the Moon," looking impressive as well. (Did I really just type that?)

I lost count of the number of spots that featured a hit to the groin. I know one spot for SafeAuto had eight such moments because I counted.

Groupon scored with its two clever and unexpectedly funny spots featuring Cuba Gooding, Jr., in one and Timothy Hutton in the other.

What really didn't work for me was the Go ad blitz, which got perpetually worse and even had the gall to ask us to go online to see more of these commercials, as if theses ads were entertainment. The Budweiser and Bud Light spots were bores. I also thought the ad for Best Buy's new "Buy Back" program, which featured Ozzy Osbourne and Justin Bieber, was as bad as you think a commercial with those two in it would be.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to or call 419-724-6734. Or even better and easier, rant on the message board.

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