Daily Archives: February 6, 2006

Super Bowl Commercials: A Dying Tradition

The ads this year for the Super Bowl were decidedly uncreative and lackluster. This makes it at least three years in a row of mediocre commercials. What happened? Could they not take the pressure? With so many people watching for the commercials, did they crack?

Is it part of our sequel culture? Unafraid to try anything bold and creative? I think not. I think it’s part of a different trend.

The art of the commercial is dying. It is going the way of the sitcom. It’s not just the Super Bowl commercials that suck but all commercials. Face it, the 30-second (or 15-second) ad spot is a pretty inefficient way to sell things. People wander away during commercials. It’s harder to hit your target audiences.

The invention of digital video recorders (TiVo for those of you who say Kleenex instead of tissue) puts another nail in the coffin for the commercial. The iPod now has video capabilities. The commercial is no longer needed to fund the show if you can just buy it. TV shows will be available on-demand.

Even if this trend I see in worsening commercials turns out to be a trough instead of a trend, the commercial will still die. Still, the commercial gave us cultural icons. It gave us the Budweiser frogs, the Meow Mix song. Pepsi, here’s a tip: Ditch the hip hop, give us an old-fashioned jingle. Ah, who am I kidding, does it really matter? Even Geico seems to be falling off with its latest spots featuring the amiable accented Gecko.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a few good ads, like the FedEx one, but none especially memorable. If you don’t believe me, revisit this entry in a month.

Another year of this exercise in ad mediocrity and no one will be watching the Super Bowl just for the commercials. It won’t be worth it.

Another five years to ten years, though, and the commercial itself will be a thing of the past.

It’s unfortunate. I really love the commercial as an art form. It’s the thing I miss most about TV when I haven’t watched it for a while.