Wednesday Links: Because it’s a holiday week

Super Bowl recap

In case you missed yesterday’s big game (either on purpose or on accident), here’s everything you need to know:

  1. Christina Aguilera goofed up the lyrics to the “Star Spangled Banner.”
  2. Groupon’s commercials were kind of offensive. You can take a look at all the commercials that ran during the football game on AdAge. But if you’re curious, the NFL one was the best.
  3. The Black-Eyed Peas halftime show was not so good.
  4. The Green Bay Packers won.

If all that bores you or you really don’t care, here’s a song about a space unicorn.

The making of 1984

It’s Superbowl week in America. This is the week where NFL fans and advertisers (the people who work in and around advertising) get all wiggly and giggly with anticipation. The game! The commercials! The episode of Glee afterwards. . . oh wait, that last one’s just me.

When it comes to Superbowl commercials, Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial set the bar. Or as Steve Hayden said in his AdWeek piece about the spot, “[the commercial] established that venue as the platform for big, new branding campaigns from all sorts of advertisers—beer, cars, soft drinks, dot-coms, you name it.”

Hayden, who was a Senior VP and Creative Director at Chiat/Day in 1983 worked on the commercial. In the article he talks about the creative brief the agency was given, how close the commercial came to not even being made (twice), and the marketing campaign Jobs ordered after he first saw the commercial. It’s an interesting look not only into the advertising industry, but the making of an icon.

Here’s the commercial, in case you’ve never seen it (is that possible?)

The BMW after image ad

You’ll be hearing about this one for awhile. At a movie theater in Germany, BMW played an ad that burned an after image on the inside of viewer’s eyelids. Some people are wondering if this is legal/subliminal advertising. Others think it’s brilliant. As always, MetaFilter has great arguments for and against this kind of advertising.

The Freakiest Ads of 2010


It’s sort of like rubbernecking at an accident. You know you shouldn’t do it. You know that looking might be dangerous to your well-being, and yet, you can’t not look. That’s how I felt going into Ad Freak’s 30 Freakiest Ads of 2010.

At least they warn viewer’s right up front, “It’s that time of year again—when we grit our teeth and pick the weirdest, goofiest, grossest, silliest and freakiest ads of the year.” They also mark the ads that aren’t NSFW which is nice for people who are easily offended or work with the easily offended.

Target’s Christmas campaign with Maria Bamford made the list, which is awesome. I laughed my head off every time I saw this commercial over Thanksgiving weekend (which was roughly 382,183 times).

If your heart is strong and your stomach calm, go take a look at the 30 freakiest ads of 2010.

YouTube’s Ad of the Year

For the first time ever YouTube has chosen an Ad of the Year. The winner is this seatbelt PSA coming out of Sussex, England. The award goes to, “”the most creative and engaging ad on YouTube in the past 18 months.”

Take a look. Don’t let the haunting music scare you.

Know your history: 38 years of Super Bowl Commercials

The Super Bowl is Sunday, and for those of us who don’t get into sports it can still be considered an event what with The Who playing the halftime show (though they do have big shoes to fill after The Boss’ performance last year), and, of course, the commercials. Before the big game, take a look at this archive featuring 38 years of Super Bowl Commercials. It’s a fun history lesson in pop culture, technology, and advertising.

Even if you don’t watch all the commercials even the thumbnails are pretty revealing. For instance, Michael J. Fox had quite a commercial run for Pepsi from 87-89 when in 90 he was usurped by Fred Savage.

Here’s the commercial for the Tandy computer, a steal at only $2,999 (1984):

Also running the same year (1984), the iconic Apple commercial:

I also loved this one for IBM Typewriters (1986):

Ads we hate

Slate’s got a piece on Ads We Hate and it features a few good ones including that creepy windup doll depression ad and the Charmin bears who get toilet paper stuck to their fur. However, it misses the ad I despised the most out of all the ads on TV this year. The Target Christmas commericals featuring all kinds of passive aggressive holiday behavior. Really, they were uncomfortable to even watch. Don’t you agree?

What ads did you hate this year? Let it all out, it’s a time of venting and then a time of healing. (and if you mention the adorable Talk to the Moose commercial, I might cry.)

The eternal battle between art & commerce

Over at Slate today they have an excellent write up of the new Levi’s commercials created by Wieden + Kennedy. The commercials feature the poetry of Walt Whitman, and probably want to send a lot of lit-snobs running into their candle-lit rooms to write about their feelings. But not this one. These commercials are awesome, and Seth Stevenson, author of the Slate piece, succinctly sums up the internal struggle most ad people face:

Among those who work in advertising, there is an eternal battle between the desire to make art and the imperative to serve commerce. This 60-second film is, to me, a small artistic gem. Right up until that Levi’s logo at the end.

While the author is specifically talking about the “America” commercial, I like the “O Pioneers!” one better.

Some March madness for the rest of us

If you don’t care about basketball but are entertained by advertising, Ad Week has a set of brackets for you. March ADness pits the commercials of the NCAA against each other in a tournament bracket. Each day you can vote for the commercial you like best. On April 3rd the best commercial will be crowned.

Because I’m super nerdy, I’ve already watched all the commercials and filled out my bracket. You should go do it now, too, so I have someone to brag about beating.

(HINT: Coke Zero does very well using humor, ESPN moves on because of it’s use of Guns N Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle,” and MLB 2K9 gets by because of Wang Chung)