Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

My 12 Favorite Super Bowl XLIX commercials

That loveable Lab puppy from the Budweiser commercial
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My 12 Favorite Super Bowl XLIX commercials
by rick olivares

For close to three hours, the Super Bowl is one of the most viewed sporting events on the planet every year. The incredible thing is people who watch usually stay glued to their television sets not only for the championship match between the best two teams in the National Football League but to also see the commercials.

Sounds weird, right? When usually, people take the break to go to the kitchen and get some eats or to go to the loo. The annual Super Bowl commercials have been a spectacle unto themselves. It costs $.5 million for a 30-seconder spot!

Of the 49 commercials that were shown during Super Bowl XLIX, I picked out my 12 favorites – in order of appearance -- while eliminating movie trailers from the list.

Snickers – “Brady Bunch” Nostalgia! Digital magic. Humor. Danny Trejo! What is not to like?

Toyota – “How Great I Am” This from their “One Big Bold Choice” campaign. They not only featured the amazing Amy Purdy who despite having two prosthetic legs is an actress, model, a snowboarder, and a motivational speaker! And this one is set to Muhammad Ali’s famous “How Great I Am Speech” (that he said before the Rumble in the Jungle with George Foreman in 1974.

Reebok – “Freak Show” Featuring Reebok’s slew of athletes putting themselves through some crazy and difficult exercises to be better people, leaders, teachers, and humans. It’s a different perspective on working out and achieving things.

Mountain Dew – “Come Alive” It’s the dog, I tell ya! Wasn’t really sure what they were trying to accomplish after some bros open a can of Kickstart that begets a dance off including a stuff deer head, a deep sea diver in an aquarium, and the true star of the commercial – a dancing sheep dog who reminds me of Jughead’s Hotdog!

Microsoft – “Braylon” Now I can forget Oscar Pistorius and think of Braylon when I see a new blade runner. 

Fiat – “Pill” Sex still sells. Love the creative execution in this ad where a hot-to-trot Italian granddad accidentally drops his pill that falls into a Fiat 500x crossover. Talk about a fuel injection. Thought this is much better than the “Furious 7” trailer (they should retire those films).

Doritos – “Middle Seat” Probably the funniest commercial of this year’s Super Bowl. Man sitting next to the aisle of an airplane displays all sorts of off-putting antics so no one will occupy the middle seat. Then he spots this gorgeous looking woman and he behaves and shows her a bag of Doritos. Her big reveal is that she has her toddler with her leaving the man deflated (there’s a New England Patriots reference).

Avocados from Mexico – “First Draft Ever” So we are not forgetting American Football from the slew of adverts, Avocados from Mexico features the “first ever draft” where the nations of the world draft their national animal. With a panel of former NFL players in Doug Flutie and Jerry Rice providing commentary, right after Mauritius selects the Dodo Bird (that immediately drops dead), Mexico… selects the avocado! It’s a reference to the popularity of the fruit in the United States today.

Nationwide Insurance – “Invisible Mindy” I love the curve balls Nationwide Insurance threw with their two commercials (although “The Boy Who Couldn’t Grow Up is shockingly painful because of the death of the kid). And this one had Indian-American comedienne Mindy Kiling and the always awesome Matt Damon! Already a winner in my book.

Budweiser – “Lost Dog” The King of Beers knows a winner when they see one. They brought out the cute factor once more that tugs your heart. The Prodigal Labrador! A tearjerker with a happy ending. Love how they relate it – best Buds/buds. And this dog had a better ending that the Seahawks.

Skechers – “The Hall” This one was shown before the Super Bowl and it was still hilarious. Pete Rose poking some fun at himself. A Kiana Kim cameo. How can you go wrong.

Toyota – “My Bold Dad” For a while, I thought it wasn’t the Super Bowl but Father’s Day we were celebrating as a number of ads featured… dads (the two  Toyota adverts as well as the Dove commercial). In this Camry commercial, the dad is there for his daughter who finds herself in different situations through her life that left her in tears. It changes in the end when he drops off his now grown up daughter at the airport (who is joining the military).

Now let’s tally that up the branding tactics used for the 12 adverts I chose.
Emotional – Lost Dog and My Bold Dad
Humor – Brady Bunch, Come Alive, Pill, Middle Seat, First Draft Ever, Invisible Mindy, and The Hall
Inspirational – How Great I Am, Freak Show, and Braylon.

Of my 12 favorite commercials, four of them made use of celebrities while one made use of animals, a methodology used to tug at the viewer’s heart.

Overall, when I view a commercial, sometimes, I lose the message as it’s over in a few seconds. If my interest in piqued, when I see it again, I’ll try to understand it better. If it’s a product that I use or could use, then it’s the first one I check out before others because of that initial connection. And that is just exactly what they spend all that moolah for – to grab your attention. Now hopefully, the proof is in the pudding as they say.

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