September 30, 2016

A letter to the Super Bowl advertisers

Dear million- and billion-dollar companies that can afford to advertise during the Super Bowl,

Will you cut it out already?

I understand there may never be another situation this year when 115 million people are paying attention to the same thing, but is a nation—wide party really the best time to bring up domestic abuse, heroin addiction or accidental deaths?

You know who needs to see an anti-violence PSA? Players in the NFL—not me and my family while we are trying to have a good time.

I never hit my fiancé in a casino elevator—that was three-time Pro-Bowl running back Ray Rice. I never whipped my kid with a switch to the point of bleeding—that was MVP Adrian Peterson. And I never assaulted and threatened to kill a cocktail waitress—that was Pro-Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy.

But apparently the league’s finest players aren’t getting the whole anti-violence idea, because the second-to-last play of the game ended with a brawl. Nothing quite like a fight to end the finest year in public relations ineptitude in the history of American sports.

And what was Nationwide thinking? I didn’t realize scare-tactics were legal in advertising. Nothing flows seamlessly with a party like making parents worry about the safety of their children. It was such a Debbie Downer, I felt like there should be sad music and Jimmy Fallon laughing in the background.

Finally, there was the dynamic combination of up-beat ukulele music and a catchy tune about dying from a heroin overdose. That commercial was particularly absurd. I was sitting next to my mom while I listened to the words, while she sat there tapping her foot. If I didn’t tell her, she probably wouldn’t have known it was about a drug overdose.

If this commercial’s goal was to get people talking about strange advertising strategies, then bravo. If it was trying to give a straightforward message about drug overdoses, maybe they should’ve tried something else.

What I miss is Mean Joe Green tossing his jersey to a kid. I miss the Budweiser Clydesdale befriending his trainer. I miss seeing a little dog find its way home to his friend. Those are commercials that made people feel warm and fuzzy inside, not accused or depressed, and I think that probably sells more product anyway.

So just let me eat my chicken wings guilt-free. Maybe throw in a Weight Watchers ad to make me feel guilty about how much I eat, but that’s it.

Regards,

Sam

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