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Super Bowl XLVII commercials: The good, the bad and the weird

Every year, millions of people sit down to watch the Super Bowl. In between bits of hulking men charging into each other as hard as they can, the advertising world puts together its own competition for supremacy: the commercials. Some are talked about more than the game itself, some are forgotten immediately, and others are… Out there.
Here’s a round up of this year’s standout promos.

The Good

Axe, “Lifeguard” — B+
Axe is not a brand associated with class, and Old Spice has been hammering them with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like and Terry Crews. In this one, a guy punches out a shark and gets the girl. Yawn. However, this boring, bland ad is saved by its twist ending. Hint: it’s shilling the scent called “Apollo.” (Watch here)
Hyundai Santa Fe, “Team” — A-
Funny without pandering, this advertisement is one of the best montages since the 80s. A young boy assembles a crew of roughnecks to get back his football, only said crew is made up of other boys who are weight lifters, welders, and heroes. The first bit, with the redheads cranking out reps in the garage is just ingenious. (Watch here)
Samsung, “Next Big Thing” — B
More of an honorable mention, anything that features Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd ripping each other is generally a passing grade, even if it doesn’t really stay on message. (Watch here)

The Bad

Volkswagen, “Get In. Get Happy” — D
Did “Star Wars: Episode I” not make it to mainland Europe? Because they apparently didn’t learn the lesson of Jar Jar Binks: Caribbean stereotypes are unfunny at best, offensive at worst. This one is more on the side of not funny, thankfully, but that’s still not a good thing. Also, what does Jamaica have to do with German Engineering? (Watch here)
“World War Z” — C-
You’ll be forgiven for not realizing this is a zombie movie, after seeing the 30-second TV spot. The ad makes it look like Brad Pitt got caught up in a generic action movie, even as media like “The Walking Dead” and “28 Days Later” have removed the stigma of ghouls being B-movie trash. Maybe they’re afraid the zombie market is being over-saturated? Still, there’s enough money shots in the trailer to set the film apart, so would it have killed them to mention a virus or something? (Watch here)
GoDaddy, “Perfect Match” —  F
Cripes, GoDaddy. Every year, you come in with the same cookie-cutter attractive women degrading themselves in ways that make no sense for selling a website builder, and everyone squirms in their seats. Why aren’t there any different girls? Why is every commercial super sleazy? Look at the Fiat ad, this year: it has a pretty girl in a bikini, it’s a little risqué, but it’s still pretty classy. Start taking notes, GoDaddy. (Watch here)
Wonderful Pistachios, “Gangnam Style” — D
Beware the dangers of using fads to promote your product: you’ll probably be months out of date. Everyone got their fill of weird Asian pop culture for a while, it’s time to move on and wait for Japan’s next move. (Watch here)

The Weird

Budweiser, “Brotherhood” — C+
This ad tried to sell beer with the idea of the love between a man and a horse. While it used Budweiser’s time-honored Clydesdales, it was overly sappy and tried too hard. On the other hand take a look at Dodge Ram’s “So God Made a Farmer,” which hits similar notes, but much more effectively. (Watch here)
Kia Sorento, “Space Babies” — C
Although the baby panda cosmonaut giving a thumbs up is pretty cute, what’s with the rest of it? The whole “parents have to explain where babies come from” thing is played out, and “they come from space” is not really adding anything new to the idea. It’s just a rocket ship instead of a stork. (Watch here)
Gildan, “Favorite T-Shirt” — C-
This commercial wasn’t bad until the end. OK, the guy tries to get his shirt off of the sleeping girl, but he can’t. Then he sees the girl’s cat spying on him, and then he just kind of tugs at his shirt again before it ends. Except, that’s not an ending. Experimental, art house, and Christopher Nolan films are allowed to non-endings like that. Commercials doing it comes off as bad writing and direction.
Beck’s Sapphire, “Serenade” — C
A black goldfish sings Snoop Dogg to a beer bottle. Wait, what? C
Overall, the winner was Hyundai, who coupled “Team” with “Stuck,” which did some great exaggeration with a situation with which we’re all familiar. (Watch here)
The loser is clearly GoDaddy, for probably the tenth year straight. Seriously Danica Patrick, get yourself a new sponsor.

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