Super Bowl commercials were once some of the greatest advertisements seen on television, but now it’s clear that March Madness has far exceeded the Super Bowl commercials. The reason why the commercials are less funny then they used to be is simple: celebrities.
The high budget over the top flashy commercial appeals to few and is generally terrible at conveying the message advertisers want. For instance, Coca-Cola’s commercial featuring Martin Scorsese and Jonah Hill relied on people first caring about two people they (in all likelihood) do not care about, because it relies on their credibility. Thus this commercial was so bad it invalidates Scorsese’s argument that Marvel movies aren’t cinema.
Contrast this with Jeep and Bill Murray. They rehashed the movie Groundhog Day, on Groundhog Day. This could have been painfully done. But the focus of this commercial was not on the celebrity. It was on the car. Each repeated day, he went for the Jeep, and each day he had a different experience. It would not have been as good without Bill Murray, but this is an instance of celebrity enhancing an already well written commercial rather then being the commercial.
Charlie Day is a hilarious actor, but every time a Tide commercial came on the scene was a flat, unoriginal, half-rehash of a good commercial they did in the past. This half-parody, half-repeat was repeated ad nauseum.
Then there were several ones relying on multiple celebrities, but because they are simply celebrities the normal viewer cannot put a name to, acting as though they mean something proved both cringy and elitist.
What was missing in several commercials was a story. For instance, Bill Murray relives Groundhog Day and has a different experience each day. Charlie Day doesn’t know where the laundry room is. One’s a story; the other isn’t. Sabra brought the extra cringe with their celebrity commercial. I could go Don Drapier on all of these celebrity reliant commercials, but the Super Bowl commercials came off as lazy attempts to be cool, almost all of them. It’s 2020, and in the last decade we’ve seen award show ratings tank, indicating people care less about celebrity endorsements than perhaps ever before. And for celebrities to make the commercial simply by being themselves is simply a reminder that the actual game is the only reason to watch the Super Bowl in the first place. Anything else, other than food and company of course, is a waste of time.
If you were wondering why the commercials aren’t nearly as good as they used to be, it’s all the celebrities. It used to be that the Super Bowl would be the pinnacle of good impactful advertisements, but we’ve since delved into a parody of a parody of what good advertising is and ought to be.