As the Seattle Seahawks were in the process of crushing the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, there was perhaps more attention to be paid to the highly anticipated commercials that accompany the big game.
Although not all of them met expectations, there were several strong entries in the expensive lot, with several standing out as the most creative and original. While this is a matter of one's own opinion, it's hard not to at least respect the concepts behind the forthcoming trio of ads.
Here is a breakdown of the best commercials that this year's Fox Super Bowl telecast had to offer in terms of how seemingly off the wall the ideas were and how well they were executed.
Doritos: "Time Machine"
A time machine that runs on Doritos? How juvenile.
Exactly! The young boy who headlines this commercial convinces a grown man—who is casually walking down the street munching on some of the tasty corn chips—to test out his time machine.
That cheap premise cost creator Ryan Anderson only $300 to make, and Doritos gave him a whopping $1 million bonus for it, per David Schwab of Octagon First Call:
Ryan Anderson who created Doritos Time Machine ad said it cost him $300 to make. Doritos gave him a $1m bonus this morn.— David Schwab (@david_schwab) February 3, 2014
The man gets in the cardboard cutout and is told to place the bag of chips in the fuel slot. The kid and his trusty dog rejoice because the man has given in to their tricky plot. However, even as the child uses a megaphone as a sarcastic stimulant, it does appear the man is traveling through time.
When an older man comes out of his house to yell at the innocent boy to get off his lawn, the man in the time machine pops out, only to believe that "Jimmy" has aged and that he's in the future.
His reaction is priceless, and if not for a fine performance from the leading man, this ad may not have gone over so well. But there's a reason it won a contest Doritos held, where tons of entries were considered before this time-machine concept was picked as the headliner.
RadioShack: "The Phone Call"
Don't call it a comeback! The retail electronics franchise is on the uptick with a revamped brand, but the marketing minds decided to exercise a little self-deprecating comedy for the Super Bowl.
It worked very well. A RadioShack store worker answers a phone call "from the 80s"—where the company is dearly missed.
Then the place is raided by some of the time period's pop-culture fixtures, such as pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, Jason Vorhees from those horrifying Friday the 13th films and others. In embracing some of the cheesiness of the 80s by exaggerating it, then giving a parting nod to the Back to the Future DeLorean time machine, this commercial did the decade justice.
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Some of the items, such as VCRs and old TVs and phones don't seem that far in the past, yet it shows how far technology has come.
The bare RadioShack store after the DeLorean pulls off accentuates some of the difficulties the company has had in keeping up with the times. It's also hilarious and an allegory to how fast things went south and how dynamic the world is changing because of technological innovation.
Pulling off a three-decade time warp risks losing a lot of contemporary audiences who may not understand all the key figures in the ad. That didn't stop RadioShack from doing a fantastic job in this case, with enough undoubtedly recognizable faces and the trademark synthesizer music and bad drums that defined the period—at least in the vein of many movie soundtracks.
Audi A3's "Doberhuahua"
Anytime an advertisement can blend two dog breeds, move the setting on a grand scale and see its attempt at humor be met with almost universal acclaim, it has to be considered a creative success.
The theme of compromising is prominent in this commercial, as a couple decides on which dog to buy before being recommended to combine two breeds. In doing that, the consequences become borderline apocalyptic—and force a brief cameo by renowned solo artist Sarah McLachlan.
To include a dog show as the setting for a good chunk of the TV spot's running time while still tying it back to an effective pitch for a new car takes at least some stroke of genius.
Audi scored big on this one. Putting the Doberhuahua in a small handbag was a hilarious introduction, and the escalation from there was staggering and hysterical.
It will be exciting to see what the car manufacturer puts out for the Super Bowl the next time around if this strong effort is any indication of what's to come.