Yesterday was the Super Bowl, the highlight of American sporting events and home to the edgiest commercials that ad agencies can put together. Right?
I admit, I’m not a big football fan. But I am a big fan of great advertising (I am in love with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like) as well as the halftime show. Following Janet Jackson’s nipple issue, the halftime shows were scaled back. I, for one, didn’t mind Paul McCartney- since I can’t afford tickets to his concerts. But really, the halftime shows have been dull, especially the Black Eyed Peas. Which isn’t a surprise- they’re an act that’s better experienced via the radio or in a club, not live. And certainly not in a giant stadium.
The Super Bowl didn’t get off to a good start. Christina Aguilera blew the National Anthem. Which was surprising since it’s not like it’s the first time she’s sung it at a major sporting event- I seem to recall her singing at the NBA finals. She not only screwed up the lyrics (which is somewhat forgivable for me, if you factor in nerves), but committed the cardinal sin of a bad rendition.
To future anthem singers, just sing the damn song. I know, everyone wants to do for it what Whitney Houston did. But let’s be honest, she really just sang the song and she sang the hell out of it. Christina threw in every trick she could, and sounded horrible doing it.
For those who say that it’s ridiculous of me to criticize her when I wasn’t the one up there… Here’s a quick and dirty recording of me singing the national anthem. You get a bonus dose of the Little Kidlet yelling in the background, and I haven’t warmed up- but even that is better than Christina was. Not only that, I’ve sung the national anthem at assemblies, our city’s DARE assembly (which was filled to the brim with kids)… so yes, I have sung it publicly before.
As far as the ads go, it was pretty hit and miss. There were a few great spots (the Eminem Detroit one was good), but not all of them were surprises. The Volkswagen Vader spot had already hit the internet. For me, the bright spot was actually a Fox promo- the “House” send up of the Mean Joe Green Coca-Cola ad.
Then there was the Tibet Groupon spot. In which, it started with a serious bit about the plight of Tibet, and launched into a pitch for a Groupon coupon for a Himalayan meal. Not surprisingly, people were upset. I was going to link to a tweet Timothy Hutton had posted last night, but it seems that he deleted it. Basically he said that the Brits were right, and Americans have no sense of irony.
I will say this, I saw the other two spots, and thought they were fine. But I did feel that the Tibet spot went too far. Make fun of Saving Whales or Deforestation. They’re both subjects that people have mocked- and while yes, it’s sad that whales die… it’s not like Tibet, where people have given up their lives to try to get freedom.
To quote Jeph Jacques, it would be like having a Groupon ad that went something like this.
“Thousands of people died at the WTC on 9/11, but thanks to Groupon we got really cheap hotel rooms at ground zero!” @groupon
— jeph jacques (@jephjacques) February 7, 2011
Think he’s exaggerating? Not really. Just because it didn’t happen on our soil, doesn’t make what’s gone on in Tibet any less serious.
While Groupon has maintained that they did offer links to related charities on their website… it was still in bad taste.
So there you have it. The game was sorta boring, the halftime show wasn’t very memorable and neither were the ads. Except for Groupon.
But the real highlight? I thawed some steak, pan seared it and finished it in the oven… and served it with some beer battered onion rings.
A little labor intensive, but well worth it.
Hope you had a wonderful weekend!