With the economy hurting and the Super Bowl coming, it makes you wonder what this year’s Super Bowl commercials will be like. A sock puppet show from GM, Chrysler and Ford? The CEO of AIG doing a dance while sobbing uncontrollably? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives feasting on the blood of the innocent?
In other words, what do companies do when money is low, ad buys are high and poverty sounds less like a Milton Bradley game and more like horrible reality?
It’s easy. Simplify the commercials. Make them cheaper, make them quicker, tell us, the American people, that you understand our financial woes and that your products will help us, nay, save us from our nightmares.
Well, we here at Devlib have hired our resident commercial-making expert, Yuri Baranovsky, to aid you in budgeting down and really connecting with your audience this Super Bowl year.
Here we go.
Okay, Nationwide Insurance — first of all, most of us can’t afford you as it is, so you’ve already got one strike against you. As for your commercial — I imagine Fabio costs a pretty penny, as is keeping away the birds that are, undoubtedly, charging headfirst into his face, so here’s an alternative…
A man swims in the murky, pollutioned Venetian waters, desperately trying to get on the boat that’s drifting away from him. On the boat we see his wallet — it’s a statement, you see, for the economy and our savings as they drift, drift away — and he’s giving it all he’s got to try and catch the boat.
Then he drowns.
You can even make it even cheaper, who needs Venice? Go to your local polluted water supply and throw the actor in. Hell, if you get someone really dedicated, hope that he really commits to drowning — that’s one less person you have to pay. Cruel? Maybe. Thrifty? Absolutely.
We Can’t Help You Against Poverty or Death — Nationwide Insurance.
Okay, I was never really clear what this commercial was about. Not from the first time I laid eyes on its lizard-dancing, Michael Jackson-mimicking, Naomi Campbell-cameo’d self. I’d imagine it took a pretty penny to create a lizard army dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller as well as many hours of man power to think of something so mind-numbingly pointless. It’s not that I hate the commercial, it’s that it seems like a whole lot of money spent on something that doesn’t make any sense — and I’m generally okay with one of those things, but not both.
So, let’s take SOBE’s obvious want for off-the-cuff, strangeness and let’s cut it down in price…Fade up on Naomi Campbell holding a puppy in her claws (she has claws in this), she screams,
“Drink Sobe or I’ll kill a puppy!”
Our Commercials Make No Sense — Sobe.
You know how Ford is one of the three companies desperately asking for the government to bail them out of inevitable bankruptcy? Well, maybe things would’ve gone a little better if they didn’t create a giant machine that would wildly spin their cars just to prove that they’re sturdy. I get that they’re sturdy, really, I get it. I get it, and I’m just not sure I’m ever going to get into a situation where my Ford is spun around wildly by a gigantic blender-thing.
So, let’s take into account Ford’s financial woes and, hell, let’s throw in their past anti-semitism (Wikipedia that, baby!) just to make things spicy…
We open on a homeless man warming his hands on a burning Ford car. He holds a sign that reads, “Will Like Jews For Bailout.”
We Badly Need Money — Ford.
Oh, Career Builder, how things have changed. Maybe a year or two ago, the word career actually meant something — nowadays, you may be better off changing your name to — “Part-Time Work You’re Way Overqualified For Builder.” It’s a sad state of affairs, and while I’m sure you’re doing fine, monetarily (after all, high unemployment rates must only be kind to those who promise career building), I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to budget down.
I love the commercial, however. It’s cute. It’s empowering and, considering what it would take to teach a human heart to walk, probably took a lot of expensive man hours. Let’s fix that…
A woman is sitting at home, staring blankly at a wall. Her house is a ruin, everything is falling apart. She stares and stares and stares — and then, slowly, we fade out.
We Really Can’t Help You — Career Builder.
Okay, it’s a cute commercial but… what? The horse isn’t chosen for the race until a dog trains it, Rocky-style, and then, it is chosen. Thanks… Budweiser? Is the dog drunk the whole time? I’m really not sure. But I imagine the mix of training animals and computer animation to make them do what you want probably cost a pretty penny, so here we go again…
The Career Builder woman is sitting in the same place — the house looks even worse. She does not look happy. After a moment, she takes a sip of Budweiser and we see the slightest shadow of a smile.
We Make Things Bearable — Budweiser.
Okay, I’m in love with this commercial. It’s memorable, amusing and just plain adorable. I imagine, though, that getting gigantic hot air balloons that fight their way through New York City isn’t the cheapest thing in the world — computer animation or not. So, how can they make it cheaper?
The original idea is clever, so let’s go with that. Except, instead of hot air balloons, let’s go with dehydrated homeless people and instead of harmless bouncing, let’s arm them with knives and Angel Dust. From there the commercial practically writes itself.
Is it brutal? Maybe. But, it’s cheap, it’s new, it’s edgy — it’s all the buzzwords you can think of, including bloody and horrible.
And the end? The end, Charlie Brown stabs both of them and grabs his prize.
We’re So Delicious, the Homeless Stab For Us — Coca-Cola.
Oh, E-Trade — we all thought you were so cute! A baby, a baby buying stock! It’s so easy! And then the market plummeted hundreds of points and collectively, we all remembered this commercial and thought — it’s that [email protected] E-Trade baby. So, now, E-Trade, you’re in the same boat as your old friend Career Builder. It’s not that you’re not useful, it’s that, people are now less likely to buy stock as, generally, they’d rather buy food. With that in mind…
A family sits around the table, the E-Trade baby stares sadly at the lone pea on its plate. After a moment, one of its siblings skewers the bean with his fork and eats it — the baby is heartbroken, until he looks up and clicks the mouse. “With E-Trade, buying stocks is easy.” He says, adorably, “And the thing about stocks is that, theoretically, you could print and eat your stock reports at the click of a button.”
He takes a bite out of AIG stock.
Hit Rock Bottom With Us — E-Trade.
Remember this commercial from 2007? Can it be anymore poignant? A robot daydreaming of his own failure (a faulty screw, it seems) which is so powerful that he considers throwing himself off the bridge. So, now it’s 2009 and GM robots aren’t just considering suicide, they’re being shot in back alleys to save some cash. So, what’s an ad look like for a company that’s a loose screw away from bankruptcy?
We open on the CEO of GM talking to Congress — he’s talking but we don’t hear it, instead, a sad song plays loudly over the proceedings. No one appears to be listening to the CEO of GM and a lone dollar (a theoretical faulty screw, if you will) drifts out of his pocket. Everyone stares at it, he looks up, tears in his eyes. Then… he’s on the side of the road, inviting people to rent condos… he’s in front of McDonalds, holding their drive-thru speaker, and finally, finally, he’s on a bridge. He stares at the GM trucks driving by — all byyy myseeeelf — and, in his eyes, we realize he’s given up, bailout or not, he’s run his company into the ground — all byyy myseeeelf — maybe he shouldn’t have flown to Congress in a private jet or maybe he shouldn’t have given himself a salary that rivals a small countries economy — don’t want to be, all byyy myseeeelf — and then, then, then he leaps.
To his death.
And we fade out.
Put Us Out Of Our Misery — GM.
If you take a razor, cut off your face and then pour three cups of salt on the bleeding, gaping wound, it would still be more fun than watching anything that Carlos Mencia ever does. It’s as if, at some point, Satan appeared before him and granted him fame at the price of a sense of humor. What’s worse about this Bud Light commercial is that, for years afterwards, it was on at least six to seven times an hour — it was, along with the Plague and the World Wars, one of the worst things that’s ever happened to humanity. The market didn’t crash because of a housing bubble popped, it crashed because after years of watching Mind of Mencia, the citizenry of America subconsciously committed economic suicide.
So, here’s how to fix all that, Bud Light…
We fade up on Carlos Mencia in a gladiator ring — lions, and tigers and bears, oh my, are released from gates all around. People cheer and scream joyfully as the animals maul him to death. Tears of joy stream down the patrons and we see a close-up of Carrot Top, sitting alone at the very top of the stands, shedding a single tear.
Carlos Mencia Doesn’t Taint Our Watery Beer Any Longer — Bud Light.
Who can forget Apple Computers’ 1984 commercial? Is it ironic that Apple almost went out of business in the years after? Is it even more ironic that now everyone owns an iPhone and talks about it as if, perhaps, they’ve been tortured for so long that they’ve learned to trust Big iPhone, to need Big iPhone and to love Big iPhone? Well, it’s 2009 and while Apple isn’t hemorrhaging money quite as much as the other guys, they did announce that they’re pulling out of Macworld (now just called World), so maybe it’s time to not only redo a classic but to do it on the cheap.
A giant iPhone screen plays a YouTube video of a turtlenecked tyrant tirading on the future of technology and boom, boom, booming his way into new products. People sit rapt in a shimmering white room, not watching the screen but watching their own iPhones, which play the exact same thing the screen is playing. A shot of the hallways — nothing is happening. A wideshot on the room — no one is running in. Nothing is happening — the tyrant tyrants onward.
A voiceover says, “In January, Apple Computers will introduce nothing. Why? Because. iPhone.”
We Don’t Have To Try Anymore — Apple.
…and that’s just some of our ideas. Remember, we’re a barely profitable outfit — we’re not entitled to get federal bailouts and/or handouts, so we’ll give you this special one time deal.
We will film these commercials for you (and more!) for just a few thousand dollars each. By we, of course, I mean the production team that made Break a Leg — one of the most successful online shows this world has ever seen.
Let us help you. Let us lessen the hurt on your wallets, let us take you by your hand and cheaply, joyfully, virally take you into the new year.
Offer expires February 1st, 2009.