Daniel W. Drezner

When Abe Vigoda is the best you can do….

Your humble blogger watched the Super Bowl and found it both surprising and entertaining.  I’d read so many paeans to Peyton Manning over the past week that I’d come to believe that the game itself was just a formality. Oops. The ads, however, have made me fear for America. The Super Bowl is the place ...

TIMOTHY A. CLARY
TIMOTHY A. CLARY

Your humble blogger watched the Super Bowl and found it both surprising and entertaining.  I’d read so many paeans to Peyton Manning over the past week that I’d come to believe that the game itself was just a formality. Oops.

The ads, however, have made me fear for America. The Super Bowl is the place to launch memorable campaigns. For most of my adult life, I can remember laughing pretty hard at a couple of the ads at the very least. 

This year? Dear God, they were abysmal. It’s telling that the funniest one was the Snickers spot featuring Betty White and Abe Vigoda. And the Coke ad featuring The Simpsons was kind of intriguing, with a very anti-populist message. 

Other than that, the ads showed as much snappiness as The Who’s halftime show — which is to say, none at all. There were back-to-back ads where the joke was not wearing pants. My son described the Intel ad as "kind of creepy." The Audi Green ad was so over-the-top about eco-protection that for 90 percent of the ad I thought it was trying to covince Americans to block any measures to halt global warming. This Bridgestone ad was downright offensive. And, as near as I can figure, all of the Bud Light ads were designed by people forced to imbibe at least a keg of their product.

Screw the National Export Initiative — the Obama administration should set minimal quality standards  for Super Bowl ads.   

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies. His latest book is The Toddler in Chief. Twitter: @dandrezner

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