Pacman, good dads, Bryant Gumbel and the Brady Bunch — this year’s crop of Super Bowl ads banks on sap.
This Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, millions of people will tune in to watch companies vie for their hearts and wallets. And, oh yeah, also to watch some football.
Canadians, go online
But you don’t have to wait until Sunday to watch the ads — many of them are already posted to YouTube. Almost 70 ads and teasers have been posted to the site, up 55 per cent from the year before, according to YouTube data. All commercials will be available on YouTube by Feb. 2.
That’s good news for vexed Canadians, who year-after-year are cruelly denied the big-budget, big-splash American ads that play south of the border.
Canadians get shortchanged the good stuff because local companies buy air time on Canadian networks who have paid for the exclusive right to air the game, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Even if you do subscribe to an American network that airs Sunday’s big game, the CRTC substitutes in a Canadian signal in order to protect Canadian broadcaster and companies.
Because of this impediment, Canadians have become some of YouTube’s most loyal viewers for Super Bowl ads. Canadians are more likely to search YouTube for “super bowl commercials” than Americans, according to Google Trends. And worldwide, the commercials have now been viewed 44 million times, 25 per cent more than last year.
The Superbowl of sap
This year’s crop of ads is banking on nostalgia to reach audiences.
Good dads get more than their due. A Dove ad milks the tears with its Dove Men + Care campaign, featuring heartwarming clips of kids of all ages calling out to their fathers.
Nissan “Playtime with Dad” shows popular YouTube toddler Action Movie Kid letting his imagination run wild as he plays games and rides in the car with his dad.
Although some ads tug at the heartstrings with videos about homesickness and childhood, many use nostalgia as a way to get laughs.
A Snickers ad starring rough and gruff actor Danny Trejo spoofs the Brady Bunch, probably the most nostalgia-inducing TV show of the past 50 years. The actor is seen brushing his trademark long hair in the mirror like Marcia Brady.
In another installment of its popular #UpforAnything campaign, Bud Light gets a bar-hopping dude to play a live game of Pac Man, the popular ’80s arcade game.
And a gently funny BMW ad featuring former Today Show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel combines old clips of the technophobic duo with new footage of the two riding in the company’s eco-chic model, the BMW i3.
There’s one Super Bowl ad Canadians won’t be missing on Sunday. GoDaddy pulled its ad, which features a Golden Retriever puppy getting sold online, after brutal backlash from animal rights activists.
And unsurprisingly, with numerous football players embroiled in domestic violence scandals, the NFL is sponsoring a domestic violence PSA for NoMore.org.
The video is disturbing — a frantic woman dials 911 to “order a pizza” so that she can reach the police without her husband knowing while pictures of a house upturned play.
Whether or not one ad makes up for the league’s damaged image, hopefully, its prime-time spot will reach the people it needs to.