By Tom Aschauer, Vice President, Executive Creative Director
I was asked to do the Super Bowl blog this year because, “Well, you know, you’re in the creative department and it’s the Super Bowl.”
“Yeah and we were hoping you’d do a review of all the spots.”
Aren’t there already a ton of those out there? I mean everybody does Super Bowl Advertising reviews. Besides, what if I don’t want to watch the whole game?
“Well, I guess you can do something else if you want.”
And so. Who cares about this year’s game? Let’s go back to the “dot-com” bowl of 2000, and my favorite Super Bowl ad of all time.
It was an E*TRADE spot. Not the “He’s got money out the wazoo” spot, which was pretty good, but the one that opened on a couple of inbred, odd-looking characters sitting in a garage, one on a cheap lawn chair, the other on a cooler. A monkey runs into the garage with a boom box (back before white ear buds had taken over the planet) and pushes the play button. A cheap, cheesy version of “La Cucaracha” starts playing. (BTW, translated, the lyrics are, “The cockroach can no longer walk because he doesn’t have hind legs.)
The odd-ball characters start slapping their hands in sync with the song and start swaying back and forth. The monkey, dressed in an E*TRADE T-shirt, stands on a small trash can and starts waving his hands wildly in the air. This goes on for about 10 seconds and then a super comes up that reads “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks” and then, “What are you doing with your money?” cut back to the inbred characters with their monkey smiling at the camera and then cut to a big E*TRADE logo.
And just why is it my favorite?
Are you kidding? It was fun just to write a synopsis of that spot.
It’s fun to imagine the reaction of the marketing director in the room when he first had it pitched to him. “Wait, did you say we open on a couple of inbred, odd-looking characters in a garage with a monkey?”
Because it was bizzaro before bizzaro became normal.
Because it poked fun at itself.
Because it was the epitome of what was going on at that time. Wild speculation and day-trading had the stock market looking like an EKG readout.
Because it was crafted by people who do this for a living, not as some publicity stunt where a large snack food maker cons its target audience into filming its commercials for free. Can you imagine the head of marketing for that large snack food maker being told that it has decided to crowd source next year’s marketing plan, and he can pack up his stuff and go home?
Because, you know what, it’s now 14 years later and I can still remember that spot like I saw it last night, and personally I can’t remember a single spot from last year’s game.
On a side note, you don’t really even have to watch the Super Bowl anymore to see the commercials. I suppose that’s been true in the past where you could wait until after the game and read one of the many reviews, but this year I have a feeling I’ve already seen most of the spots. I’ve seen Volkswagen’s, Hyundai’s, Audi’s, Kia’s, Toyota’s, Squarespace’s (perhaps the most confusing of the bunch), Go Daddy’s, and Dannon’s. Or at least those are the one’s that have showed up on Facebook at this point (and as of the writing on this piece, we’ve still got a half a week before the game). And several of these companies even did teasers for their spots. Now, why do a teaser if you’re just going to release the spot before the game? Maybe it was a crowd sourced idea.