Best Super Bowl Ads #4: “It’s Beautiful”, Coca Cola.
This Super Bowl Ad largely follows the successful “The American Dream” model. America is nothing, if not patriotic, and these slices of life are nothing if not aspirational Americana.
However, this one comes with a twist. America is a nation of immigrants, originally mostly from Europe, but in recent years, from all over the world. So what better way than to show what makes America great than to show its multi-cultural side. Nowhere is this more apparent than during a game like the Super Bowl, where over half of the players present are of African or Caribbean descent.
Of course, this didn’t go down well, especially in suburban, white, middle America, who reacted with outrage and disbelief. For example, the hashtag “#SpeakAmerican” quickly trended on twitter after the first airing. However, eventually, leveler heads generally won out, with the advert receiving a mostly positive response on YouTube. In spite of the apparent racial intolerance still rampant in some parts of the United States, this is a good advert, with a great message.
One wonders what the response would be to “God Save the Queen” or “Jerusalem” sung in multiple foreign languages were they to air this sort of advert in the UK. I hope it would be more positive and tolerant, though I fear it would not.
Worst Super Bowl Ads #4: “Body Builder” and “Puppet Master”, GoDaddy
GoDaddy seem to have made it a tradition—even a goal—to make the annual list of worst Super Bowl ads. This year, they have made it with two ads.
Historically, GoDaddy have done this by producing some of the most tactless, offensive, and poor taste commercials imaginable. In 2014, they took a step back from this, but not by much.
Body Builders highlighted, I guess, their search engine optimisation, using the #GetFound hashtag. However, it did it at the expense of a particular section of society, bodybuilders. Admittedly, this is not as offensive as some of their past commercials, and they can be easy targets. But the ad was still in pretty poor taste, making these people the butt of the joke.
The second advert highlighted “Puppets By Gwen“, the website which allowed Gwen Dean to quit her job in engineering. She did so on national TV, in front of millions. Apparently, a GoDaddy website allowed her to follow after her dream job, making and performing with puppets.
We can debate how truthful the story is, or if she really quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a puppeteer (as opposed to taking up a new one on GoDaddy’s payroll), but the real issue with this ad is that they over promised, and under delivered.
GoDaddy had been plugging that someone would quit their job in front of millions for weeks. We were expecting this person to call out their creeper boss, to tell all about the horrible conditions they were working in. We were expecting information and back story.
We didn’t get anything. She didn’t give us any background on her boss Ted, or who she worked for at all, just had a puppet deliver the “I quit” line. Kind of lame.
Taken alone, perhaps neither of these ads were so bad as to deserve a spot, but together, they are bad enough to make the list, if only because there is no congruity between them, no harmonious message.