Op-Ed: Super Bowl XLIX: You Paid $4 Million to Air THAT?

If you’re like me, the Super Bowl isn’t as interesting if you don’t have a team you can really root for. My home team (the San Francisco 49ers) has a long standing rivalry with the Seahawks, further fueled by the enduring clash of their coaches Jim Harbaugh (49ers) and Pete Carroll (Seahawks), which dates back to their former glory days as collegiate coaches for Stanford and USC.  The Patriots are a well-established team with plenty of championship rings, but with their recent allegations of cheating during the AFC championship left unresolved, there is no desire or reason for me to support either team. So what’s a girl to do without a team during Super Bowl XLIX? Look forward to the commercials I suppose (and the snacks). I went ahead and searched what are expected to be the best ads playing on Super Bowl Sunday, and now I am deeply concerned for the future of televised marketing.

After shelling out $4 million for only 30 seconds on air, you would think to put together your best, brightest, most creative team to sell your product. Unfortunately, it is practically an identical batch of ads that we watch year after year.  Many brands stick to their signature commercial image, i.e. Carl’s Jr. throwing a massive burger in the hands of a busty blonde, and Bud Light hosting a huge party that’s main selling point is completely unrelated to their product. The first set of commercials I found was this compilation:

You paid $4 million for THAT? How does Mindy Kaling having the time of her life eating a tub of ice cream and sitting naked in the park as an invisible woman sell Nationwide insurance? Why in the hell is Terrell Owens oiled up and baking pies shirtless? Bro, that’s dangerous. Why aren’t these funny? These were so painful to watch.

The only redeeming commercial is made by Snickers who portrays a hungry Marsha Brady played by Danny Trejo (aka Machete) violently brushing his hair. This is one of the best Snickers ads I have seen that sticks to their signature brand, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” Also, picking Danny Trejo for your commercial practically guarentees it’s success- I mean, come on, he’s Machete.

The second mess of advertisements I found was titled, “Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials 2015,” and I was hopeful that the first video I watched was merely a collection of the less impressive ads so that when the best ones air, they will be better received.  Sadly, I was wrong (fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, make better commercials these are awful).

To sum up these ads, I would like to quote one of the actors in the Bud Light commercial, “What is going onnnnnn?!” This compilation had its moments with a trapeze sloth and some hedgehogs in mini soap box cars, in addition to Dove+Care creating a heartwarming family-orientated ad that also discouraged harmful homogenized concepts of masculinity. Despite it’s good moments, this collection gets pretty uncomfortable to watch too, especially when Geico portrays an elderly white man saying “who’s got swag now,” as he stands next to his silent trophy wife who is asked to turn and show the audience her big booty. Can we stop using black women as props please?

Like many Super Bowl ads before 2015, women are often depicted as sex objects. One of the biggest users of this marketing tactic is Carl’s Jr. I am well aware that sex sells, but what do large breasts have to do with selling a burger? It might make a little more sense if it was a chicken sandwich, but where is the connection between all natural beef and all natural breasts to make this a reasonable selling point for their product? Call me a dreamer, but I would love to see an advertisement that crushes the misogyny that prevails in these kinds of commercials.

Although the majority of the ads during the Super Bowl this year make me want to roll my eyes back so far into by head that I go blind, there is one shining beacon of hope: Kim Kardashian’s T-Mobile Data Stash commercial.

It is my hope that one day televised marketing will return to its former glory of talking E-Surance babies and green-garbed lads who dance for Starburst’s Berries & Cream, but until then, my attention during Super Bowl commercial breaks will be focused on the hot wings, chips, onion dip (because you know that’s my jam).

This article is an op-ed. The opinions presented in this piece are that of the author and not necessarily that of Her Campus.