Super Bowl 47 was played last night — and while it was a great game — the whole spectacle of the Super Bowl is totally played out.  The halftime show is boring and unspectacular — how many times do we have to see Beyoncé bouncing her booty in our homes to get the point that she has an enormous butt?  The television commercials are predictable.  The “funny” commercials always end in a jokey, visual, “gotcha” you can see coming a mile away — while the “serious” commercials drip a sugary false-sympathy that enrages one to screaming and bloodletting.

Here are the two worst Super Bowl 47 television commercials.  They are the worst because they try to play up to the best of us, but they only play down to us by trying to yank — not tug or pull — on our jaded and withering heartstrings.

The first failure involves a Jeep commercial — BOOMINGLY narrated by OPRAH! — where she tries as hard as she can to squeeze out some authenticity for the “troops” who will make us “whole again” as a nation when they return home so we can all buy a Jeep and be good Americans.  Really?  You’re using soldiers, and their families, to play a heightened jingoistic meme — to sell us Jeeps?  I’ve never seen such a brash crassness before and instead of making me weep a little, I was raging at the TV screen for trying so hard to be so manipulative and “memorable” — and I was disappointed, but not really surprised, Oprah lent her voice and reputation to such a condescending and cloying commercial:

The second most-awful television commercial of Super Bowl 47 was one that took a similar, emotionally manipulative, angle on us to sell us — a Dodge Ram Truck!

I grew up listening to Paul Harvey’s News and Comment and when I heard Paul’s voice pumping from my television, I stopped to listen.  His narrative was bright and Godly and all about farmers — great stuff, because his performance was delivered long ago in a live hall to a room filled with people and, unlike the icky Oprah, Paul Harvey was trying to celebrate farmers back then, not sell us a motor vehicle in 2013:

We can forgive Paul Harvey for his horrible involvement in selling us trucks, because he died in 2009, but we cannot forgive Dodge Ram Trucks or the Paul Harvey estate for what they’ve done to ruin the reputation of the dead newsman.  Sure, Paul Harvey was all about selling the word — his word — but if Paul were alive today, I can’t imagine he’d let his glorious farmer narrative be used in such a dead and crass manner.

We all know Oprah is a media hooker — and always will be — but her involvement in exploiting the military to sell us a Jeep is probably the worst misstep a celebrity will make this year, and we’re barely out of January.


  1. Do you think it will be possible to have a Super Bowl without any television commercials one day? They just never stop and take up the whole football game.

    1. I think the Super Bowl is now played so television commercials can be aired. You could have a Super Bowl with fewer interruptions, but there’s no way to avoid somebody trying to sell you something. I wish the Super Bowl would have ONE sponsor — who would pay for everything, and we wouldn’t have these fake “best of” Super Bowl TV commercial “debates” on TV and online.

      1. I have read that 58 ad spots sold this year, netting $75,000,000 for the network. That seems quite costly for one company to cover — albeit not impossible! They could have a series of advertisements, perhaps. Or maybe there would be no advertisements at all, and during the game they would just continually remind you that the game is being brought to you by that company.

        1. The Super Bowl should go Pay-Per-View. They’d make a whole lot more money, but the players wouldn’t like it as much because they wouldn’t get the same exposure.

      2. I agree, I think the Superbowl should be about, just that, the Superbowl. The fact that it has become advertising time of the year for some companies and the fact that I heard many people say they watch the Superbowl just for the commercials and who performs at the halftime show is beginning to become more and more painful every time I hear it.

        1. Right, Brielle! The Super Bowl is all about Big Old Money. It needs to get young again at halftime and in the advertising expectation. Young doesn’t have to mean immature, but rather “young” as in fresh and not over-saturated.

          We’re tired of the Doritos commercials and the gross out Go Daddy stuff that is all so predictable. Why can’t we have a fresh halftime performance instead of a droning monotone of a group that is either washed up or on its way down the hill?

          Give me the Alabama Shakes instead of Beyonce, or Madonna or The Who, or the Rolling Stones or Springsteen or Aerosmith… and I’ll be happy! SMILE!

          1. Oh wow! I would love it if Aerosmith were to perform at the halftime show! A beautiful display of King and Queens or Dream On is definitely something I would NEVER hesitate watch over and over again.

          2. I am so glad I am not the only person who thought that! American Idol has gotten out of control too, but what can you do? Anyway, back to the awesomeness that is Steven Tyler, I seriously need to go listen to my Nine Lives album or at least my Best of…

  2. I remained in blissful ignorance of the whole spectacle – except for these snippets here. Facebook opinion was that the Doritos advert was the worst . I love the idea of having one sponsor for the event – with maybe each advert or entertainment piece reflecting a different aspect of their product. How about taking it a stage further and getting schools and colleges – or universtities each produing an advert for the product and the top ten or twenty being aired at the Superbowl . If you want to keep it semi commercial you could have a representative from the advertising agencies mentoring the teams – a great lesson in trickle down economics – and a great investment back into the community.

    1. Lucky you! SMILE!

      I watch the Super Bowl because I do enjoy the spectacle of it all — and in the past, it used to be fun and enjoyable — but now all the advertising is mean and crass and humiliation-humor based. It’s disgusting to watch because it is all so cynical.

      I love your college plan! That would return the game to the people instead of having the whole event overrun with trying to sell you something.

      1. Honestly, I don’t even watch the Super Bowl but twitter kept peaking my curiosity with all the commentary about certain commercials, so I went and looked them up on youtube. The Dodge Ram farmer commercial honestly was pretty powerful in the telling of the farmer’s story, but totally baffled me when the commercial turned out to be about the truck:/. The other commercial that left me wide-eyed was the Go Daddy commercial, I don’t understand how that stunt could possibly get them any more customers because that was just awckward to watch.

        1. Hiya, and thanks for the excellent comment!

          I think both commercials I mentioned are quite good in how they manipulate emotion — except for the last 10 seconds of each as the logo and visual sales pitch are made, and that ruins the entire effort and you feel ripped off for caring about a vehicle. If they must manipulate us like that… leave us wondering who sponsored that commercial… and if we look it up later on our own, it might begin to feel more honest and genuine and less “Buy This Now!”

          Are you talking about the Go Daddy commercial with the Supermodel kissing the ugly Geek? If so, “Yuck!” — and, that’s what Go Daddy wants, right? A YUCK response — and yet that makes no sense. My wife actually screamed when she saw them kissing and, after she recovered, I asked her, “What were they selling? She didn’t know. She guessed it had to be Doritos or something you eat because they were sharing spit and mouth tonsils. That, to me, is a failure of advertising when the very people you want to reach leave the room screaming and then later they think you’re selling corn chips instead of websites.

          1. no problem! and yes I was talking about the kissing Go Daddy commercial. I was having a discussion with my roommates about it because we all saw it at the same time and we came to the conclusion that what made that commercial tough to watch was not only the image but the fact that they heightened the kissing sounds, which just made you feel like you were watching something you shouldn’t. We did all agree that we didn’t understand how that could possibly be a good sales pitch, or why Danica Patrick such a powerful woman, that has broken stereotypes around the racing world lends herself to these kinds of commercials.

  3. I agree about the Jeep commercial. Actually if it had JUST been for USO, I would have loved it. But it’s Hallmark-like in its heartstring tugging (and I mean that as a compliment) but wish it had JUST been a PSA for troop support/USO/returning vets etc. On the other hand, I really thought the RAM truck commercial was a good use of the Paul Harvey Farmer Tribute (which I had never heard before); that one worked for me perfectly. I think Paul Harvey would have found it a loving, subtle use of his words.

    1. Hi Nancy!

      I know you have a deep and rich background in advertising and I appreciate your commentary.

      The Paul Harvey piece was new to me as well — I loved that it was wild-live recorded at some mysterious performance in the past. It was effective, but I think they also sped up his voice a bit to fit the 2-minute mark for the commercial. Paul was all about dramatic pauses and creating tension. That commercial makes him sound like a runaway train…

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