Full House Super Bowl Ad

We’re still a week out from the Super Bowl, but some of the commercials that will air during the game have already began to pip up on line; loyal readers of the blog know how I feel about this, but this isn’t a trend that is going away. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle and more and more companies are going to continue to take advantage of the Interwebs to drum up excitement for their commercials and products in advance of the big game. I’m well aware that I’m tilting at windmills on this issue.

Today, one of the ads that I was most curious about was posted online: the Dannon Greek-yogurt ad that reunites the male leads from the 90s sitcom Full House. John Stamos (Uncle Jesse to people between under the age of 30) has been a spokesman for Dannon in previous ads, but for the Super Bowl they decided to bring out the big guns and bring back Bob Saget (Danny Tanner) and Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey) for a new spot (this may very well mark the first instance where Dave Coulier is referred to as “a big gun”).

 

The end result was fine, but not quite as funny as I hoped for. If anything the spot was a little racier than I would have anticipated, but otherwise it wasn’t all the memorable other than the fact it reassembled the actors. Perhaps there will be different version that airs during the game – one that explains what exactly happened to Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) since it sure appears that Stamos is dating again. I’m probably reading too much into this. Of course, this all would have probably been more entertaining had news of the reunion not been well publicized; because I knew the actors were reteaming, I had higher expectations than I would have if it had been a surprise.

I’m a little distressed that a brand is already cashing in on nostalgia for the 90s – wasn’t that just like yesterday? – but there is a long and proud tradition of bringing back “classic” characters for TV commercials. Old Navy in particular has made something of a cottage industry out of this. They brought back some Beverly Hills, 90201 actors…..

 

Much of the cast of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation…..

 

George and Louise from The Jeffersons (R.I.P. Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford)

 

The cast of The West Wing reunited for a political ad:

 

I don’t know what it is about seeing these familiar faces reassembled that makes people so happy (myself included); I don’t even harbor any real affection for Full House, as I was a little too old to be into ABC’s TGIF lineup when it originally aired, but it still makes me smile. I guess it is just nice to revisit something from your past every once in a while. Whatever the reason, this marketing ploy clearly works and it isn’t just limited to commercials. The surest way to get a boost for a television show is to have someone guest star on the show that co-starred with one of the leads in another project. I call it stunt casting, but it gets eyeballs on the TV which is what they are going for. I’ll admit it was nice to see Courtney Cox and Matthew Perry share the screen again on a recent episode of Cougar Town even though they were playing very different characters from Monica and Chandler on Friends.  Nostalgia is a funny thing.

So while I am looking forward to the game on Sunday (#TeamPeyton) and the halftime performance by Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I am most looking forward to another rumored reunion that will bring Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander and Larry David together at Tom’s Restaurant. You can’t go home again, but for thirty seconds you get to feel like you did.

Super Bowl Commercials

The Super Bowl is an unusual creature in that everyone – and I mean everyone – watches it. This Sunday at 6 pm EST, you know what pretty much the entire country will be doing. Among the most watched TV shows of all time, the last four Super Bowls rank #1, #2, #3 and #4. The M*A*S*H series finale is the only non-football event to crack the top 5.

You don’t have to be a sports fan to get caught up in all the hoopla. Super Bowl Sunday really has something for everyone. For the football fans, there is obviously the game. For gamblers, there are plenty of opportunities to place wagers. You can literally bet on everything: the score of the game, who throws the first interception, who gets the first touchdown, penalties and even the length of the National Anthem (you know – if gambling was legal). For some, the appeal is getting together with friends and consuming copious amounts of wings, pizza and beer. Other people just tune in for the halftime performance. And some people just love the commercials. With so many people tuning it, companies air some of their most inventive and original commercials during the Super Bowl. Often, it is these commercials that people will remember more than the actual game. This year, with two teams I dislike battling it out in the Super Bowl and a relatively lackluster halftime show choice (Madonna), I was particularly looking forward to seeing the commercials.

Which is why I am so annoyed that they keep leaking the commercials before the game.

Many advertisers seem hell-bent on eliminating the element of surprise for the commercials this year. I first noticed this when Volkswagen released their ad a few weeks ago. It was so far in advance of the game that I didn’t realize this was going to be their Super Bowl offering.  This week Honda released their ad featuring homage to a classic 80s movie, which sent the twitterverse all abuzz. This was a commercial that would have been a pleasant surprise on Sunday. Instead, now that it has received so much attention prior to the big game, I doubt anyone will give it a second look. I already know all the surprise cameos that will appear Acura’s commercial. It’s not just the car companies that are guilty of this – Coca Cola, Century 21, GoDaddy.com and H&M have all posted commercials as well.

Maybe this isn’t an issue for the average Super Bowl viewer. But for people like me who spend a lot of time online and using social media, these ads and info about their content can be hard to avoid. Even if I haven’t watched the videos, which I have been trying not to do, I know the general concepts for a lot of them.

I understand that we live in a spoiler culture. Putting the ads online after they have aired makes perfect sense to me. But by making the spots available ahead of time, it takes all the fun out of the Super Bowl. I have absolutely no incentive to pay attention. By the time some of these ads will air, I’m already tired of hearing about them. Instead of saying “Did you just see that?” on Sunday, these ads will be greeted with a chorus of “This again?” I hope that is what the advertisers were going for.

For those of you interested in scoping out the ads before the big game, a collection of them can be found at http://screenrant.com/super-bowl-commercials-2012-aco-149203/