Superman of the Super Bowl

06.02.2012

What makes a Super Bowl spot super? Is it production values? Story-telling? Relevance to the zeitgeist? Or simply the ineffable “I’ll know it when I see it.” Last night’s extravaganza had a little of everything, but mostly the spots were ordinary. Expensively ordinary and unimaginative. There was the cheerfully repellent (Go Daddy, please go away!), baffling (is TaxACT a financial planning tool or pool filtration system?), inane (we’re talking to you, MetLife. I can do without Peanuts and the other cartoon characters.) and, others, very good but ultimately not great (the Doritos-bribing dog). But then, just as I had resigned myself to two more quarters of boredom, came Clint Eastwood, striding across the screen, ready, as always, to save the game and the day. “Half-time in America” never sounded so hopeful and “imported from Detroit” never seemed so desirable. Everything came together in an organic and affecting way–the cinematography and editing, the casting (not just Eastwood) and above all the messaging. Here was something we could all believe in and rally behind. It’s not just a car, it’s a country. Candidates, start your engines.

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