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Super Bowl 2017: Ads mostly unremarkable, but violence takes a new turn

Every year I watch the Super Bowl ads, hoping they’ll get better. I write about the ads because so much attention is paid to them, and they cost huge amounts of money. For Super Bowl 2017, the cost is $5.02 million for 30 seconds.

While last year I saw a small improvement in the ads, fewer sexist and ageist ads, violent ads continued to dominate this year, which along with the violent football game, is questionable TV viewing for kids.

However, one new disturbing type of ad emerged – T-Mobile’s ad featuring pain and sexual pleasure.

In a “fifty shades of grey” joke, a woman is led into a dark room by her boyfriend and told that he has something special for her. It’s a Verizon phone, and he tells her every time she goes over her data limit, she’ll be punished. When she says she likes to stream movies, he says punished again and cracks his whip. He says he loves getting hit with surprise fees.

Another T-Mobile ad shows a woman calling Verizon about her fees and having an organism when a male representative tells her about her fees.

The Fifty Shades books and movies promote violence against women. Making a joke about sex and punishment on television, with children watching, to sell products is terrible.

Violent ads

Although the companies advertising during the Super Bowl are offering fewer violent ads, dozens of violent movie, TV program, and video game ads were aired, with Fox running ads for its violent “24 Legacy” ad over and over.

Snickers. In an ad that was shot live, men are shot and walls fall down on people in an Old West scene.

Jack in the Box. In an ad for the new Triple Bacon Buttery Jack with bacon butter, a man is slapped when he tried to reach for a sandwich.

Wix.com. As a restaurant owner updates his home page, two people destroy his restaurant in a massive brawl.

Samsung: Its ad for virtual reality shows violent scenes, with a woman screaming in response.

Kia: Melissa McCarthy is portrayed as an eco warrior who, in her attempt to save the planet, is chased by a rhino, is flung from a boat into the side of a ship by a whale, is thrown down a cliff when she’s in the top of a tree that’s chopped down, and straddles an ice crevasse as it starts to form, then falls into it as a huge chunk breaks away.

Mercedes-Benz: Aging bikers fight, then rush out into the parking lot after getting a report that they’ve been “blocked in.” But the blocker is Peter Fonda, the original “Easy Rider,” who drives away in a Mercedes.

Best ads

Budweiser: The ad tells the story of Adolphus Busch, a German immigrant who came to American and co-founded the St. Louis-based brewery.

Audi: As a girl takes part in soapbox derby race, her dad asks if he should tell her the ways society tells females they aren’t as good as males. As she wins the race, he says maybe he’ll be able to tell her something difference.

Wonderful Pistachios: A cartoon Ernie the Elephant says the nuts are healthy while he’s on a treadmill. Ernie falls off, smashing the treadmill. Then he tells people the treadmill is broken.

Honda: Celebrities, talking from photos in their high school yearbooks, tell people to follow their dreams

Silly ads

Many of the Super Bowl ads are in the silly category.

Mr. Clean: Mr. Clean, a buff man dressed in tight white clothes, cleans a woman’s home, then the two of them start dancing. Mr. Clean morphs into her husband, who she then pushes onto the couch for some romance.

Sprint: A man, accompanied by his two children, pushes his car off a cliff. A Sprint guy comes up and tells him you don’t have to fake your own death to get out of a Verizon contract.

Turbo Tax: Humpty-Dumpty has fallen off a wall while doing his taxes. As he’s being put back together again, people are asking why he was doing his taxes on a wall. He says because you can.

Ford: People are stuck on a ski life, stuck in a wet suit, and locked out of the house. They get unstuck.

Avocados From Mexico: A secret society, with members dressed in robes, is chastised by its leader for leaks. It’s supposed to be keeping secrets from society. But the secret is out about avocados, so they crowd around a table and scarf down guacamole and chips.

Skittles: A teenage boy throws rocks at a girl’s window, trying to get her attention. Inside her bedroom, in front of her bed, her family members who are sitting down roll by as if on a conveyor belt, trying to catch Skittles in their mouths. Then come a burglar, a policeman, and a rat.

H&R Block: In a high-tech box, the advantages of IBM’s Watson computer are lavishly described. Then we’re told the powers of the Watson computer are being harnessed by the tax preparation firm.

Febreze: We’re asked if our bathroom is ready for a “halftime bathroom break.”

Bud Light: Spuds, a dog ghost, shows a young man what he’s missing by not going out with his friends at night.

I could go on and on, writing about the silly ads offered for this year’s Super Bowl.

In 2016, $210 billion was spent on advertising in the United States. It greatly determines what we want and what we spend.

I write about these ads because consumers are so influenced by advertising.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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