—For Craig Redmond, the automaker’s “Brothers” ad is a winner for sharing a heartwarming story about the McKeevers “overcoming the unimaginable”—
A a funny thing happened when I went searching for a great 2022 Super Bowl ad. It found me instead, while watching U.S. Olympics coverage of curling on NBC. And even more ironic? I really hate curling.
Now, forgive me if you’re a devout heaver of the stone, a sweeper and proud hailer of the “HARD!”, a bonspiel buff and connoisseur of that revolting cocktail concoction only true curlers can consume: The Clamato Beer.
But my dislike of the sport was pebbled into me during my high school years spent working in a curling rink—getting up at 5 a.m. to prepare the ice, only to be greeted by the rank aroma of the previous night’s cigarette butts, stale Labatt 50, and the loitering presence of floating flatulence left over from seniors night, all preserved in the refrigerated ice air.
But that’s a whole other tale.
I embarked on my search by watching what I now call the “premature emancipation” of all the Super Bowl ads that CMOs feel compelled to share a week before they spend millions of dollars for 30 seconds of time during the game itself. And I think, like most of you, that foreplay left me utterly unaroused.
Hellman’s fatally fumbled, getting former New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo to match Reebok’s genius Terry Tate commercial—one of the funniest Super Bowl spots ever—and making sure it wasn’t even close to being as much fun as the original.
Reebok (Tate original)
Planet Fitness, meanwhile, pulled out that familiar formula of resurrecting washed up Hollywood celebrities by posing the question, “What got into Lindsay Lohan.” To which most of us would answer, who cares?
BMW suffered a dreaded fail so many brands have endured in Super Bowls of yore. Pre-empting the pre-emptive reveal of the big game commercial with a teaser ad so much more entertaining than the actual spot. A teaser that is completely highjacked by the deadpan performance of a befuddled barista.
I did have a chuckle watching Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen reminisce over a bag of Lays, but for me Rogen just has to laugh his stoner laugh and it summons a chuckle.
I thought the smartest effort came from Salesforce with its lampooning of gazillionaire astronauts and their latest claim to conquering the metaverse. But the rebuke is personified by the smarmy Matthew McConaughey, and ends just mercifully short of his patented, “Alright, alright, alright.” And thus gets a post-game, “meh.”
So, as foreshadowed back at the beginning, I encountered my favourite Super Bowl commercial entirely unexpectedly—watching my least favourite Olympic event, on an American channel I only ever visit to watch Saturday Night Live. Perhaps that’s why it caught me so off guard, and without my customary overly critical creative chapeau properly affixed.
Will it win any awards? Nope. Will I invite the cynical ire of industry peers for praising a Super Bowl spot that isn’t super unconventional? Probably. Will it get derided for being overly maudlin? I don’t care.
Because after choking down a steady diet of U.S. news coverage and late-night talk show ridicule of a certain section of Canada’s population flaunting their ignorance and bigotry at the border and in cities across our widely admired nation, this was a welcome reprieve.
It’s a story of insurmountable brotherly love. Of overcoming the unimaginable. A story of Paralympic glory, presented by a car company that isn’t peddling metal. And a story steeped in wonderfully humble Canadian pride, but celebrated on U.S. media and seen by millions on the world’s greatest advertising stage.
So, forgive me for being a smidge biased.
Now if these McKeever brothers had been curlers, w-e-l-l-l-l.