Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Commercial Break: Punch Buggy Super Bowl

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 8, 2010

It’s hard to say why the Saints winning the Super Bowl left me so underwhelmed this year. Maybe it’s because I’m still reeling from that NFC Championship Game. Maybe it’s because I got too personally invested in Peyton Manning making his stake as the greatest quarterback of all time and somehow making the once-infallible Tom Brady seem like something of a decade afterthought. Maybe it’s because I still don’t understand how, for the life of me, that fucking on-side kick actually worked (BAAASKETTTTTT!!!!!!) Maybe it’s just because the volume was low on the TV on the party where I was watching. Or maybe it’s because, for what seems like at least the third year in a row, the commercials ranged from average to disappointing to downright offensive (no, Bud Light, putting in T-Pain at the end does not make it OK for you to do another autotune-themed commercial about two years after its sell-by date).

Only two ads seemed consensus standouts in any sort of positive way: The Google “Parisian Love” ad and the Volkswagen “Punch Buggy” ad. Not much to say about the former–just a nice, clever, well-structured spot that makes you wonder why more big companies don’t go the understated route. (Well, excet for Taco Bell, for whom this absolutely mortifying Charles Barkley ad probably does register as understated). But about the Punch Buggy spot, the questions and comments abound. Let’s take a look:

  • First and foremost, good for Grizzly Bear. I guess after the official Jay-Z endorsement it was only matter of time, but it seems to be a legitimately crossover indie artist these days, you need to have your Feist/Shins/Phoenix moment in the big-business advertising sun. It’s still no The Trio–honestly, what ever will be–but don’t be surprised if “Two Weeks” suddenly makes a long-delayed leap onto the pop charts in a week or two.
  • When did the “extended montage of random people assaulting each other” commercial become such a Super Bowl advertising staple? We already had the Bud Light “Slapping is the new Fist Bumping” set a couple years ago, which was bizarrely returned to in a CBS NCIS spot this year as well. I mean, I like spontaneous worldwide explosions of causeless violence as much as anyone, but it’s a little bit of an odd trend, no?
  • Was I the only one hoping that when they showed the pregnant woman in the car, that her husband was going to punch her in the stomach? I’m not quite sure what it says about me as a person that I was very disappointed that this didn’t happen, but c’mon, how often do you get to see pregnant women punched on national TV? (AC would have approved, certainly). And if that’s so terrible, how come it was OK to show that kid punching Grandpa in the balls?
  • Has any disabled celebrity ever loved using his disability for yuks more than Stevie Wonder loves making blind-related jokes? I’m betting the conversation with the VW brass about his appearing in the commercial went something like this:

    VWB: “Hey Stevie, we got this new viral commercial campaign we’re working on, and we’re all big fans of yours in the VW family, so we were wondering if…”
    Stevie: “Does it involve me making some sort of joke about how I can’t see?”
    VWB: “Oh, well, uh, yeah, I mean, if that’s OK with you…”
    Stevie: “Great!!! I’m in! Only, can we get my favorite comedian and godson Tracy Morgan to be in it too?”

  • Actually, one note about the Google ad, courtesy of friend of the blog Lisa Berlin: “Are there really people who turn to Google for advice on how to impress women?” Only if they already don’t know who Francois Truffaut is, I guess.

7 Responses to “Commercial Break: Punch Buggy Super Bowl”

  1. Leslie said

    “Was I the only one hoping that when they showed the pregnant woman in the car, that her husband was going to punch her in the stomach?”

    WHAT? You are a terrible person.

  2. Erick said

    really was expecting that youtube to be Animal Collective… I think they have a song with the same name

  3. Collin said

    on a slightly bragging side note…i know the kid who made the google ad.

  4. Kyle said

    Co-opting the Punch-Bug game and applying it to ALL models of VW autos does not make for a good commercial. The game only works for beetles, they should know better than that.

    Hence, Google wins.

  5. g said

    holy shit @ that pregnant woman thing

  6. JZ said

    The autotune ad wasn’t a game-changer, but…Zibby Allen! She’s always welcome in any commercial I’m watching, be it for Lowe’s, beer, or…High Fructose Corn Syrup!!!.

  7. Lisa B said

    Woooo, a coveted blog shout-out! Anyway, I will go against the popular tide and say I am pleased by the thought of the commercial guy punching the pregnant woman where it hurts, especially if she’s the one for whom the crib must be assembled at the end of the Google ad. What does that say about ME as a person? Don’t answer that.

    Also, in case you care, the embedded video isn’t working at the moment.

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