George Parker: was the Super Bowl ad audience gripped? Or taking a time out..

OK, so the Super Bowl fever is finally subsiding. The best news is that my favorite ad, “Loretta,” from Google has been ranked amongst the top three of the 62 spots that ran throughout the game. And, by the way, why does a game that has just 60 minutes playing time last all bloody day?

Moving on, even better than “Loretta’s” success was the abysmal failure of Der Trumpf’s spot, which ended up at 62 out of 62 in the rankings. He even got beat out by real billionaire, Michael Bloomberg’s spot which finished at 60. Listen guys, no one wants to watch your obvious bullshit whilst eating stale popcorn washed down with “Nuns “Piss.” Never forget, that on the list of least trusted professions, politicians come in dead last… And don’t even think to ask were ad people end up.

Anyway, ‘cos I am a sadist, necrophiliac and into bestiality (I love to flog dead horses) I will once again ask my perpetual question… Why would anyone in their right mind spend $5.6 million for a 30 sec spot – plus the humungous production costs – when in all probability the intended audience has just gone for a pee when your expensive epic runs? Not to mention that the spot has probably already aired a zillion times on other media. So, there are no surprises, let alone reactions.

Let’s go back to the archetypical Super Bowl spot off all time. Yes, Apple’s 1984. It only ran once…in reality, it actually ran twice. The pre-Super Bowl airing was at one o’clock in the morning, December 30th, 1983, on KMVT, Channel 11 in Twin Falls, Idaho. That’s right, fucking Idaho, a couple of hours down the highway from where I am writing this immortal prose. See, apart from potato vodka and me, Idaho is famous for a few other things.

The reason for this late 1983 airing was because it would be eligible for all the award shows the next year… Which it duly proceeded to clean up. My mate Steve Hayden shot it with Ridley Scott at Shepperton studios in London at a cost of about $650K. Which is chump change these days but was a fortune then. As I have explained in my previous writings, it bombed in focus groups (no surprise there!) And even GodJobs wanted to pull it… But they couldn’t sell the time, so were forced to run it. The rest is history.

Trivia question… What was the name of the British actress who threw the hammer at the screen? Ridley tried other women for the role, but after several sledgehammers flew out of control, one nearly killing an old lady walking down a path in Hyde Park, casting finally found a discus-throwing athlete named Anya Major. And during the shoot she wasn’t wearing an iPod either, ‘cos they hadn’t been invented yet.

Anyway, enough trivia. Last night’s ad epic was the Oscars, during which the great unwashed were able to avoid watching mega expensive spots they have already seen a million times by rushing off to the loo for a pee.

Isn’t advertising great? Just don’t ask the general public.

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About George Parker

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George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.