Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl Ads

One of the first ads out of the gate once the Super Bowl got started was a Doritos spot featuring a young male sitting on a park bench eating Doritos, and a dog wearing an anti-bark shock collar. For anyone who didn't see it, you can take a look a But this is the gist --
The dog comes up to the guy, begging for a Dorito. The guy notes the anti-bark collar, holds up a Dorito, and says "You want this? You have to speak." The dog wisely does not oblige, but does move off, take off the shock collar with his paws (in an anatomical impossibility, of course, but hey, this is fantasy), then moves behind the bench and puts the shock collar on the guy. The dog then barks, which shocks, the guy, he falls off the bench, and the dog has his head in the Doritos bag, eating happily. When the guy starts to get up, the dog barks again, and the guy flops around on the ground like a fish.
This was a big hit in my household. I don't know what the ad agency intended viewers to think (other than buy Doritos), but I view it as a perfect example of the just comeuppance of the unthinking young male who thinks it is funny to shock the dog. I am not painting all young males with this brush, but there seems to be a substantial segment who find great humor in things like shock collars and potty jokes (reference the popularity of any number of recent Adam Sandler or Jack Black movies). And having a dog turn the tables, get what he wants, and shock the offending human in the bargain was pretty funny to me.
I have heard from others that they were offended by the violence, or upset that this was meant to be humorous. And I can't help them. If you're offended by this level of violence, with it happening to the "right" party, then how do you exist in the world? And if you can't see humor as an effective weapon against things such as shock collars, then you're missing the boat. I mean, come on, I had a very small part in writing for M*A*S*H, and that was humor used to the utmost advantage to lampoon war.
Of course, the less controversial animal ad was the annual Budweiser Clydesdale feel-good entry, this year with a young Clydesdale befriending a Texas longhorn. That was pleasant. The Denny's screaming chickens got to be annoying by the end of the game, I thought.

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