No Stars for You: Confessions of a Super-Bowl Ad Critic

PuppyMonkeyBabyThe Super Bowl is weird this year. It’s not that I couldn’t care any less about the Atlanta Falcons vs the New England Patriots. I watched the Panthers vs the Patriots in 2004, so I guess I’ll watch this.

But this is the first time in 16 years that I haven’t spent the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl hyperventilating about the Super Bowl commercials. You see, I used to review Super Bowl ads. Some critics review movies and books. I reviewed incredibly expensive commercials.

Until December of last year, I worked at Advertising Age, the trade magazine that serves as the bible of the industry. It’s a pretty godless industry, but one of the High Holy Days is the Super Bowl. Companies across the spectrum, from beer to super glue to floor mats for cars, pay the hosting network insane amounts of money to run ads during the most-watched thing on TV. This year, Fox was raking in $5 million for 30 seconds of air time. That cost doesn’t include production of ads larded with special effects, CGI animals, celebrities and “humor.” Continue reading “No Stars for You: Confessions of a Super-Bowl Ad Critic”

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What the WSJ Really Said About Madden

Jeff Bercovici and at least one person at the Wall Street Journal share my feelings about the prospect of hearing John Madden slobber his way through this weekend’s game. The Journal had one of those polite pieces hinting at why the Big Man should retire with some dignity before he gets any more like Pat Summerall, who’s trotted out for a yearly shamefest during Fox’s BCS coverage. (Before anyone jumps my shit, I think both of them were once stellar at their jobs. And Madden’s video games are not only spectacular games, they actually teach you the real-life rules of a very complicated sport.)

Bercovici does the world a service by translating the Journal article from journalismese into regular English.

A sample:

Futterman: “[A]s exalted as his position has become, and as beloved as he is, Mr. Madden has, at times this season, struggled with the facts.”

Translation: John Madden is an old person who forgets things and makes other things up.