Bloggers Bash Super Bowl Ads

This undated photo released by Nationwide Mutual Insurance shows Kevin Federline in the role of a fast-food worker in a clip from the Nationwide Super Bowl Ad "Life Comes at You Fast." The ad is scheduled to air during the Feb. 4, 2007, Superbowl.
AP Photo/Nationwide Mutual
Blogophile is written by's Melissa P. McNamara

Ads Not So Super?

Is the art of creating a creative Super Bowl ad lost? Corporate America spent about $85,000 per second of Super Bowl airtime, but many bloggers said most of the ads missed their mark.

Many bloggers were eager to weigh in with their lists of the funniest, dumbest and weirdest ads that aired during the big game. But Sarah Jean Snarker captured the overriding sentiment in the blogosphere that this year's ads were "pretty snoozy."

"We have once again been underwhelmed both by the game AND the ads that were supposed to be worth $2.6M/30-second slot. To be honest, I didn't see ANY worth that much coin," FairWeather Zealot adds. A blogger at It's On My TV agrees. "I thought they all lacked that edginess we've seen in past years," he writes.

"2007 was one of the worst years when it comes to Super Bowl ads. It seemed most companies either went the celeb or violence route, producing nothing near as powerful as Apple's 1984 or as addictive as Budweiser's Wassup," blogs.

Not surprisingly, many bloggers enjoyed the commercial spots created by amateurs. One of the ads that bloggers gave high marks was the Doritos ad created by an amateur for a little over $12.

"This contest-winning gem was reportedly made for $12 bucks. Take that Madison Ave," TampaBayBostonian blogs.

This year's crop of Super Bowl ads was notable also because they were available almost immediately online as they aired on television. Along with many others, CBS Sportline posted new ads after every quarter, iFilm has a section devoted to the ads, and other sites let visitors vote on their favorite spots.

The online availability of the ads also caused its own problems, as people were able to consider the ads long after they aired on television. Snickers decided to withdraw their spot — featuring two men hurting themselves after they accidentally kiss while sharing a candy bar — from their Web site after Masterfoods received complaints from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign that the commercial was homophobic.

But Blake Synder says the ads merely play to what viewers want to see. "Why is it that the need to communicate an idea quickly forces storytellers — and that's who creative ad execs are — to narrow their focus to the most primal conflicts and use the most basic emotions to get our attention?," Synder blogs. "Because those primal ads work — instantly and perpetually. All storytellers should take note."

If you haven't had your fill of the ads, you can view them here.

How Do Women Vote?

A Washington Post column about whether women will sweep Sen. Hillary Clinton into the White House is stirring up the blogosphere. The columnist's theory that women don't decide elections because "they're not rational political actors — they don't make firm policy commitments and back the candidates who will move society in the direction they want it to go" — has irked many bloggers.

Linda Hirshman, a retired professor of women's studies, contends that women "vote on impulse, and on elusive factors such as personality." She drew her thesis from conversations with several Washington married women who said they liked Sen. Clinton, citing her character but nothing about her political agenda or policy. Hirshman cites some statistical data to add that women are also less interested in politics than men are.

Do women put style over substance when it comes to voting? Au contraire, many feminist bloggers say.

"Hirshman portrays woman as lame political actors. I get the impression that she's just exasperated that they don't reliably support liberal causes," Ann Althouse blogs. "Which, of course, wouldn't make them lame. Quite the opposite."

"So Linda Hirshman has found 'studies' that validate her vitriolic claims about how dumb women are. Guess what, though? We actually register and vote in greater numbers than men do," Ann Bartow blogs at Feminist Law Professors.

Many, like Atrios, took issue with Hirshman's reliance on anecdotes from Washington women in her column. "Argument by anecdote (and, no, the plural of anecdote is not data) is usually inappropriate, especially when the argument is that women are a bunch of clueless nitwits," he blogs at Eschaton.

Some bloggers point out that women don't vote in a monolithic voting bloc anyway. "When writing about the 2008 Presidential election, it's ridiculous to think that women are a solid voting bloc who would choose a woman candidate based on her gender alone, even though she may not represent women's social and economic interests strongly or well," a blogger at Faux Real writes.

Still, some think Hirshman has a point, even if she relied on stereotypes to make it. "The bottom line is that you don't have to get into invidious gender stereotypes to understand that yes, HRC, as the first really viable female candidate for president, is likely to get votes from women that aren't just a function of policy agreements or political alignment," NewDonkey blogs.

Chilly Reception To Global Warming Offer

Climate change was very much on the minds of bloggers over the past week. And when a newspaper reported that scientists were offered $10,000 each by an ExxonMobile-funded conservative think tank for articles that emphasize the problems with a new U.N. report, it was all the talk online.