Free Range Free Chat

Happy Monday News Viewers, welcome to our Monday free chat. All topics all the time with the rule being non-assholishness and basic civility. Yesterday was the Super Bowl, and while football’s not my thing, the commercials are fun.

Here is Slate’s opinion of the best and the worst for this year: what do you think? None rise to the level of The Cat Herders, but that kind of genius may come once in a life time.

The Best:

I’ll raise a cold one to Bud Light’s unexpectedly mellow spot this year, in which actor Miles Teller and his real-life wife Keleigh Sperry Teller popped open some beers and danced like goofs to the sound of hold music while waiting on an interminable customer service call. The ad was sweet, funny, and true to life, insofar as being put on hold for endless stretches of time often makes me want to drink in the middle of the afternoon, too.

I have to hand it to Crown Royal—you know, that Canadian whiskey that comes in a purple bag for some reason—for successfully executing that rarest of cultural products: an actually educational Super Bowl commercial. The spot featured Foo Fighter Dave Grohl sitting in a recording studio and spouting random facts about Canada. Did you know that the egg carton, the battery, and the whoopee cushion were all (allegedly!) invented in Canada? I do now! The idea is to remind you that a lot of great things come out of Canada, and Crown Royal is one of them. Dave Grohl, however, is from Ohio, the home of canned chili dumped on top of noodles.

PopCorners hired Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul to reprise their Breaking Bad characters in a spot which implied the company’s weird popcorny chip snacks might be as addictive and flavorful as crystal meth. Hrm. But it’s been just long enough that it was gratifying to see Cranston and Paul back together again, and their morally dubious ad was pretty successful, too. Nobody really cares about PopCorners, but lots of people care about Breaking Bad, and the goal was clearly to get viewers to associate the thing they don’t care about (weird, popcorny chip snacks) with something they do care about (a prestige television show from a decade ago). I bet they pair well with a frosty mug of Schraderbräu.

I liked the ad from Workday, a company that provides cloud-based personnel management solutions for businesses, in which a bunch of aging rock stars—Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Kiss’ Paul Stanley, plus rocker of more recent vintage Gary Clark Jr.—argue that the term rock star is overused in popular parlance, and that it should never, ever be used when referring to someone like “Ted in finance” or “Liz in HR.” I’m with the Kiss guy on this one: Ted in finance sucks. Not sure how I feel about Workday’s personnel-management solutions, but at least a cloud-computing product will never corner you in the break room to bore you with golf anecdotes.

The Worst:

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“Ferrell’s “loud, enthusiastic, and out of place” persona is predictable at this point, which means that the material needs to be good in order for Ferrell’s schtick to feel fresh. The material wasn’t very good in his spot for General Motors and Netflix, in which he drove an electric vehicle through a bunch of popular shows from the streamer in order to spotlight its commitment to putting more electric vehicles on the small screen. Big deal! What do they want, a medal?”

You can tell that the ad for the upcoming Ram 1500 Rev electric truck was trying to be clever by mimicking the tone and style of an erectile dysfunction ad, but to me it just came across as tasteless. The notion of “premature electrification”—which the ad basically defines as the prospect of buying an electric vehicle at a moment in time when its battery life is insufficient to get you where you want to go—is a fair topic for an ad, and even a fair topic for a funny ad. The problem was that this ad wasn’t funny.

“ there is something dystopian about Google making it easy for people to turn their photos into lies and pretend that someone who was there actually wasn’t. It’s hard enough to tell what is and isn’t real these days without Google giving people the tools to turn every photograph into a deepfake by excision.”

He Gets Us wants to make Jesus Christ “cool” again by running a ton of ads reminding people that the son of God is just like us. . . . Look, it’s a free country, guys, and you can spend your money however you like, but I’m pretty sure that if Jesus had 10 million dollars he would just give it to the poor instead of wasting it on bland Super Bowl commercials.”

What’s happening in the NV Community this fine Monday? Share and share alike, whatcha got?

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