Southern Views

An optimist isn’t supposed to be depressed. But I am nothing but depressed at the way our country is becoming more boorish, often showing bad taste, and if nothing else, violating the civility with its lack of kindness and manners.

OK, perhaps I’m too idealistic. Yet some matters bother me.

Perhaps the one single day when our country can best show its creativity and innovation is on Super Bowl Sunday. No, we’re not talking football here, but what brings the football to our homes: advertising.

Year after year major advertisers pay big dollars to reach into the minds of millions of Americans and promote their wares during the Super Bowl. Apparently these major advertisers think it’s worth it to pay $3 million for a 30 second commercial (can you imagine?) to tell us their product is head-and-shoulders above their competitors.

These commercials don’t influence me so much, since I often have the television sound off for some of the game and most of the commercials. The clump of commercials is getting so long there’s time for a person to get up and stretch, go to the bathroom, and check out something else to nibble on or drink and not miss much, if any at all, of the game.

By happenstance, I paid attention to one television commercial, one that needed little sound, since the participants did not talk. It was a wonderful commercial, commanding your attention, and punched eventually with humor. It was the Coca-Cola “border” commercial. If you missed it, check it out here:

The cola companies often war with Super Bowl commercials. During the game, we didn’t see any Pepsi commercials, but heard about it later and looked at it on the Internet. It was horrible, most boorish, had an awful basis, and then really violated most good behavior in its ending. You may be as shocked as I was with this commercial. Take a look, but we warn you: most people are offended at this bad taste in seeking to play on humor.

These two commercials made us wonder what other commercials we had missed, so we spent about 30 minutes looking on the internet at many of the messages that aired. We saw lots of action and far-out ideas, but few that we would call memorable commercials. Many were from the auto companies, while others had those unreasonable special effects that do little to impress anyone who thinks independently. Many were just plain bad.

That’s what bugs us of these Super Bowl commercials. If this is the best that Madison Avenue and other advertising agencies can do at promoting products, we feel badly for what is coming later on. It doesn’t appear very many commercials will break through and give superior promotion to the products they are hawking.

Perhaps those of you who look at more television than I do see these commercials in a different light. Perhaps I need to have the sound on more often (horrors!), and perhaps I’m just in the last century in viewing these efforts.

Yet it worries me that all too often, the commercials are aimed at the lowest common denominator—action, violence, lack of creativity and bad taste….and those producing these commercials think they are being creative and successful. Fat chance.

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Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.