Am I just getting older or are Super Bowl ads more offensive every year? I mean, we don't set the bar very high for beer and car commercials and yet somehow the ads have an increasingly difficult time clearing it. Last year's theme was that dark people talk funny; this year, it is that women are bitches.
Don't get me wrong, every commercial aimed at men is at least vaguely misogynist. Empty-headed bimbos eager to rip off their clothes are like set pieces in the average ad intended to be aired during a football game. But somehow that baseline level of bad didn't seem sufficiently attention-getting to the 2010 TV audience. If you watched the game you already know the ad I am about to show you. Like the "Sales Genie" ads from two years ago, this commercial left not a single viewer unclear about the fact that he or she had just seen something that turned the offensive up to 11:
For the first 20 seconds it's actually a decent ad. Creepy, no doubt, but it does what ads are supposed to do. It draws in the viewer's attention and has the "What the hell is this?" factor. Advertisers like that. And for the first 20 seconds it's standard "Man beaten down by traffic jams, alarm clocks, and his inane job needs Product X to make him feel alive again" fare. It's probably more unsettling than a good ad should be. It doesn't help that Michael Hall (of Dexter) is doing the voiceover while angry looking men glare into the camera, but up to this point it's pleasantly forgettable.
Then it takes a sharp right turn onto What the Fuck Avenue. The middle third is devoted to the real root of Man's dilemma – shrill, bitchy women.
"I will listen to your opinions of my friends. I will listen to your friends opinions of my friends. I will be civil to your mother."
"I will put the seat down. I will carry your lip balm. I will watch your vampire TV shows with you."
"I will take my socks off before getting into bed. I will put my underwear in the basket."
"And because I do all of this…I will drive the car I want to drive."
Cue the vroom-vroom footage of the Dodge Charger promising to compensate for your tiny genitals and your nagging stupid ball-and-chain. Ads like these never fail to amaze me. Dozens and dozens of people saw this at various stages from conception to the airwaves and nobody said "Are you kidding"? I realize there are no women in the upper management at Chrysler and the ad agency is probably 99% white male as well but the odds of not one person having enough common sense to nix this seem low. Given that the auto market is, you know, half female it is questionable strategy to run an ad straight out of the 1950s that basically says, "You put up with all of that bitch's crap; now it's time to lay down the law."
Way to go, Chrysler. It took something special to top this Bridgestone ad…and you delivered.