Heading into Superbowl Sunday, sports fans will rejoice – a mostly under-achieving team with an impeccable offensive style of play will be facing off against the thorough-breed professionals – an interesting tussle, to say the least. Meanwhile, non-sports fans, are gearing up for the halftime show extravaganza, headlined by out-and-out performer, Lady Gaga while another group of people are anticipating those highly talked-about Superbowl commercials.
The business of those ads is quite staggering to say the least: the cost of a 30-second spot has skyrocketed to 5.5 million USD this year and with an estimated live TV audience of about 100 million, suffice to say that advertisers must live up to the hype. There has been much ado about these ads recently, with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) deciding to stop the simultaneous swapping of American ads with Canadian ones during the live Superbowl broadcast in Canada – a move that has augured the NFL and the NFL’s Canadian broadcast partners, Bell Media. Minus the row, there has been a lot of drama brewing around a certain Budweiser commercial that is evocative of the current anti-immigrant debate raging in America currently. But, in a world with so much chaos, as Sapna Maheshwari puts it, keeping politics completely away from the broadcast is a difficult task. Another firestorm in the build-up to the Superbowl involved 84 Lumber’s ad depicting the heartbreaking journey of a mother-daughter across a massive expanse of land, battling terrain, commute, hunger and exhaustion to face their final hurdle, a wall – presumably the very same controversial wall proposed by a certain President Who Must Not Be Named. The ending has been censored by the NFL, baffling the company’s executives that they make vehemently clear on their website as well.
The hoopla surrounding the advertisements, although good for creating conversation and letting us vent our anger in euphemistic ways, as Ellen so cleverly did when describing the plot of her Oscar-nominated animation, Finding Dory, but, I am starting to get a bit weary of all the political drama. It angers and saddens me over and over again to be at the receiving end of such injustice. Thus, I was looking forward to an event for once when the football game could take center stage while the ads could transport us into other-worldly worlds. A man renowned for creating such meticulously detailed worlds infused with humour, is a man who has directed many digital shorts and ads in addition to his masterful cinemas, Wes Anderson.
It is not enough to encapsulate my love and admiration for Wes Anderson in one blog post, thus, I must use him for many more going forward because the once Indie film-maker turned critical success, can certainly captivate cinephiles with his feverishly detailed films. His world oozes of color, complex characters and effusive music. His shot selections and story writing prowess can be lauded while the stop-motion style movement of his characters adds an element of whimsy into the screen. His most recent commercial for H&M, titled, Come Together, starring Adrien Brody shows a makeshift Christmas celebration on board a moving train. The train staff ‘make do’ with whatever they can to craft a festive celebration for all the passengers on board, who are embroiled in their own isolation reveries, coming together to celebrate the holidays and making the best of their situation. Perhaps we can all take a cue from this ad and ‘come together’ for a ‘festive time’ with ‘whatever we can make do with’ for now.
Rise up Falcons!