My name is Keith Byrne. I'm a Creative Director at R/GA. This is my take on random stuff that floats by.

A Disappointing Post on The Disappointment of Disappointing Super Bowl Ads


I watched the game and the ads last night, like most people these days, with a bowl of organic, salt-free chips in one hand, and my phone in the other.

The conversation on Twitter, among both people in and outside the ad business, was mostly about “how disappointing” the ads were. 

I guess my question is, well, what were you expecting? 

We’re in a strange place in this business right now. 

On the one hand, it’s in vogue now to rail against the “big idea.” It’s all about “leveraging existing behavior” and “executing flawlessly.” TV ads can only do so much. Or so the argument goes. 

On the other, we have these cultural moments where millions of people gather to watch something — the Super Bowl, The Oscars, New York Islander playoff games.

Then we seem to be saying to the ad people:

"Do something amazing. Amuse me. Make me laugh.  Make me cry. Make it engaging. Interactive. Memorable. Iconic. Disruptive. You have 30 seconds. Go." 

Then, that’s all you got? That’s disappointing.

I’ve never produced a Super Bowl spot. But there were more than a few I saw last night I’d have been proud to have worked on.  

Could they have cut out the hackneyed mother-in-law jokes — and all the babies and talking squirrels and singing fish? Sure.

Could they have found another adjective besides “epic?” Probably.  

Could they be less bull-shitty? Yeah, definitely.

But were they so disappointingly disappointing? I don’t know. 

  1. keithrbyrne posted this