The Super Bowl was once a place for advertisers to display their best work, a fusion of art and commerce that was Distinctly American even if it was sort of embarrassing that the annual zenith of our creative endeavors was reached mostly for the purpose of selling light beer.
In recent years, some brands have attempted to hijack the spotlight without paying for ad time by shoehorning their products into conversations people are trying to have with their friends online.
Today, we celebrate last night's most unbearable work from our friends in the real-time marketing game, who sacrificed the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones this weekend in order to compose messages about products that sound (Velveeta's "Liquid Gold") and taste (Miller Light) like urine.
Last night's standout brand was Ragu, on whose social media team I do not wish any serious physical harm, but whose members probably do deserve to be afflicted with a non-life threatening sexually transmitted disease. At the very least, everyone involved with @ragusauce should feel a very real sense of personal shame for the awfulness they have put into the world.
Throughout the game, the brand subjected innocent Twitter users to a stream of horrible, forced "puns" linking spaghetti sauce to football that contained all the #authenticity of an American brand of Italian-style pasta sauce currently owned by a Japanese foodstuffs conglomerate.
These fuckboys knew who would be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show FOR MONTHS, and this is the best they could come up with.
It’s time for the #HalfTime show! We hear Katy Penne’s performance is going to be EPIC.— Ragú® (@ragusauce) February 2, 2015
Elsewhere, Cinnabon played off the legitimately good "Like A Girl" commercial with a ... reference? joke? IDK ... that read a little bit like it was encouraging women to have their partners jizz on their butts. Totally cool if you and a consenting partner enjoy it, but I am not sure whether it qualifies as a feminist act!
From now on, we're frosting our buns #LikeAGirl— Cinnabon (@Cinnabon) February 2, 2015
Ed highlights Philadelphia brand cream cheese coming with some of that GOOD SHIT, which you know is GOOD SHIT because the authors included the phrase touchdown. #Timely #FootballLingo #Creamcheese
i don't know how about some cream cheese you dumbo!!! pic.twitter.com/eKKB0DbxZt— WARNING: Ed Zitron (@edzitron) February 1, 2015
A fun fact is that Q-Tips spends roughly half of its annual social media marketing budget lobbying the NFL to let A Tribe Called Quest play the halftime show.
Until that glorious day, we are stuck with shit like this.
Last year, Tide spent the entire Super Bowl making annoying-assed Vines based on other companies' ads.
Even though spokesperson Anne Candido told Ad Age the brand got "a lot of great engagement" last year, it shifted its strategy this year to making bad jokes about the game instead of the ads.
We thought they said Messy Elliot. pic.twitter.com/7VgOraruGx— Tide (@tide) February 2, 2015
No one was more excited by the tweets than CNBC's Eli Langer. (AKA Young Rovell, AKA Mr. Every Mobile Marketing Conference Ever)
Admit it, the second screen is now the television. The first screen is in your hand. #SB49— Eli Langer (@EliLanger) February 1, 2015
Some good stuff here from Foldgers, which could not have tried any less to do something creative or funny.
Just me and the boys today sitting back with a few cups of shitty coffee to watch the big game pic.twitter.com/2jV3TzyPm7— WARNING: Ed Zitron (@edzitron) February 1, 2015
And our final piece of evidence that brands are meaningless comes from the folks at Duracell.
Last year, the battery brand ran a touching ad during the game highlighting Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, who is deaf.
This year, it made basically the same crappy joke twice, then cheered the Patriots' victory.
So much for brand loyalty.