A score of self-styled critics gathered at a Super Bowl party in Seattle’s Central District and pronounced judgment on this year’s crop of commercials. Here are their collective picks of winners and losers in a handful of hastily defined categories.
Winner: Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel poke fun at themselves and late adopters everywhere with this flashback to 1994, when Couric asked on air, “Can you explain what ‘Internet’ is?” Couric’s silly ’90s haircut just adds to the amusement. The clip is successfully designed to emphasize that innovative technology — like BMW ’s electric car — is always tough to comprehend at first.
Loser: A mildly bored-looking Pierce Brosnan goes through the motions of a flubbed Hollywood pitch session in an ad for Kia.
Winner: What starts out looking like an erectile dysfunction ad morphs into a pitch for Fiat — ”bigger, more powerful, ready for action.”
Loser: A Nissan ad stars a wistful lad who grows up before our eyes (a la “Boyhood”), yearning for his race-car-driver dad’s attention. When the payoff comes, it seems too little, too late.
MUST-SEE MOVIE TRAILERS
Winner: “Jurrasic World,” starring Chris Pratt, looks like it’s gonna be big. Like majungasaurus big.
Loser: “Furious 7 ” — Nonstop gear-shifting and gun-cocking leads one viewer to ask, “Why do they even hire people to make movies like this?”
Winner 1: Shamelessly cloying, yes. But a little, lost Budweiser puppy drew the following discerning comments from our crowd: “Ooh!” “Awwww!” “Cutest thing ever.”
Winner 2: (There are no losers in this category.) Mercedes-Benz crafts a beautifully rendered tortoise-and-hare animation worthy of the big screen.
BUT SERIOUSLY, FOLKS
Winner: Among the more earnest commercials, an Always ad celebrating the power, spirit and resilience of young girls hits home.
Loser: Nationwide Insurance shows us an adorable tot who informs us he never gets to grow up because of a fatal accident. The thought of losing our children makes us feel like never buying anything, ever again. Not even insurance.