"There was nothing special on this year's Super Bowl. It was not a classic."
Expect to read that a lot over the next day or so. Similar sentiments are shared every year, and are often the fall back position of the insecure observer, but this year, I'd have to agree - overall, it weren't no classic.
Like every other person who breathes in and out, I have my favorites. But just like weather isn't the same as climate, one or two commercials do not make for an industry showcase.
Why the collective 'meh'?
Are our expectations way too high? Yeah, that could be. I was asked at a dinner party on Saturday night by a professor of chemistry if the Super Bowl was a big deal to advertising types. I hope my laughter conveyed just the right blend of irony, pride, dread and excitement.
Are we jaded? As connoisseurs of sparkly ephemera, that goes with the territory. I'm one of the few that believes the overall quality of TV creative has risen over the past decade - inevitably, that makes the peaks harder to see.
Or is it not perceptual, but an actual fact? If so, then maybe the heart of creativity, the 'I gotta gotta gotta do better or I'll die' soul, has gone off-air.
Witness Big Spaceship's Pretty Loaded. The digital practitioners appear to have more creative snap in their pinkies. Or, in this case, preloads.
(Speaking of interactive, I was surprised how few advertisers leveraged the Super Bowl's unique position in pop culture to launch compelling on-line efforts. Shoot me for saying so, but Go Daddy lead the way. Ow that hurts.)
And let's not leave aside possible economic reasons. If we're all hanging on to our clients for dear life and project fee, then no wonder the flights of imagination are stifled.
Here's something else I'm wondering about:
It's true there are more avenues for commercial creativity than ever. And our generous, optimistic natures would believe that there's an endless supply of creativity to meet the demand. Not so. For talent, channel expertise, brand experience, and the wise voices that make sense of it all, there's only so much of the raw material to go around. The Super Bowl, at $3 million a slot, is one heck of a place for the shortage to show.
Okay, that's my opinion. What's yours?