Irony and Deception in Super Bowl Ads

on Feb 8, 2010

While much advertising in general is chock full of irony and deception, a high profile event such as the Super Bowl deserves some special attention.

First up, we have a Snickers ad where taking a bite out of a candy bar transforms you from a weakly granny (literally) to a young man proper for tackle football. The ad is correct in stating that “you’re not you when your hungry” but what does this say about our society? That we should eat candy bars when going out to play football because we don’t have the understanding to eat a decent breakfast? And I’m sure that a candy bar will go a long way to power a football-playing body. It probably works as well as McDonald’s for a slam dunk contest.

Next is one of the several ads by Doritos where a man crams a handful of the chips (from the looks of it, about 1/2 a serving size which is 75 calories) in a gym! It’s just totally absurd. Now I know what you’ll tell me, that it’s just a commercial and one that’s supposed to be absurd. Still, the image is disgraceful to gym rats and I find it frightening that it doesn’t seem completely implausible.

The greatest irony goes to the CBS ad on women’s heart disease awareness. The ad itself is a good public service announcement. However, I find it outrageous to see this message from CBS after seeing ads from Snickers, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and several by Coca-Cola and Denny’s. Those last ads, by the way, were to inform us that Denny’s is giving away freeĀ Grand Slam Breakfast meals (that’s two eggs, two sausages, two pieces of bacon, and two pancakes). I’m sure your heart will appreciate that. And thank you CBS for letting us know that you care about women’s heart health.

Am I reading too much into this? Or do you also see the ridiculous ironies present in these ads?