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About Those Super Bowl Commercials

The number of viewers who say they watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the game has grown large enough that we can classify "I watch mainly for the ads" as a cliche.  Personally, I use the event as an excuse to invite friends over so we can eat unhealthy foods, catch up on life, and play some ping-pong.  But I do pay attention to the commercials. 

Like most, I like Super Bowl commercials because they tend to be funny, innovative, or entertaining.  But when it comes to the crop of ads for Super Bowl LII (for reference, they're all here, in order), we were bombarded with something else: preaching.

Don't get me wrong: as a Christian who spends every Sunday morning at church, I know that preaching has value. I voluntarily go to a building on a weekly basis to be preached to, and I'm better off for it.  But when I watch Super Bowl ads, I want to be dazzled, or to laugh.  I have no interest in being guilt-tripped, inspired, or lectured. It's just not the right time.

By my count, this year's Super Bowl featured at least 11 such ads (unless that Keanu Reeves motorcycle stunt one is supposed to convey some social justice message that went over my head).

Eleven times, I was at the receiving end of a message designed to make me want to think. But I have news for advertisers: in the midst of a Super Bowl party, I don't want to think. In that context, I have no interest in self-examination, or in trying to figure out if I'm making the world a better place. The issues raised in the ads are important, but it's just not the right time.

It's like eating cheesecake. As a way of living, you should eat your vegetables, but if you stop me in the middle of eating cheesecake to try to get me to eat a carrot, I'm going to inform you, probably rudely, that the time is just not right.  Super Bowl advertisers need to return to the root of what makes us want to watch in the first place.

Rant over. I need to go and solve my dilemma of which vehicle purchase will ease my guilt: a new Hyundai or a Toyota.

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