If you’re compiling a list of Superbowl ads that are appropriate for kids, it’s inevitable that three things are going to happen:
1. There will be a lot of talking animals
2. Someone’s going to get kicked in the nuts
3. You will have to explain who Robert Goulet is
In an event that seems geared toward men between the ages of 18 and death who have been drinking all afternoon*, Superbowl commercials can tread some fine lines as they run the gamut between sentimental (Clydesdale horses pulling carts through amber waves of grain) and boob-filled (every GoDaddy ad, ever). But the art of telling a story in 30 seconds is rarely on display to such a vast audience as it is on Superbowl Sunday. Nothing like being entertained while someone’s trying to sell you deodorant.
*I have no data to back that up.
Here are a few highlights from the last six years.
Stunt City (Degree deodorant) What if we all lived in a world where you jumped out the window to go to work every morning?
Boogeyman, featuring Robert Goulet (Emerald Nuts) One of many ads that use the stultifying existence of the office worker as a backdrop. Make sure your children know that offices can be fun, and that not everyone who works in one has given up on life.
Screaming Squirrel (Bridgestone Tires) No animals were harmed in the making of this commercial!
My Talking Stain (Tide To Go) Did your brother do this to you when you were little? My brother did this to me when I was little.
Cat Herders (EDS) An old figure of speech explained, plus: stunt kitties! No animals were harmed in the making of this commercial, but a few of them got soaking wet.
The Eyebrow Dance (Cadbury) What does this have to do with selling chocolate? Everything.
I’m Good (Pepsi Max) Apparently Pepsi for Men is filled with numbing agents. Parental warning: people get hit with things and it’s funny. Hide your bowling balls.
Golf Baby (E-trade) I know, we’re all done with the E-trade talking babies, but this one introduced “shankapotamus” to the lexicon, which is arguably the most important word since, “Whassssuuuup?”
Sock Puppet Fantasy (Kia) This one freaks me out a little, actually, but so many other people love it I felt self-pressured to include it. Giant sock monkey comes to life with an aggressive soundtrack, nightmares ensue.
The Force (Volkswagen) I saved the best for last.