As the Super Bowl weekend begins, excitement (or dread) is building for the infamous Super Bowl commercials that will grace our screens at half time. I’m hoping there might be one or two space-themed ads.
Last year, the tire company Bridgestone knocked it out of the park with astronauts dancing to House of Pain’s hit tune “Jump Around” on an alien planet/moon only to return to their rover to find its tires had been stolen by thieving aliens.
Unfortunately, the Bridgestone effort is more of an exception than a rule, because some of the other space-themed Super Bowl ads can be on the wrong side of “cheesy” (but don’t worry, I doubt there will be any ill effects from bad-ad exposure).
There’s nothing not to love about this ad. It’s a great concept, visually stunning, has cool music and it’s funny. I could nitpick at certain inaccuracies (Is it a moon in the solar system? If so, what planet is that hanging in the sky? That’s not Jupiter or Saturn. If it’s a moon, what’s going on with the gravity? Seems a little too Earth-like if this is supposed to be a moon etc. etc.), but I won’t do that because that would be lame.
No surprises here, it’s a car commercial, with archive footage of an Apollo launch. Oh, and a smiling Richard Branson offering you a ride in his spaceship. Could this mean space tourism has gone mainstream? Well, considering I haven’t seen any more Virgin Galactic ads on the TV, I suspect the space tourist demographic may only be watching the Super Bowl.
Obviously, in 2003, space tourism was in its infancy and if you had any chance of going into space you needed to be able to sign a check for tens of millions of dollars (well, you still do, but that’s beside the point). So in Sony’s effort to market their compact camcorders, they depict a rich guy who buys a lift into space (with his kids’ college fund) from the Russian space agency. A Rocky-like montage ensues packed with dreamy visuals and campfire music, depicting our rich guy working out, getting fit, traveling to Russia, blasting into space on a Soyuz rocket and then floating around in a faux space station. He then gets all teary eyed, filming the curvature of Earth with his Sony camcorder. Yawn.
The delivery company opens a “Moon Office” as a postal depot. What’s not to love about that? Nothing, apart from the fact that FedEx has somehow managed to shield any lunar gravity inside their depot (where gravity might be useful) and Big Flaming Balls Of Fire™ are blasting by perilously close with alarming regularity. Silly science failings aside, the ending is worth a chuckle.
In case you were wondering why there’s not more beer commercials set in space, this could be the reason. In an attempt to jump on the 2001: A Space Odyssey band wagon, a guy walks into a space bar and asks for a “light.” The Hal-like robot bar tender — obviously getting back-handers from Budweiser — throws the unsuspecting guy into an alternate dimension to teach him a lesson that he should be ordering a “Bud Light.” Needless to say, the years haven’t been kind to this Super Bowl effort.
This commercial actually gave me goosebumps. The technology company Eaton created this straight-laced corporate ad, showing off how hi-tech it was in its involvement with the Shuttle program. In the visuals we see the atmospheric test Shuttle (the Enterprise) having a piggyback on NASA’s converted 747 and then we see the vehicle approach for landing using Eaton’s “Microwave Landing System.” Now the Shuttle fleet has entered its final year of operation, it’s hard not to feel a little nostalgic.
I have no idea which Super Bowl Budweiser intended this ad to appear on, but for some reason it didn’t make the cut. But jumping on the “Whassup?” craze, this parody depicts a dog (that’s actually an alien) getting beamed up to report back to his leader. Awesome.