I spent the entire Super Bowl hoping for an equipment malfunction and no, not on the how-the-hell-does-that-thing-stay-up corset Beyoncé wore during her halftime performance.
No, I was hoping for a technology meltdown that would have unleashed the commercial the CBS censors wouldnt let you see.
It was submitted by the condom manufacturer Durex. But I dont think the censors freaked out over the product the Super Bowl has aired so many Viagra ads over the past decade that erectile dysfunction has replaced mommy as the first utterance of the average baby.
Nope, the problem with the Durex ad is that it appeared to have been scripted by Chuck Manson. It follow a mans life backward from age 73, when hes just shot up a bank with an automatic rifle, through his earlier adventurers as a home invader, a teenage bully, a kitten-torturer and an infant who killed his mother in the process of being born.
The final flashback features his parents, moments after an unprotected roll in the hay, giggling as the soon-to-be-dad jeers at the idea that they didnt use protection: Whats the worst that could happen?
This story has a predictably happy ending, if youre Durex. The ad went online last week, where the news that it had been blacklisted by CBS earned it several jillion views, not to mention churning up a bunch of stories like this one that will ensure its watched even more next week and for months afterward.
And theres my real point. Why pay $133,333 per second really, thats the actual price for a 30-second spot for a Super Bowl ad when you can make a splash for free on the Internet, where all the action really is?
Granted, its not as easy as it used to be to get your ad banned. T-shirt manufacturer Gildan didnt draw a peep from CBS with its ad about a young guy who wakes up from a night of debauchery wearing fur-lined handcuffs and lying next to a young debauchee. And now hes got to get back his T-shirt, which is about all shes wearing . . .
When I talked last week to Robert Packard, Gildans vice president of marketing, he was pretty happy his ad was going to be aired. He thought the $3.8 million cost was a bargain. We get roughly 110 million viewers, he said. Its literally the biggest forum I can find.
Gildans ad was entertaining, and would have been much more so if Sigmund Freud were still alive. (What would he have said about that cat creepily staring from the background?)
But most of Sundays commercials continued a recent trend toward terminal weirdness, as if Luis Buñuel had infiltrated the creative departments at Taco Bell and Pepsi.
Doritos: They drive goats wild and trigger outbreaks of human transvestitism! A bunch of warm moments captured by hidden security cams make Coke, definitively, the Official Soft Drink of the National Security State! But if you need a Satanist priest to cast an evil spell, make an offering of Bud Light.
And the main message I drew from Taco Bells parody of the movie Cocoon, with old people sneaking out at night to get loaded and stuff themselves with fast-food burritos, was that Taco Bell is a great place to eat if you wear Depends.
The most transcendently aberrant commercial was for GoDaddy.com, the Internet company whose Super Bowl ads for the past decade have set new marks in walk-on-the-wild-side sexuality without ever once explaining what the hell the company does.