Remember when celebrities looked good in TV ads?
Body hair. Spanx. Personal hygiene. Why, one might walk away from this thing thinking the comedians are just like us. We wouldn’t show up at the set for a multimillion dollar ad shoot ready for a walk on in a summer comedy either.
And that’s one of the truths about audience that often gets conveniently forgotten when the Super Bowl comes to town: The majority of the people watching lead lives nothing like those of the famous (or, at the very least, trending) personalities who get shoehorned into the big-budget commercials for the event. When Skechers or T-Mobile trotted out Kim Kardashian to tout the benefits of footwear or data plans, the result was, well, what? Many people might well question how her thoughts on fashion or mobile phones fit into theirs.
Had Bud Light tapped Schumer alone, the brewer might have had an issue. She’s decidedly A-list: hot show, hot movie, hot commentary on gender and culture politics. Even so, she has that sort of Everyperson bonhomie it takes to kick a Super Bowl commercial through the goalposts. Schumer isn’t a rail-thin catwalker, and neither are the people who will tune in to hear her sell suds. A recent near-nude photo she made for the next Pirelli calendar laid everything bare. And so did Schumer, in an Instgram post that included the picture and this caption: “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman.”
Rogen is another regular Joe. The mere fact he took part in a commercial that shows off love handles and a hirsute back attests to that. And he’s passed this way before: The actor took part in a clever 60-second Super Bowl spot in 2013 for Samsung in which he and Paul Rudd bicker with each other over what might be in Big Game ad. “I’ve never seen you this excited about something that isn’t food,” Rudd tells him. Not exactly rarefied stuff.
Let’s not make overmuch of Bud’s work: It’s a teaser – essentially an ad for an ad. But even previews can affect the big show to come. Last year, GoDaddy used NBC’s “Today” show to unveil a Super Bowl ad in which a puppy came to an unfortunate end, and audience backlash appeared to play a role in the company’s decision to scrap the effort and come up with something new (and decidedly less provocative). In a world of social media, every public statement counts.
The simple fact is that most celebrities who turn up in Super Bowl ads have a short shelf life. Or their arrival is so strange and incongruous it makes jaws drop. In the end, they can’t do much at all to inspire the masses to pry open their wallets and make a purchase.
South Korean rapper Psy made a cameo in a Super Bowl ad for Wonderful Pistachios in 2013, but would anyone want to use him today? Did Bob Dylan’s odd huckster-esque pitch for Chrysler one year later prod viewers to buy a car? To be sure, there are exceptions: Clint Eastwood’s patriotic 2012 ramble about “halftime in America” proved stirring and iconic.
No one suspects Schumer and Rogen are going to make us want to fix the economy, solve the global-warming conundrum or elect the best person for President. But we might not mind having a beer with them. This isn’t the most innovative commercial to ever come down the pike, but you don’t need to be innovative to pop open a cold one.