Increasingly Disconnected Bob Garfield Weighs In On Super Bowl

bob_garfield_superbowl_2008.jpg

If you want a seriously retarded re-cap of this year's Super Bowl commercials, be sure to check out Bob Garfield's video in which he thinks one of the Bridgestone commercials was homophobic, an extremely tame Victoria's Secret commercial somehow compels guys to go home and masturbate, the cartoonish heart in that Careerbuilder commercial as well as the "blood curdling scream" in Audi's Godfather spot will "scare the wits" out of children, Diet Pepsi Max is somehow marketed as a drug, McDonald's somehow shouldn't make people aware it's behind the Ronald McDonald House and that it's impossible for two people of opposing political parties to put aside their arguing for a day and relate to each other like human beings.

Seriously, Bob. Life really isn't as bad as you paint it. Didn't you see Coke's beautiful balloon ballet? OK, so this year's Super Bowl wasn't a stellar one ad-wise but it was not the debacle you paint it.

by Steve Hall    Feb- 4-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Bad, Strange, Super Bowl 2008   

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Comments



Comments

Are you particularly surprised though? As you said, he's increasingly disconnected and like so many other mediums, one of the "best" ways to get attention on the Internet is to just be flat out negative.

Posted by: thebouv on February 4, 2008 9:44 AM

i can explain: Garfield is a douche bag. And the thought of him masturbating to Victoria's Secret models repulses me.

Posted by: moi on February 4, 2008 10:00 AM

Dear Bob,

Relax.

Best regards,
Reality

Posted by: Trav-Fnk on February 4, 2008 10:36 AM

Couldn't agree more. A waste of time. But @moi - that's a bit impolite, don't you think?

Posted by: chris rogers on February 4, 2008 11:08 AM

always wrong and he won't go away.

Posted by: j on February 4, 2008 11:09 AM

The most interesting part is Bob’s belief that people might be interested in viewing his talking head babbling about spots. Wonder if he was wearing trousers during the videotaping. Perhaps he was masturbating to the Victoria’s Secret spot—or his own reflection in the camera lens.

Posted by: Comcast Representative on February 4, 2008 11:13 AM

I think Garfield is usually a douche, but this time he got something right. With the exception of Coke's half decent ads, this year's Superbowl commercials sucked ass. So many were basically were just bad visual comedy.

Posted by: Scottie on February 4, 2008 12:23 PM

You know what? Bob Garfield is no longer relevant.

George Parker has more than taken the reins of crotchety old assmaster in chief. And he does it with the unbeatable 1,2 punch of actual experience in the business and humor.

Cause as much as I think he's a hack, at least ol' George is actually out there typing for the cause.

Bob Garfield struggles to stay relevant by manufacturing stories out of nothing.

PS-when we invited him to speak at our ad school, he insisted the school buy a copy of his book for EVERY STUDENT before he'd consider it.

Posted by: Dean on February 4, 2008 4:30 PM

@ Dean

Was his book any good?

I read GP's and enjoyed it enough...

Posted by: Floyd Hayes on February 4, 2008 4:55 PM

Dean,

The students at your school would be better served attending a speech from Garfield the Cat.

Posted by: HighJive on February 4, 2008 4:56 PM

Here's the difference between criticism and whatever it is you and your commenters do:

A critic makes judgments supported by analysis and argument, then signs his name and takes responsibility for his words.

What you do, and encourage your readers to do, is take cheap, anonymous potshots devoid of evidence, argument and, most often, facts. A common tactic is to grossly misrepresent somebody's point of view -- mine, let's just say -- and use that as a point of departure for ad homimen attacks.

It pisses me off, but more than that it makes me sad -- sad to see how the internet has brought out so much meanness, childishness and, above all, cowardice.

"Retarded," Steve? RETARDED? I know you're in the snark-for-its-own-sake business (sad in itself) but you really should be ashamed of yourself.

Bob

Posted by: Bob Garfield on February 6, 2008 3:20 PM

Bob,

"Evidence, argument and, most often, facts?" Bob, this is advertising and when it comes to analyzing creative, facts and evidence are squishy at best. Unless you're talking about how an ad performed based on pre-determined goals, it's all purely subjective.

We critique. We analyze. We argue. And we put our names to what we say. There is no anonymity for anything we publish here on Adrants. Regarding comments, we have no control over what people enter in the fields we provide for leaving a comments.

We don't encourage our readers to do anything. If they want to leave a comment, great. If they don't, equally great. We don't care either way.

And how did I "misrepresent" what you said? I practically quoted your review word for word.

And cowardice? Bob, my name is on everything I write. Angela's name is on everything she writes. How is that cowardly?

And retarded? OK, that was harsh. I guess I'll apologize for that:-)

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 6, 2008 3:49 PM

steve,
you confuse my disgust with what you've done (more on that in a moment) with what your commenters do.

if you say you don't care whether people comment or not, well, i don't believe you. but, either way, they certainly avail themselves of the internet-bestowed Freedom to be Chickshit.

concerning subjectivity -- well on that your are simply, and wildly, wrong. i have long since established, and often written about, quite objective standards for producing advertising, and they have always been the basis for my criticism. always -- for thousands of ads analyzed over more than two decades. those standards are neither mysterious nor squishy. in fact, i've written an entire book about them.

every single item in my super bowl ad review (which you for whatever reason did not bother to read, choosing instead to rely on a brief video of lowlights) cleaves to those principles.
furthermore, if you were to compare my ad review ratings with advertiser business results over the past 20-some years, or even campaign-longevity, you'd probably give up blogging and start a cult of personality based on my personal infallibility.

with a few horrifying exceptions, i have a long history of getting it dead right. because unlike a whole lot of artistes out there, i think about the advertiser and the audience -- and the culture, and simple right and wrong -- not my book/reel/trophy case.

as for my disgust with your posting, the key word is "somehow;" you used it repeatedly, implying that my analysis is pulled out of my ass. but, in no case IS that the case. for instance, i say pepsi max is marketing itself as a drug because pepsi max is EXPLICITLY marketing itself as a drug. caffeine is a stimulant, and the pitch here is "use the maximum amount of soda-pop caffeine to stay awake." please note that in this case, like the audi r8" review (which i believe scared little kids), i did not just dish out zero stars. i simply invited my readers to think about the potential underlying problem.

gee, perhaps if you'd read my review before declaring it retarded, that subtlety wouldn't have escaped you.

likewise the other transgressions. just so happened, there was at least one advertiser on this super bowl violating every hold-the-sleaze-please proscription i've identified over many, many years. didn't notice that until after i'd written each of the 50-some individual capsule reviews. but then the aggregation of classic ad-stupidity jumped right out at me. hence the lede graf, hence the video lowlights.

obviously, because i've set myself up as an authority, i'm both fair game and a very juicy target. i just wish the people who dish on me would approach the a tiny fraction of the intellectual honesty i demand of myself every week. you know, it's really easy to sit there dishing out snotty punchlines. REALLY easy. argument is a lot harder. and basic fairness sometimes harder still.

those values, of course, are antithetical to the gawker model. i urge you to think about that. i'd hate to see you succeed as a blogger while failing as a human being.

Posted by: Bob Garfield on February 6, 2008 6:43 PM

Steve...
Wow, this is getting as heavy as an AdScam "Rumble!" First thanks to Dean and Floyd, for the kind words, even though I think Dean called me a "Hack!" Thanks for that you fucker... Or did you mean Bob Garfield? Anyway, my skin is thicker than your average rhino. Every time I get steamed up 'cos some wanker calls me names (like "Hack") I take a deep breath, have another drink, and remember the words I have at the top of AdScam. It's a qotation from George Orwell... "Advertising is the rattle of a stick in a swill pail." Or as I used to tell people who worked for me when they got bent out of shape defending a not so good ad... "Always remember, this will never hang on the walls of the Louvre. It will probably end up wrapping tomorrows fish." It's fucking advertising guys. As Howard Gossage once said... "The only people who care about advertising, are the people in advertising." Time for that other drink now!
Cheers/George

Posted by: george parker on February 6, 2008 10:45 PM

OK, so George has kindly explained to me what the super bowl is (nice chap George - very service orientated) but what I'd like to know is this; does this kind of squabble happen every super bowl? Please calm down - you're upsetting the children.

Posted by: The Kaiser on February 7, 2008 3:50 AM

although i agree with steve for the most part on this one, bob's comments about pepsi max seem dead on to me. i had the same thought (they're marketing this as a drug) as i was watching the sb ad and have felt the same about their tony romo spot.

Posted by: t on February 7, 2008 8:58 AM

To hell with the Super Bowl. I'd pay to watch Steve and Bob square off in a creative round cage match reffed by George.

Copyranter and MTLB's Bill Green can be cutmen.

Oh, hell yeah. I'd pay all right.

Posted by: M.M.McDermott on February 7, 2008 9:41 AM

BOB:

as soon as YOU write the book, it's no longer "objective" in any real sense. YOU determined the critiera -- that's mighty "subjective"

i would argue that the first step toward true CRITICAL objectivity is undertanding that it doesn't exit -- it's the goal that can be reached for, never grasped. (why WOULD any *critic* reach for it anyway? that kinda makes no sense. you like or dislike w/ shadings one way or the other. writing: THIS IS AN AD is objective. and that's a truly dull, short column. and even those 4 words might not be "true" to the reader, depending on how the reader views the ad)

Posted by: dg on February 7, 2008 9:47 AM

With the exception of Mr. Parker, this blog is neither entertaining or enlightening. Critics are so often individuals who could never make a dime in the arena they criticize. Try Adscam, it's affecting my brain. (Can't believe I woke up fully clothed this morning, gotta stay away from 100 proof "Vitamin V")

Posted by: Studio Maven on February 7, 2008 10:05 AM

Bob, wouldn't your time be better spent preparing for your next AdAge Conference speech in Boca, Palm Springs or Little Rock? Those attendees actually think you're still relevant to the world of advertising. "Deluuuuuuuusional," to quote Lewis Black.

Posted by: Bruce on February 7, 2008 10:11 AM

Let's just be clear on 1 thing. The Audio R8 ad scared adults too, not just the kids. It scared me, because I didn't realize ads could be so shitty.

Posted by: Adam Kmiec on February 7, 2008 10:34 AM

Bob, I like your AdAge column ... but you're not being honest with yourself about your Super Bowl ad reviews. The telecast ended at about 9 p.m. CST and your feature appeared in the hard copy of AdAge on Monday morning. No way you gave all those ads any real thought. They went by, you jotted down your first thoughts. And don't tell me that's what Super Bowl commercials are all about.

Posted by: Cy Sperling on February 7, 2008 11:23 AM

cy, you're kidding, right? i get every spot well BEDFORE the game and review them at my leisure. my column is filed on the friday before Super Sunday.

by the way, DG, nice riff on objectivity. by your measure "Thou shalt not kill" is a whim. But what if objective were to mean: immutable, determinable and fundamentally inarguable? Like, for instance, "advertising exists to sell shit to folks."

Posted by: Bob Garfield on February 7, 2008 11:30 AM

As someone who reads and enjoys both Adrants and Bob's column, I have to say that the most interesting part of this debate is the point that Bob brought up--thanks to the internet, we have far more critics than we need. Critics who have far different motivations than Bob has. Maybe they were fired by the agency whose spot they hate. Maybe they work for the pr arm of the agency whose spot they love. Having read Bob's column for years, I have a pretty good idea of his critical stance. I may not always agree with it, but I generally understand where he is coming from. I can't say the same thing about many of the folks on the internet. And Steve, he's right about the use of the word "retarded". Unless you're 11 or 12, you shouldn't really be slinging that word around. Which brings up another problem of the internet--people writing before they think.

Posted by: jim schmidt on February 7, 2008 11:58 AM

As someone who reads and enjoys both Adrants and Bob's column, I have to say that the most interesting part of this debate is the point that Bob brought up--thanks to the internet, we have far more critics than we need. Critics who have far different motivations than Bob has. Maybe they were fired by the agency whose spot they hate. Maybe they work for the pr arm of the agency whose spot they love. Having read Bob's column for years, I have a pretty good idea of his critical stance. I may not always agree with it, but I generally understand where he is coming from. I can't say the same thing about many of the folks on the internet. And Steve, he's right about the use of the word "retarded". Unless you're 11 or 12, you shouldn't really be slinging that word around. Which brings up another problem of the internet--people writing before they think.

Posted by: jim schmidt on February 7, 2008 11:59 AM

BOB:

"advertising exists to sell shit to folks" from the client's POV, yes

perhaps from the agency's, it exists to win at Cannes and grow the business

perhaps to a copywriter, each ad is a gift for mom or a special teacher or a personal "work of art"

"immutable"? no such thing -- everything melts & flows at the right temp

"thou shalt not kill" -- that's an ideal state of being if i ever heard of one

Posted by: dg on February 7, 2008 12:01 PM

Just goes to show that it's always the critics who have the thinnest skins. Bob, you fucked up: you will win nothing here. In fact, all you have done is lose, and you have lost more with each successive posting (wow, you really get advanced copies of the commercials?! You must be like a VIP or something...). Seriously, Bob - maintaining your dignity at least allows open-minded people the ability to respect you, even when they disagree with your opinions (and I hate to tell you this, but unless you are privy to each marketer's business plan and creative brief, or are some sort of omniscient advertising ROI genius, they are only opinions). Please, Bob, go buy an Audi R8, type "The High Road" into the GPS, and drive there immediately. And stay there, for god's sake. You got baited easier than Bill Clinton at an Obama caucus (and look what that's doing for the esteemed former President's reputation and maybe even his legacy).

(Hey ad professionals! Notice how I underscored my point - I think it's known as "selling shit to folks" by trying to directly appeal to my target audience, in this case Bob's seeming sense of himself, via comparing Bob to a beloved former leader of the free world. That's how we do it, right?!)

And I actually LIKE Bob's column! Crazy. (Funny, I also liked President Clinton, too...until about three weeks ago.)

Posted by: Pen Pendleton on February 7, 2008 1:08 PM

Perhaps Bob’s own explanation of his discipline and skills inspires the negativity. That is, most advertising creative people hate individuals who seek to analyze work in such a rigid way. And to brag about often being right sounds like a direct marketer boasting about response rates for the latest postcard mailing. At a blog that probably draws more creatives and younger visitors, Bob is a smelly fish out of water—or newspaper. No doubt his own Ad Age environment features plenty of positive circle jerks ejaculating praise for the man. But in the typical ad blog, he’s not revered. And he really ought to just stay away.

Bob’s ego won’t allow for the possibility that he is, as Steve pointed out in the post headline, increasingly disconnected. That he would comment here demonstrates the point—why plunge into the asylum and think he can rehabilitate the haters? If anything, Bob threw gasoline on the blaze. What a pitiful man.

Posted by: Not A Country For Old Men on February 7, 2008 2:47 PM

From my hyper-subjective view, all of the spots Steve referenced (and implicitly defended) in the initial post were crap because most were just plain shallow conceptually. Scaring children or homophobic? i don't know about that...but...they certainly were not worth defending. This year's crop of ads WAS the debacle bob g made it out to be...maybe not for all of the reasons he cited, but man, it was BAD.

Posted by: Ted Zahn on February 7, 2008 3:17 PM

Go Bob!
Superbowl was a display of wasted advertisingmoney.
I f#$%#$ing sucked!

Posted by: TP on February 8, 2008 9:58 AM

Go Bob!
Superbowl was a display of wasted advertisingmoney.
It f#$%#$ing sucked!

Posted by: TP on February 8, 2008 9:58 AM

In honour of your battle:
http://s158.photobucket.com/albums/t90/Wiisey/?action=view¤t=battle.jpg

Posted by: Wisey on February 8, 2008 12:47 PM

Wisey...
Fucking brilliant, you just know I'll have to post that on AdScam...
Cheers/George

Posted by: george parker on February 8, 2008 12:53 PM

that is so not my brain stem. that is totally someone else's brain stem. i suspect photoshop.

Posted by: Bob Garfield on February 8, 2008 1:36 PM

Hmmm, you're 'so' 'totally' right Bob. The totally rad and awesome post on the issue is here (aka shameless plug): http://thedigestif.blogspot.com/2008/02/my-introduction-to-decapitator.html

Posted by: Wisey on February 8, 2008 1:46 PM







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