Yesterday a 20-year tradition came to an end, as I did not generate notes about Super Bowl commercials during the game. I started this in January of 1993, in anticipation of discussing the ads with students when I started teaching as a graduate student in the fall of 1993. In subsequent years I taped the Super Bowl on my VCR (remember those?), and showed a couple in classes to illustrate that week’s topics. As a Dean I usually won’t be teaching, and if I were I could easily show the commercials on YouTube. Also, the 20 year-old notebook I used was completely filled, so that was another signal to end the tradition.
If teaching this semester one commercial to discuss would definitely be Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” ad, which drew a storm of outrage for its depiction of a multi-hued crowd singing “America the Beautiful” in several languages. The spot wasn’t completely hated, however, as evidenced by a #17 finish in the annual USA Today Ad Meter. There will probably be discussion about this commercial all week in the blogosphere; I’m looking forward to good sociological analysis!