When I was a young man, I loved Super Bowl commercials. They inspired me to become a copywriter. Some time later, after working in the ad industry a while, I realized that I’ll never create a SB commercial. Instead, I was assigned projects by brands that didn’t have Super Bowl budgets, and that simply wanted to generate awareness for their products/services.

I wrote good things. Award-winning things. Things that solved the problems of the clients I worked for. The ads I wrote shifted perception and generated sales. That’s when I became more critical of the big ads by the fancy agencies that ran during the Super Bowl. And it’s why I can’t watch a cute puppy commercial by a global alcohol brand without trying to make the connection between the emotions on the screen, and the fact that they really just want to sell more beer.

Super Bowl ads are funny. They are cute. And they are celebrated as part of our national culture. But remember this as you gather round your televisions on Sunday, they’re just ads. And ads are designed to sell you something. Will you really buy more Budweiser because of a lost yellow lab puppy that finds its way home thanks to a stable of Clydesdales?


Jim Mitchem

On Rating Art
Life Inside the Hurricane

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.