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If advertising tells us what we are...

February 4, 2013 - Jennifer Brookens
... then last night's Super Bowl commercials told us we're a bunch of oversexed, violent freaks with an occasional sentimental streak.

Perhaps I've just become more sensitive to these things since I had children. But ever since the infamous Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction," I've been surprised at the other things that get overlooked. A glimpse of a nipple had everyone up in arms (and essentially killed off whatever was left of Ms. Jackson's career) but the next year, a commercial for a horror movie, "Hostel," showed a woman's toes about to get cut off with a pair of garden hedges as she screamed.

No one said a thing about that at the gathering I was at. I never heard or read any outrage about that choice in advertising. Frankly, I found the latter much more disturbing.

This year was over the top. Most everyone I know was sufficiently grossed-out with the "Go Daddy" nerd makeout, and all the movies advertised had some sort of violent theme (yes, even Star Trek had to have the "jam-packed action" hook). Then right after the big game is over, our affiliate went right into a TV show with a bunch of strippers dancing around.

But not all of the multimillion dollar ads were trying to push the sex and violence envelope as far as it would go. There were two or three funny commercials, others that were trying to be funny but weren't, and a few sentimental ones. But they were almost out of place, like a requirement to show we haven't totally lost what separates us from the animals.

So what does that say about us? Just something to think about...


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