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Category: Matthew Broderick

Super Bowl: Why are the best movie ads not actually for movies?

February 6, 2012 |  6:00 am


The ads that ran during the Super Bowl were filled with some classic films and filmmakers. Too bad none of them had to do with movies actually coming to theaters

Clint Eastwood's impassioned plea for a Detroit comeback on behalf of Chrysler (viewable above) was up there on the acclaim scale with the operatic Eminem-starring, Sam Bayer-directed "Born from Fire" from the car manufacturer last year. And then there was the comedy--Volkswagen's game  riffs on the Star Wars cantina courtesy of a BAFTA-nominated cinematographer, and a Todd Phillips-directed spot for Honda starring Matthew Broderick about how Ferris Bueller might play hookie as a fortysomething man.

The actual movie ads? They were a lot less notable.

As we explore in a story in tomorrow's Times, ads for big-budget explosion-fests such as "Battleship," "John Carter," "Act of Valor," and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" all came and went with little fanfare. Viewers didn't overly criticize them, but judging by surveys of Twitter and other social media, they didn't  single them out for any special honors, either. The ad for Sacha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" was hailed as funny, but it aired before the game and seemed to be overshadowed once the high-profile spots began to run.

The spot for "Valor," which aired in the pricey fourth quarter, had a bigger issue--it followed the "Bueller" commercial and seemed that much more earnest by comparison.

It shouldn't be too surprising that the movie ads fell flat--if you're spending $3.5 million on 30 seconds of airtime, as a studio does, you're going to promote the biggest movies in the broadest possible way, which kind of rules out too much originality. On top of that, you're trying to drive sales to a single opening weekend, something an automaker, for instance, doesn't have to worry about.

But don't give movie marketers too much of a pass. Last year, Paramount's Super Bowl spot for "Super 8" managed to tease enough mystery and intrigue to get people talking about the ad. And far from hurting the film at the box office, it sent the film on its way. It's not impossible to spend millions and still put out a good Super Bowl movie ad.  It's just not easy or terribly desirable.

--Steven Zeitchik



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Super Bowl ads: Broderick's Ferris Bueller takes day off for Honda

January 30, 2012 |  8:42 am


Ferris Bueller has been gone from the big screen for more than a quarter-century, but he receives the perfect homage in an extended cut of a new Super Bowl ad for the Honda CR-V released Monday (check it out below).

Without ever mentioning the names Bueller, Cameron or Principal Rooney, director Todd Phillips and the creative team at the Santa Monica ad agency RPA pay homage to the cinematic truant in a 2½-minute short that is a veritable festival of references for '80s movies geeks. (The material, which continues a Super Bowl advertising trend of referencing modern classics such as "Star Wars" and "Vacation" -- that is, movies thirtysomething and fortysomething consumers grew up with -- will air as a 60-second commercial in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Patriots-Giants game.)

Matthew Broderick begins the spot by calling his agent and feigning illness so he doesn't have to shoot that day. (He's in an L.A. hotel, presumably in town from New York making a film.) Said agent excuses him, annoyedly, from his call time, and the Ferris wheel begins to turn.

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A valet attendant calls out "Broderick, Broderick," in a nod to Ben Stein's monotone as he gives the actor his Honda, which he uses to speed around Los Angeles on his day off. The agent standing in for Rooney misses catching his hooky-playing subject whooping it up on television (this time he's on his cellphone at a high-end restaurant).

There are vanity license-plates ("SOCHOIC" instead of "NRVOUS") museums (Natural History of L.A. instead of Chicago Art) and parades -- only instead of "Twist & Shout" and "Danke Schoen" with marching bands on the streets of Chicago, it's a Mandarin tune with a traditional choir in a Chinese pride gathering.

Broderick even comes out after the spot seems to be over to wonder what we're still doing there. And, for true Bueller geeks, the name of the agent, Walter Linder, is a nod to the name listed under sausage king of Chicago Abe Froman on the restaurant-reservation list in the original film.

Of course, in the original, Broderick tools around in a 1961 Ferrari, not a burgundy Honda CR-V. But as even he might admit, we all need to grow up a little bit.


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-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Matthew Broderick in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Credit: Paramount Pictures


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