4. American Express’ “The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman”
Jerry Seinfeld has made no secret of his love for Superman. Some Seinfeld conspiracy theorists even maintain there is a Superman reference, either spoken or visual, in every episode of Seinfeld. Which becomes pretty believable once you realize it could be easily accomplished by sticking an action figure next to Jerry’s collection of Nintendo games.
Whatever you believe, Seinfeld hasn’t done a whole lot of written television outside of his commercial work, most notably for American Express, and most notably of those, The Adventures of Seinfeld and Superman, which debuted in 1998 during a Roman-numeraled Super Bowl I refuse to look up.
Not only were Seinfeld fans further rewarded with Patrick “Puddy” Warburton cast as Supes, but the ads were eventually spun off into a full blown webseries in 2004 directed by Barry Levinson. You can still visit the outrageously dated, obnoxious Flash site today and watch a set of five minute short films Jerome and Kal-El to this very day. PRO TIP: You don’t have to have a T1 connection to select that video quality, but it beats the shit out of clicking 56K.
3. Coca-Cola Macy Balloons “It’s Mine”
In one of the oddest pairings in the history of intellectual property, Underdog and Stewie Griffin team up to battle… Charlie Brown? Well, I suppose it’s more complicated than that, but damned yet another Super Bowl commercial for the insipid beverage that will never die doesn’t bring a smile to my face. And since Charles Schulz wasn’t alive to sign off on it, it’s one of the few happy endings ever given to the ol’ Blockhead.
2. RadioShack “The 80s Are Back”
If you’re a kid from the 80s, RadioShack’s 2014 Super Bowl spot had your fucking number. Blink and you’ll miss Cliff Clavin, Hulk Hogan, Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder, the California Raisins, Ponch, Mary Lou Retton, Kid n’ Play, ALF, Doc Brown’s Delorean, Chucky, Jason Vorhees, Teen Wolf, a buncha Devo hats, that guy with his guts on the outside of his body and even that superb owl from Clash of the Titans. Seriously, if you’re one of the few individuals who gives a shit about the criteria of this article, this commercial provides the most bang for your buck.
The cast is so goddamned stacked, it’s literally impossible for anyone to have a moment to shine. The whole point was to harken back to the heyday of RadioShack, but as it turns out, these commercials were little more than a celebratory funeral scored with a Loverboy song, as RadioShack would file for bankruptcy and convert to Sprint stores just over a year later. This sad transition is further emphasized by an accompanying online video featuring the very real ALF outlining what was to become Radio Shack’s fate. ALF mulling over data plans could not be further from 1989.
Yes, it’s odd that Radioshack would be so eager to reference the 80s while the store was transitioning to yet another venue to get screwed by a cell phone contract, because that couldn’t be further than the Shack I remember. As a child of the 80s, RadioShack was synonymous with Ham radios, RC cars, video games, dope ass gadgets and other fun tech doohickeys my dad used to pick up back in the day when you fixed your phone and vacuums instead of throwing your devices every lunar cycle.
1. Met-Life “Calling All Cartoon C-Listers”
A while back we wrote about the incredibly longstanding animated spokesthing partnerships, and remarked about the astonishing synchronicity of MetLife Insurance and Snoopy. But now that we know that this historic partnership has come to a close after almost 40 years, this commercial seems a helluva lot less festive. It’s as if Charlie Brown and Snoopy were making peace with their uninsured death and coming face to face with their own replacements.
It all started so innocently, with the adorably morose Charlie Brown kids coming over a hilly horizon… only to meet Speedy Gonzales, Scooby Doo, Mr. Magoo, Casper, Fat Albert, The Jetsons, Yosemite Sam, He-Man, Jabberjaw, Voltron, that horny Tex Avery wolf, Waldo (of Where’s fame) Mr. Peabody and Sherman, and many, many more animated losers. If you’re were born after 1990, you will feel nothing. But for people my age, it very much felt like the survivors from the flaming, derailed cars of the USA Cartoon Express, rising from the grave to unite for the first time ever… to, yeah, sell you insurance, in case you needed a reminder that this was never meant to appeal to kids.
Yes, it features many Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera characters, but even the young among you will immediately notice Bugs, Daffy, The Flintstones and most of the heavy hitters are conspicuously absent. After all, they’ve got bigger, better things to sell. And to continue to shitting in your cartoon Sunday, thanks to years of corporate acquisitions, what looks like a historic assortment of characters is essentially just the participation of two companies. Pardon me while I flex my nerd muscles, but Hanna-Barbera and MGM cartoons have been in the Warner Bros. department, while characters from Harvey Comics, Jay Ward, Fat Albert, and even Voltron now belong to Dreamworks under their Classic Media imprint. You’re welcome!
Want more cartoony ass commercials?! Check out our piece “When Cartoons Sold Out: 7 Animated Endorsements That Wouldn’t Die” or perhaps our Tribute to David Letterman, and if you dare, our salute to Definitive Ranking of Adam Sandler’s Product Placement!