Ad Nut
Feb 6, 2020

The Super Bowl ad so awful we just can't 'Let it go'

A Game of Thrones star sings a Disney song (yes, THAT Disney song) for Audi. But what in the world are we supposed to be letting go of?

It may be a bit late for Super Bowl reactions, and your fine-furred observer has tried to let a mediocre year pass without comment—because the annual orgy of American adspend gets more than enough coverage as it is.

However, there's one stinker that, even days later, keeps intruding on Ad Nut's already troubled mind. Longtime readers may be aware that Ad Nut tends to overthink ridiculous things from time to time, and that's certainly the case here. One might say that Ad Nut simply can't 'Let it go'. So Ad Nut had to write about it, in hopes of gaining some small measure of peace. It doesn't even matter whether anyone reads this. Seriously, you can stop now, it's fine. No one should spend as much time thinking about this as Ad Nut has. It's a sickness, really.

If you're sure you want to continue down this road, you can watch the ad above. It's for Audi, by 72andSunny Amsterdam.

Why is Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams singing a Disney song? And why that song, the one that no sentient entity in the entire observable universe ever needed to hear again? (And singing it pretty poorly, it must be said, although Ad Nut will grant it has a high degree of difficulty.)

What does Williams need to let go of? Her life of privilege as a famous and well-paid person who now gets to make even more money driving an expensive German vehicle for a few hours while singing poorly to herself? Seems unlikely. Yet she's singing so earnestly! And making such powerful facial expressions and gestures! She clearly feels strongly about letting go of something. By extension we also must let go of that same something! The song and Maisie Williams command it! But what?

Well, the ad begins with a radio voice intoning that "today's high temperature will be 8 degrees above normal". This appears to be a reference to climate change. (It's a poor one, of course. Scientifically literate creatures know that temperatures above and below the average happen every freaking day all over the world. We call that weather. And that's how averages work. It's the relentless rise in the global average temperature over time—aka, the climate—that we really need to worry about.)

Anyway, it turns out that the Audi we're seeing is an electric one—although the establishing shot for this goes by very quickly at the start of the ad, and would be missed by many, as it was by Ad Nut. Later on, Williams gets surrounded by signs of wanton pollution—an old muscle car, a stretch SUV limo carrying a member of the 1% class. But luckily she makes a getaway, and as the ad winds down, the tagline invites us to "drive to a more sustainable future".

So, clearly the idea was that we need to let go of our addiction to fossil fuels. Fine. Sure. That's a sensible if long overdue notion. 

However, it's hard to understand how the song and that message fit together. This might be—and Ad Nut is just spitballing here—because they absolutely don't fit together. At all. You already know the words of the song (whether you ever wanted to or not). So Ad Nut doesn't need to tell you that Williams starts out singing about the pressures of being a good girl. Later she advises turning away and slamming doors. She asserts that she does not care what people are going to say. And she makes references to a storm that's raging on. And then at the end, after the sustainability tagline appears in text, we get a more emphatic audio tagline, the song's famously defiant ending: "The cold never bothered me anyway." 

Sorry...what now? The cold never bothered you? What cold? The world's getting hotter, not colder. So how are we supposed to interpret this strong statement? Ad Nut submits that it cannot be done. It's nonsense. Elsa wasn't choosing a greener vehicle due to a looming climate catastrophe, so her words are non sequitors here. 

Perhaps Ad Nut is the lone lunatic who cares about this, but it's a pet peeve when ads use songs that fit in tone but don't fit lyrically—or actively work against the delivery of the message. Is it too much to ask to have everything fit, FFS?

Most likely, the rights to use the song were obtained at great expense, because, hey, people love that song, and no one ever makes jokes about it being the most overplayed song in history or anything. And then the song had to be tacked onto a plot about sustainability. And then a sort of popular but not-too-expensive celebrity had to be attached, because demographics. And no one actually gave a shit that the whole thing ended up making no sense whatsoever.

What a mess. And in that sense, this ad is a perfect poster child for the vast majority of the year's Super Bowl ads: a poor collection full of lame jokes, random and meaningless celebrity cameos, questionable concepts and not much of value, especially for the brands paying the bills.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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