Nostalgia Bowl 2010

In Super Bowl Commercials, this year, the familiar faces were a bit more familiar, like Betty White.

Published: February 7, 2010
AS dangerous as it may be to generalize, it is probably safe to say that few folks think of Marcel Proust as they watch the Super Bowl. But for the advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday, it was one long remembrance of things past — with candy bars, mobile phones and beer bottles standing in for madeleines.

A commercial for the Kia Sorento featured toys like Sock Monkey.

Coke used characters from “The Simpsons,” which turns 20 this year.

Nostalgia is a critical component of the pitches from sponsors on Super Bowl Sunday. After all, the best way to appeal to a mass audience of 100 million or so Americans is usually to fill spots with paeans to the past along with catchy music, stars, special effects, talking babies and endearing animals.

Even so, the salutes on Sunday to bygone eras reached a peak perhaps not seen since the last time Fonzie said “Ayyyy” on “Happy Days.” The reason is, of course, the economy and the belief along Madison Avenue that tough times call for familiarity rather than risks.

How retro was Super Bowl XLIV? Let us count the ways it resembled Super Bowl XXXIV, XXIV, XIV and even IV:

¶There were celebrities of a certain age, on screen or as announcers, among them Don Rickles, for Teleflora; Abe Vigoda and Betty White, for Snickers; and Stevie Wonder, for Volkswagen.

¶Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, who first appeared together in 1983 as the hapless travelers Clark and Ellen Griswold in the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” recreated their roles for a spot for HomeAway, a service for renting vacation homes.

¶A commercial for the Census Bureau was directed by Christopher Guest in a style reminiscent of the films he has written and directed, like “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984).

¶There were enough vintage athletes to fill a locker room — or a trainer’s room. They included Lance Armstrong, for Michelob Ultra; Charles Barkley, for Taco Bell; Brett Favre, for Hyundai; and members of the Chicago Bears “Shuffling Crew” who won the 1986 Super Bowl, for Boost Mobile.

¶Among the old-school rock acts heard were Cheap Trick, for Audi; the Electric Light Orchestra, for Select 55 beer; Kiss, for Dr Pepper Cherry; Kool and the Gang, for the Honda Accord Crosstour; and Bill Withers, for the Dante’s Inferno video game sold by Electronic Arts.

¶A commercial for the 2011 Kia Sorento from Kia Motors America featured childhood toys like Sock Monkey and a teddy bear.

¶Executives at Anheuser-Busch InBev changed their minds about leaving the venerable Budweiser Clydesdales out of the game and scheduled a schmaltzy spot about a horse and its pasture-mate, a bull.

Who says nostalgia isn’t what it used to be?
Read the full article today at

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