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Super Bowl Commercials

There were several commercials played during Sunday’s Super Bowl related to the workplace. Monster and CareerBuilder both showed versions of dissatisfied workers, with Monster sitting a support person under a moose’s behind (while his boss is under the head, in a paneled office), and CareerBuilder showing all the reasons, over and over, why someone might want to change jobs. They both offer a solution: Come to our site, and find redemption in the form of a better job.

A more interesting sociological phenomenon is the high popularity of the Doritos’ “Free Doritos” commercial, which initially shows a somewhat crazed office worker irrationally breaking the snack machine for “Free Doritos”, then his forlorn co-worker, who hopelessly hopes for a promotion, throwing the “magic” crystal ball (really a snow globe) into his boss’s unmentionable region, thereby dashing his slim hopes of a promotion forever. At the end, he doesn’t even have any Doritos! The fascinating thing to me is why this commercial with no redemption, with a tragic outcome, is the more popular. First, let’s take the escapism route – people love action movies, even though they probably won’t be involved in a car chase with a machine gun. So, seeing someone “act out” is cathartic. But this Doritos commercial as the most popular?! I guess people are so frustrated with their jobs, so cynical about the future, that seeing these angry guys detaching from reality and demonstrating anger and violence, can actually make some of us feel better.

Several ad critics have mentioned that there wasn’t much real humor this year overall in the commercials, but I laughed at many of them. Maybe our mood and what feels funny shifts with what’s going on in the world. I hope next year’s commercials reflect a more light-hearted state in the world of work!