Matthew Broderick in the new "Ferris Bueller" commercial.
Dude No. 1: "Oh man, check it out! A 'Ferris Bueller' commercial!"
Dude No. 2: "That's so six days ago."
This isn't an ad for a phone. It's a conversation that probably will happen Sunday during the Super Bowl.
As a sporting event, the Super Bowl isn't all that great. I can't even tell you who won two years ago. But it's the biggest TV event in our country—and a huge part of it is the ads. According to Nielsen, more people watch the game for the commercials than the actual football/Madonna lip-synching.
So with companies releasing their ads online days before the game even kicks off, they're taking the fun out of the experience. (Granted, this is probably the biggest First World Problem ever.)
Sure, we'll still have tons of food, many opportunities to place irresponsible bets, and copious reasons to make hilarious Eli Manning faces. But the Super Bowl has always been more about one giant shared American experience, something so rare now.
When a truly great Super Bowl commercial came on a couple of years ago, everyone would stop and watch. And you know how things are funnier when you are laughing with other people because they're laughing too? That always happened at Super Bowls.
The next day everyone would dissect his or her favorite commercials around the 21st century equivalent of the water cooler (the line at Starbucks?), debating which was the funniest, who cried during the Google commercial ... things like that. It was a truly shared experience. Now it sort of feels like someone spoiled that Darth Vader was Luke's father or Bruce Willis was dead the whole time.
For advertisers trying to get the most out of their $3.5 million, it makes sense. But it comes at the expense of taking away from one of the greatest days of the year.
Too often entertainment is experienced individually, which in some ways is great. You can watch pretty much anything in sweatpants on your computer. But in many ways culture is now so individualized it's like everyone has his own set of headphones plugged into a device carrying everything that could possibly be deemed interesting (which is probably true).
Because so much entertainment is leaked online before the release date, there are few moments left in which people feel like they're all experiencing it at the same time. If I heard there was going to be a "Ferris Bueller" or Jerry Seinfeld and Soup Nazi ad, I would have been legitimately excited (until the Jay Leno part at least). But now that I and pretty much everyone I know has already seen them, it will actually make them airing during the Super Bowl disappointing, realizing it could have been a good moment but it already happened.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Being able to stop and share a moment with people is pretty important too.
SCOTT BOLOHAN IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR.