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Side-by-Side: Which Super Bowl Ad Scored a Touchdown?

by Jed Kudrick and Monroe Harris

Photo Courtesy of Dave Adamson on Unsplash

Jed’s Side: Crown Royal Gets the Crown

Unfortunately, I was not able to watch the Eagles lose…I mean, the Super Bowl.

Sorry, Monroe, if that wound’s a little fresh. 

That didn’t stop me, though, from going to YouTube to see what new ads companies decided to drop this year. 

My favorite 2023 Super Bowl ad has to be Crown Royal’s Dave Grohl thanking Canada commercial. Not to be confused with Crown Royal’s Dave Grohl practicing gratitude ad–that was good, but I preferred the Canada one. I apologize to any fans of the Foo Fighters, but I didn’t know who Dave Grohl was until I looked him up.

One reason I did like this ad, though, was because it’s educational, informing us about what Canada has given us. Grohl mentions people such as Celine Dion, famous singer of “My Heart Will Go On,” or my favorite of hers, “Ashes”–shameless “Deadpool 2” plug. Seth Rogen, who is mentioned only by “Seth” and I could not remember his last name until I looked it up, is also mentioned.

Grohl brings up peanut butter, basketball, and football, which may or may not be from Canada depending on what website you’re looking at, so those might need to be fact-checked. The item that really sealed my love for this ad was the whoopee cushion. I could not contain my laughter when he let that rip…pun intended. 

I get it. I’m a child. Ask my close friends on campus. I can’t resist a good whoopee cushion.

The whole point of the ad is to finally thank Canada for Crown Royal, created by our neighbors to the north in 1939. I have had Crown Royal only once before, but this ad makes me want to buy it to test my tastebuds once more. By the way, I am 21, in case you’re worried about that.

The only disappointing thing about this ad was that they didn’t mention my personal, all-time favorite thing that Canada has ever given us – Ryan Reynolds.

Monroe’s favorite ad was for Rakuten, which is some app where you get cash back for shopping at stores. At least I think that’s what it was about. I’ve never heard of Rakuten until now. The ad is littered with actions that make no sense unless you understand the entire ad is mimicking scenes from the movie “Clueless,” which I didn’t realize either until I read it on the website. 

This ad left me clueless. 

Side by Side: Still “Clueless” After All These Years

Monroe’s Side

My favorite Super Bowl Ad was a commercial for Rakuten, an app designed for Cash Back. The ad stars Alicia Silverstone, reprising her original character as Cher Horowitz in the 1995 film “Clueless.” As someone who is a huge fan of rom-coms from the past few decades or so, I had a huge appreciation for this commercial. 

Every clip in the commercial is a play on a scene that occurs in the movie. One of my favorite scenes in particular that the commercial parodies is Cher and her poor driving skills. In the beginning of the original movie, when Cher is being introduced, we see her driving a brand-new white Jeep Wrangler her dad bought her. As she is going to pick up her best friend Dionne, she runs over a pot of plants and casually brushes it off. Cher’s driving skills– or lack thereof–are a running gag throughout the whole movie. In the commercial we see Cher with her Jeep backed up into a delivery truck, on top of boxes that were spilled from the inside. We can also see a pot tipped over in the driveway, a nod to the original scene. 

As someone who is a new driver with skills similar to Cher’s, I can only laugh at how painfully relatable her less-than-fortunate driving is. I won’t go as far as to say I am as bad as her, but I have had my fair share of less-than-bright driving moments that sometimes make me feel like I am in a movie as well.

I think it is clever to combine the action of cash back, which is something I would normally hold no interest in, and insert it in the world of “Clueless.” It is especially fitting with someone like Cher who makes her love for shopping known. 

I also think it just goes to show how much relevance this movie still has in society and pop culture. The fact that a whole Super Bowl ad could be dedicated to completely parodying a movie from almost 30 years ago is a testament to its impact today. And it makes sense, this film offers a lot to take inspiration from in terms of fashion or content. However I hope its prominence doesn’t inspire a new generation of Cher Horowtiz-skilled drivers.

I have lived through enough clueless driving to say it’s a cautionary tale.

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