OK, so I don’t watch the Superbowl. I watched Kelly Clarkson kill it singing the national anthem (Canadians: I’d say ‘the American national anthem, but since it’s an American football game it should go without saying) and I was surprised to find myself enjoying Madonna’s halftime show – to be honest, I’d expected a train wreck. But the football? No. I don’t watch.
I used to complain that here in Canada we didn’t get to see all the fancy Superbowl commercials. It was a bummer. But now, in the age where Kelly Clarkson’s anthem performance is on YouTube minutes after it airs on live TV, you can see them all online anyway. My favorite commercial this year wasn’t for a product, though, it was for the TV station airing the Superbowl.
NBC has been struggling a long time. It’s kind of a joke in pop culture media, but it breaks my heart. So many of my favorite shows are on NBC! They are smart, funny shows! My smart, funny friends love these shows! The shows star likable, funny, intelligent people like my pretend boyfriend John Krasinski or my pretend best friends Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig and Mindy Kaling. It’s the network that gave me five seasons of Chuck, the home of my late night boyfriend Jimmy Fallon, and the network that will hopefully make sure I get to see the rest of this season of Community.
NBC knew the Superbowl would bring in new ratings, so they used it to promote the network’s surprise hit reality singing show The Voice and their hopefully-gonna-be-a-hit-and-save-the-network show Smash. (Just kidding – one show can’t save a network. But NBC obviously has high hopes for Smash.) But I think NBC knows it has other great shows, too, even though I am one of only about four people who watch them.
So they made this commercial.
First of all, it’s a very charming video. I’ve watched it at least five times. Since I’m not a 30 Rock viewer, the fun for me begins at the 57 second mark when they cut to The Office. The delights thrust upon us include the way Mindy Kaling dances, Amy Poehler’s enthusiastic singing, the fact that Nick Offerman isn’t singing at all, getting to see the cast of Community on TV, the ADORABLE cast of Parenthood even though they appear oh-so briefly, Kristen Wiig being her effortlessly cool self with the cast of SNL and Jimmy Fallon tap dancing.
So as you can gather, I loved it. But will it work? I’m not sure that this commercial will get these amazing NBC shows any new viewers, as much as they deserve to be seen by anyone and everyone.
It’s not like I have any other ideas on how NBC can market its struggling shows, or whether it’s even possible to grow an audience for a show like Community or Parks and Recreation that’s been airing for several years already. But damn, I wish this commercial would just make some people say “Hey, that Amy Poehler is effervescent and funny! I think I’ll watch her show on Thursday night!”