Okay, the headline is obviously a joke, and a cynical one at that. But seriously, what capitalistic titan could you possibly imagine assembling Marmaduke, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Dick Tracy, Garfield, Peanuts, Little Orphan Annie, Brenda Starr, and Spider-Man as pitchmen for their product? Hint: You DID NOT see this during the Super Bowl…
The NEWSPAPER?! Or more specifically, the Sunday Comics. Man, if this doesn’t say something about the decline of print, then I don’t know what does. Even if the commercial didn’t fork over the cash for the likenesses of all the characters animated exclusively to hock “The Funnies,” the star-studded roster stands as an even further testament to how powerful newspapers once were, not to mention the mega-franchises who once called it home.
Because as best I can tell, this ad takes place sometime after 1979 and isn’t for any one newspaper in particular. In fact, the comic strip characters featured were (and still are) the property of multiple distribution syndicates, and the the only commercial I glimpsed during this year’s “Big Game” that even came close to packing this much star power was for the NFL itself, and that was just existing footage culled together with added effects that bordered on insulting.
Moving pictures on a TV? An odd choice for advertising a newspaper
Either way, the commercial is fucking righteous! Even better, the spot features recording legend Stan Freberg, the voice behind Looney Tunes characters like Junyer Bear, Pete Puma, on certain occasions, Wile E. Coyote, as well as one of my all-time favorite cartoons, “Three Little Bops!”
Other highlights include, a far more elderly sounding Spider-Man (also Freberg?) with incredibly awkward crawling sound effects, a joke that never would’ve flown during the Clinton/Lewinski days, and one of the laziest excuses for a “tag” you ever did see: “If you’re not reading the Sunday Comics… WHY NOT?!” Guess these Mad Men couldn’t foresee the answer being that they’d be marginalized to the point of becoming unfunny and irrelevant.