Babies? Puppies? Sounds Like a Super Bowl Commercial

E*Trade returns as Farmer's Dog debuts

What good's the Super Bowl without babies and dogs showing up in commercial breaks? This year, thankfully, we won't have to find out. Both Big Game staples will be on display Sunday, courtesy of separate campaigns from two very different advertisers.

First, we visit the E*Trade tykes, as the company, a unit of Morgan Stanley, airs a :30 from MullenLowe and director Randy Krallman.

It's set at a wedding. Two babes get hitched. They seem a tad ... young. But if they're happy, isn't that all that really matters?

E*Trade's wee ones debuted in the Super Bowl 15 years ago, returning several times since. They always look so ... young. It's like they never age.

Next, furry-friend feeder The Farmer's Dog makes its first appearance on adland's biggest stage. Cuteness veers into heart-warming, moist-eyed territory over the course of a cinematic :60. Developed in-house with director Goh Iromoto, the story follows a little girl and her pooch growing up together, sharing the joys, sorrows and challenges of life.

That face at the end! Check it:

What a sweet bud. Stirs memories of other famous Super Bowl doggies for some of us.

OK, the spots from E*Trade and Farmer's Dog aren't much alike in terms of tone or execution. Regardless, like so many Big Game commercials, they serve as signposts on a cultural continuum. They reflect and inform popular sentiments and obsessions—trivial and otherwise—over a considerable span of time.

We seek out these tropes each year. Love 'em or hate 'em, laugh or cry, they're part of our collective consciousness, sinking deeper into our psyches as they toddle and wag their way across millions of screens.

Bottom line: Bowser beats babies! So cuuute! Better luck next time, kids.

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