This has been going on for years. We haven't recognized it because of Culture Lag -- the period of time it takes to realize that a cultural phenomenon is dead. Sometimes it takes years. Sometimes decades. The Super Bowl spot is dead but it's going to take a while for us to catch on.
The advertising industry seems no longer capable of making Super Bowl ads. The best we can do is make ads that look like Super Bowl ads.
They are big. They are naughty. They feature celebrities. The things they are not are original, sophisticated, or good.
Recent Super Bowl ads have devolved into 3 distinct categories:
1. Go For The Groin: Things hit people in the crotch, people get knocked on the head, or girls with big boobs jiggle 'em.TV has lost its primacy. Most agencies today believe that the web is equal to or superior to TV as an advertising medium. They are hiring people with web skills, which are way different from traditional advertising skills.
2. Celebrities Not Being Funny: Celebrities are placed in fish-out-of-water situations which seem funny in the conference room and are rarely funny on the screen.
3. Big, Bombastic, Bullshit: Millions of dollars are spent on production to make a point that is highly relevant to clients and account planners, and meaningless to consumers.
When agencies get an assignment to make a Super Bowl ad they apparently get hysterical. Instead of making a good ad that is simple, memorable and persuasive, they make an ad that looks like a Super Bowl ad.
I guess it's the next best thing.