Wall Street 44, Main Street 0

The National Football League's championship showdown is next weekend. During my professional lifetime, the already over-hyped Superbowl has become as famous for its commercial gridlock as it has for the action on its gridiron.

Seventeen years ago Bill and I cold pitched a Superbowl spot for Life's a Beach. The company was transitioning from a a kitschy boardshorts brand to a more fearless but even less cool T-shirt company for fratboys and weekend warriors. Our 30-second spot for No Fear didn't get bought by the brothers who owned the company, but it did get seen. We made sure of that by delivering our demo tape in the hands of a stripper. Dressed in business attire and carrying a briefcase and a boom box, our buxom account executive entered Mark and Brian Sani's office, flipped on the music and went to work. After the show, she popped our tape into the VCR and instructed No Fear's marketing team to revel in our collective genius.

They must have thought our spot sucked, because No Fear's commercial during Superbowl 27 featured nothing more creative than an 8-second bull ride in super slo-mo with the now ubiquitous No Fear logo fading to black. When you spend $1.3 million for 30 seconds, there isn't a lot of money left for high concept or high production. Bad as I remember that spot being, it probably didn't hurt sales of No Fear "Chicken/Pussy" T-shirts at JC Penny one bit. As a famous sideshow barker once intimated, there's a sucker for every receipt.

My favorite Superbowl commercial of all time is this:

There's something to be said for truth in advertising. I can't remember what it is, but I'm sure whoever coined it was an incorrigible liar.

Next week we're dropping a new website for handhelds on behalf of one of my favorite clients. Not as glamorous as shooting a spot for the Superbowl, but I stopped caring about the glamor of advertising years ago.

For me, it's always been more about moving metal than selling ideas.

There are probably a few bankrupt GM stockholders out there who wish the marketing wizards at Cadillac agreed with me.


1 comment:

WordLab said...

You still have a thing for monkeys, don't you?