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August 2014
Issue: February 1, 2005

A BIG BOWL FULL OF COMMERCIALS

By: By Ken McGorry
I guess the Big Game really is the Super Bowl of commercials as well as the NFL's annual gladiatorial battle. Especially if you didn't have a dog in that fight, the event becomes even more about the spots we're treated to. We're not so concerned whether some dudes watching the game might take the commercial break as their cue to hit the fridge, the head, or maybe the obnoxious guy next to him on the couch. And these days millions of folks have their eyes peeled for illicit (and punishable) glimpses of bared flesh. But such flashes are now history thanks to the pendulum's current swing in the direction of functional wardrobes and gender-specific locker rooms - unless you count Consentino's depiction of a bathing Dennis Rodman.

For people into post production, this special day is about who's advertising, who did the work and how good a job they did. Commercially, Super Bowl 2005 was meant to be about cars and trucks. And beer and food. (Check out www.superbowl-ads.com if you missed some.) Movies, too - effects-heavy films like Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" were touted as was the "Batman" prequel. And such promotion has proved to heighten audience awareness even half a year after the Bowl. So, for the $2,400,000 per :30 on Fox (not counting a spot's production budget) it's worth the gamble for some.

But not for others. Nike, of all marketers, did not have a Super Bowl spot this year, yet here is an extremely well exposed brand. Served by agency Wieden + Kennedy, Nike seems to be everywhere and is always on the lookout for creative new ways to pitch its product lines - often with high-end spot work by A-list directors, but also with neat, creative little spots like one last Christmastime that was done in Flash animation.

"Post" examines the world of W+K in a new series of articles - called "Agency Profile" - starting in this issue. Our debut story (written by moi) features Ben Grylewicz, Wieden's head of broadcast production, who comments on ushering the client through the prickly process of visual effects creation.

Speaking of football, Grylewicz has worked with David Fincher, who created the Nike Gridiron "Gamebreakers" :60 at Digital Domain, and more recently with Ulf Johansson who directed Nike's "Michael Vick Experience." The future of the effects-for-spots business? Grylewicz says the moment he suspects business is cooling down, along comes a whopping big-budget commercial.