Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Me and the Super Bowl

Advertising is the true poetry of America.

Does that seem a little sick?

I'm sure it's at least offensive to many of my playwright/theatre/art house friends. But if you really think about it, what this big stupid country is about, what people really vote with (pocketbooks), what they vote for (their own financial security - as they see it), how we state who we are to others (through our purchases of clothes and cars and tickets to entertainments), how our consumer culture actually works, well, it may just be possible that it's a bitter pill of truth that we all have to swallow.

Sunday, this poetry reaches its yearly zenith during one of the arguably most theatrical events in the world: The Super Bowl. (That's a trade marked name, by the way, which means if the NFL finds this blog, I may have to replace it with "the Big Game".)

And if you're a company who wants to take part in the iambic march to the cash register, well, you have to put out as much as 2.7 million bucks per 30 seconds.

Few of us will ever see that kind of money in a lifetime, let alone help someone spend a fraction of that. I, however, have been fortunate enough to work at an ad agency this past week that IS helping spend twice as much.

That's right. I've worked with a group of people who've put together a 60 second spot that will air sometime during the second quarter. Their client will shell out something over - or close to - 5 million dollars to tell people something they may not already know.

I did not come up with the spot. In fact, when I arrived, it was done.

But I liked it a lot when I saw it and was flattered to be asked to help create a little movie trailer teaser for the spot that could run on the Internet after Sunday - you know: Come see the epic at...

I'll let you know where to check it out on Monday. In the meantime, stock up on tortilla chips and get ready for a great game.

And the song of commerce that's going to be riffing away in the background.


Anonymous said...

The true poetry of America? Once upon a time maybe but if that is what it is meant to be today then we need some better poets. And I say that, as Malachy knows, as someone who owes everything he has to the conflicted and conflicting world of advertising.

Fred Wickham said...

I see there's a new trend for SuperBowl (TM) advertising now. Getting thousands of eager kids to do spec stuff -- then some lucky winner gets a job somewhere. It's nice a talented kid gets a big break, but it annoys me that corporations are getting all this free creative work done. Have a happy SuperBowl (TM).

Anonymous said...


malachy walsh said...

Fred, I thought all advertising worked that way...

And Dave, indeed, we may need better poets. And yet, when haven't we?

What'd be even better is a day poets who can make money writing true poetry.

Dave said...

Poets making money. Now I like the sound of that!
Actually, when advertising manages to 'inform' people by being entertaining, rather than the hard sell junk that all but the most inspired clients insist on, it can achieve poetic creativity. And Malachy you already know I consider your last Nokia campaign to be in that category. Even though in that case we had a client who didn't understand the power of what they'd been given. This is why I think management of advertising at the client side is almost more important than what agency gets to do the work. I guess the parallel is that there are a lot of good scriptwriters, songwriters, etc out there but they need the people who manage the opportunities to give them the chance to show what they can do.