Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Super Commercial: Be Like Mike

Unless you live under a rock, you know that this weekend is the Super Bowl. But did you know that there will be two games being played on Sunday? There's the game on the field of course, but the other game being played is for your advertising dollar. Super Bowl Sunday is like, uhhh, the Super Bowl of commercials. Man, I should work in the advertising industry to be able to come up with a line like that one, eh? The best (which is debatable) and most expensive (which is not) commercials will vie for our attention on Sunday as we root for Da Bears or The Colts. Advertisers are willing to shell out obscene amounts of money to have their spot run during the big game, a cost running as high as $2.6 million this year, up slightly from $2.5 million last year.

Is it worth it? Do you remember any of the Super Bowl spots that ran last year? I think I remember the one with the emasculated husband, and the one with the big bosomed bimbos. Wait a sec, that could have been all of them. Seriously though, I remember one or two, there's always the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial, and I think there was another one with a bunch of twentysomething dumb guys for Bud Light praying to a revolving refrigerator. Other than that, I think I was too busy manning the grill to pay attention. (I make a mean chicken wrapped in bacon.)

So all of this talk of commercials got me to thinking about what commercials do work? What commercials leave an indelible mark on our society? A spot that positively inspires, one that doesn't leave us with an insipid catchphrase that eventually will be used on a flashback edition of Trivial Pursuit as an answer to a question. I came up with one, Gatorade's 1991 commercial featuring His Airness himself, Michael Jordan in "Be Like Mike."

Oh, and by the way? It wasn't even a Super Bowl commercial. Go figure.

Instead, it was a perfect advertising campaign featuring an athlete who at the time was at the peak of his game on the court and off. It inspired the viewer to greatness through using their product. Thankfully, their spokeman's image remained untarnished throughout the years. Although Jordan recently filed for divorce and his gambling problems raised questions, it's legacy remained in tact. And that is a testament to a good commercial campaign. Try to remember this on Sunday when you sit through the farting animals, Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline, and of course the thing sandwiched between it all, the game itself.

For a really interesting article on the history of the "Be Like Mike" campaign read "
How Gatorade Turned the Science of Sweat into a Cultural Phenomenon" by Darren Rovell. Fascinating stuff.

For Your Consideration:
Teknoe - (I Wanna) Be Like Mike (Original Version) Mp3

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