Element 79’s Super Bowl Quickie

Super Bowl spots take months to create. Or not.
According to Lewis Lazare, Chicago’s Element 79 put one together in a hurry for their client Frito-Lay. Creative Director, Phil Gant, at the agency all of a week, went to Chief Creative Officer, Dennis Ryan, with his pitch a mere eight days prior to the game.

Gant, who had been chief creative officer at BBDO/Chicago, wanted to do a commercial showing groups of people in different settings watching the game. As the commercial progressed, we would see that all the people were African Americans. A message would appear on screen asking “Who’s winning?,” followed by the answer “We all are,” before a final reminder to “Enjoy the game.”
Ryan was immediately taken with the concept. Within an hour, Ryan had sold the spot to Element 79 client Frito-Lay. That left Gant just days — about four, give or take — to get the spot made and approved by Frito-Lay, CBS and the NFL.

Of course, the spot isn’t going to collect any trophies in the south of France. The Coca-Cola Black History Month spot was called “painfully contrived and expected” by one informed observer. Yet, I prefer that execution over the one above. Still, it is a wonder that Element 79 moved as fast as they did.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.