Super Bowl Sunday not the only day for effective advertising

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Usually, I don’t pay that much attention to television commercials, unless it’s during the Super Bowl. That wasn’t the case last Sunday (Oct. 10) while I was watching the Chicago Bears’ game. I was particularly impressed with a newer Visa commercial I saw twice.

If you watched the game, you may have seen it. The spot features four senior-aged men who claim to have been to every Super Bowl. One of the men states it’s his goal to make it to 50 Super Bowls. One of the other guys says it’s like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve combined. Another guy holds up an array of ticket stubs from all of the games. Beyond that, there really isn’t anything else that remarkable that makes you want to watch the commercial, but for some inexplicable reason, I still felt compelled to watch it each time it aired. They didn’t resort to the age-old tactics of exploiting any cute animals or talking toddlers to try to cajole you into using their product. To me, it was compelling on its own merits.

I kept thinking to myself, “What a great commercial.” It was, until I started wondering, “Was this story really true, or was this the brainchild of some Madison Avenue hotshot?” Then, another question immediately popped into my head: “If it were true, were these four guys lifelong friends who’ve always attended the Super Bowls together, or were they just four random men who happened to have in common the fact they’ve been to every Super Bowl?” I don’t believe the ad made that clear. For the remainder of the game, I found myself looking for that ad every time there was a commercial break.

I’m not precisely sure why it matters to me whether it’s true or not, and it really isn’t that important that these four guys are friends. I’m sure what is important to Visa is that I watched the ad and took the time to bring it to your attention. That’s what I call effective advertising!

From the Oct. 13-19, 2010 issue

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