It is tough for advertisers to grab people’s attention nowadays. Many of us don’t buy newspapers or magazines, TV ratings have never been so low and our attention spans are said to be shortening with each new app we download. Genuine national TV events are also increasingly rare which is why they are so important to companies wanting to make their mark. In the UK we have Royal Weddings, in the United States they have the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football and was watched on TV last year by 111 million Americans. Not to over-egg this: Super Bowl Sunday is epic. It is a landmark date in the nation’s sporting calendar, as a day for families to get together, for sales of beer and fast-food and for advertisers to pay millions of Dollars for a slot during the half-time show. Which brings us to this week’s Communicator of the Week.
A few days ago, over a full week before this year’s Super Bowl, one advertiser took the unprecedented step of releasing a trail of an advert to be shown during the game. The clip featured the actor Matthew Broderick resurrecting his most memorable character, Ferris Bueller, from the cult ‘80’s film ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.’
“How can I handle work on a day like today?” Broderick says in the clip, standing in a bathrobe in what looks like a hotel room and uttering a middle-aged version of a classic line from the film. Then, after just 10 seconds, it ends, with the ‘2.5.12.’ Super Bowl date as a teaser.
This 10 second video went global, it went viral and has so far scored over 4 million watches on YouTube. Many more have seen it via various news websites and the return of Ferris Bueller has featured as a news story in publications right around the world including some of the biggest watched or read global news outlets: Fox News, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Daily Mail, Time, amongst hundreds of others. To pay for this kind of coverage would cost many millions of Dollars.
At half-time on Sunday 100 million Americans, and everyone else who has been grabbed by this, will discover what brand Ferris Bueller is advertising. With a week still to go until the Super Bowl the rumour and buzz around this ad will continue which is why Ferris Bueller is my Communicator of the Week.