With his latest Super Bowl effort, Goodby Silvertsein & Partners co-chairman Rich Silverstein said he's never worked with so many celebrities on a Big Game spot before. No, you didn't miss the star-studded ad Sunday night. In fact, there was nothing to see since it aired on a San Francisco sports radio station during the broadcast.
The agency created the radio spot, available on SoundCloud, with the help of more than 30 celebrities with local ties to the Bay Area, host of next year's Super Bowl 50. The ad supports the 50 Fund, which pledges to give some of the anniversary game's proceeds to charities. The audio ad features a mashup of celebrity voices, including Francis Ford Coppola, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny Glover, Andy Samberg, Tony Bennett, Kristi Yamaguchi, Carlos Santana, Gov. Jerry Brown, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and even a couple of Pier 39 sea lions.
It would have been virtually impossible to coordinate the schedules of so many personalities for studio recording sessions, let alone for a TV commercial shoot. So after writing a radio script in which each celebrity says a single word, GSP sourced existing audio of the celebs. (When it couldn't find the audio it needed, a couple stars such as Tony Bennett were happy to come to the studio.)
The spot encouraged radio listeners to visit 50Fund.org to learn more about the campaign and identify the narrators. In addition to lending their names, the high-profile personalities are leveraging their diverse social media followings. Silverstein estimated that between Twitter and Facebook, a combined 25 million people have received a message about 50 Fund.
The fund was established as part of a successful effort to bring the Super Bowl to Northern California. The radio ad underscores that 25 percent of the estimated $40 million in Super Bowl proceeds will go to local nonprofit organizations, helping low-income communities and arts groups. GSP's radio ad solved the challenge of creating a pro-bono effort with so many celebs, and the un-glitzy medium helped send the message that Super Bowl cash can achieve something more lasting than a high-priced, transient ad during the game.
"Super Bowl 50 wants to promote itself differently through philanthropy and technology," explained Silverstein, whose agency volunteered time to bring the game to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. "I don't think there's ever been a host city that has ever done anything like this before. It will change the nature of sporting events. It's been sweet to work on something where everyone wants to be a part of it."
Even with a shoe-string budget, the campaign got in on the hype leading up to the game. Last week, the agency posted the tongue-in-cheek YouTube teaser above, with a slick voiceover introducing the cast of celebs and promising "the most star-studded Super Bowl commercial of all time." In explaining that set-up, Silverstein laughed at the allusion to high-profile TV ads. "People forget radio spots are commercials too," he said.