How to Get National Attention With a $100,000 Local Super Bowl Ad

Georgia lawyer explains his fire-and-brimstone strategy

While brands this year spent millions trying to score a Super Bowl hit, one Georgia  lawyer has perfected a formula for creating viral Big Game ads. He's struck gold not once, but twice. Best of all, he only spent $100,000 for this year's spot—a little over $20,000 for airtime in Savannah, Ga., and the rest on production, casting, crew and equipment costs.  

Jamie Casino—yes, that is his legal name—burst into the scene last year with an epic two-minute spot that ran in Savannah, Ga., that narrated the lawyer's shift from criminal defense to personal injury after his brother was murdered. (It's impossible to do it justice by describing it, just know it contains copious amounts of fire, slow-motion sledgehammer scenes and metal music—and that Casino wrote, directed and starred in it himself.) It went viral after the game, garnering more than 5.6 million views on YouTube and scored him a reality TV deal with Warner Horizon Television, which according to him is still in development.

This year, he returned for another two-minute regional spot, this time tackling bullying as well as former Savannah mayor Otis Johnson and his team. Drawing on his own personal experiences of fighting childhood bullies and cancer, Casino applied the same grandiose shots and bombastic themes that one would expect in a Michael Bay movie. The four-week project—full of cackling henchmen, aerial pans of the city, and the most badass angel known to man—boasts the tagline "Bullying is bad. Silence is worse." To drive the point home, he doesn't even mention a phone number or website to contact him at. 

"The Super Bowl is the time of the year where you do things that are out of the box," Casino said. "That typical ad is just not effective during the year, but during the Super Bowl it is because people are looking for those ads. The storytelling, the cinematic footage—that I think works personally, and that's why I decided to take that angle when I do those spots."

Here's what else we learned about Casino's strategy:

He has no filmmaking training

Despite the high cinematic value, Casino said he never studied film. He was an education major in Temple University, where he took some photography classes. He is a fan of cinema, however, and counts Shawshank Redemption and Quentin Tarantino movies among his favorites.

"I don't know why I have certain talents in that area. Maybe they're just natural," he said.

Religion and metal are a huge inspiration

The church sequences, graveyard scenes and angel character all stem from Casino's deeply rooted religious beliefs. But, in case you couldn't tell by the soundtrack (and the themes), Casino is a huge fan of metal bands, especially Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, and Guns and Roses. Casino licensed the music for the ads from Nick Nolan, whose tracks include "Devil Gets Your Soul" and "Life of Sin."

He's still shocked the first ad went viral

Casino just intended the first ad to be seen by Savannah residents, which is why he brought up local issues with the police chief in his first ad, intending to spark community discussion. He never expected it to get national attention.

"Last year put me in a panic mode," he admitted. "I didn't realize it was going to go viral. Once I got over that I realized, 'Wow man, you can have a positive impact on trying to get people to do the right thing if you put stuff out there.'"

This year's ad is a sequel that explains how Savannah's police chief, who is awaiting sentencing, got appointed by what Casino deems a corrupt system. He's glad that people are talking about his spot, because it's putting Savannah politics on the map.

"You take a chance when you do stuff like this because you never know how it's going to turn out," he said. "When things do get out there outside your city, it's good because people are watching it, seeing the issues that are going on and probably relating to it."

He's open to doing commercials for other brands

Both commercials were produced by Casino's company, Smash House Productions, which has only created spots for Casino's business to date. Unfortunately, he said there likely will not be a Casino's Law 3 next year. However, he is open to creating ads for other brands if he agrees with their message.

"There's certain things I'm not for, like drinking. Budweiser makes big money on booze and stuff. I would do ads for smaller companies that are more touching. I'm an emotional guy," he said.