Silverman Productions Capitalizes on NFL Talent, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in Powerball Campaign

By Erik Oster 

When you’re selling a product that in all likelihood will provide people with absolutely nothing, appearances become even more important.

So the Multi-State Lottery Assocation tapped director Jay Silverman and Silverman Productions for a $30 million campaign for Powerball, featuring NFL Hall of Fame players Terry Bradshaw, Warren Moon, Joe Namath, Jerry Rice, and Barry Sanders. They were very pleased with the results. Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi_State Lottery Association says in a statement, “Jay and his team manage to pull out the true personalities behind these legends, capturing them for all to see, without any guesswork.”


The campaign capitalizes not just on the popularity of these all-time great NFL players, but also on Dancing with the Stars, via Jerry Rice’s inclusion. There’s also an “Ultimate Tailgate Party” promotion, which will allow Powerball players to win admittance to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Festival at Cleveland’s I-X Center on May 3–4, 2014 and attend a special tailgate party the night before.

The Ultimate Tailgate Party is plugged in the spot “Anniversary Gift,” in which a woman suggests to her significant other that they get each other Powerball tickets for their anniversary. “You could hang out with some of the greatest football players ever,” she suggests as we flash to a scene of the man interacting with Barry Sanders and Joe Namath. “But what will you do?” he asks, as we flash to a scene of her dancing with Jerry Rice. The woman claims to just be thinking of him, with a knowing smile.

In another spot, “The Fun of Powerball,” we see the same couple trying to decide on “something exciting to do” in the grocery store. Jerry Rice pops up out of nowhere and suggests they play Powerball. “Is that Jerry Rice?” the woman asks, excited. “The Hall of Fame football player?” responds the man, to which the woman says, “No, the dancer.” It’s a little hokey, but a humorous examination of how a couple might see Jerry Rice a little differently after his turn on Dancing with the Stars. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who only know Rice from his time on the popular show. Each spot concludes with Terry Bradshaw enticing viewers to play Powerball for their chance to win.

This campaign has an almost nostalgic kind of cheesiness to it. These spots feel like they could have been made anytime between the 90s and now, if only Dancing with the Stars had existed back then (I’m really grateful it didn’t, though). There’s something reassuring in that.