Every year when the Super Bowl comes around, and the ads start, I tend to start singing, "This Nearly Was Mine." In 199t, I came so close to writing a Super Bowl ad. How close? About 30 seconds.I'd been hired by an agency to write a TV spot for Howard Stern's movie, Private Parts. The studio wanted to make a big slash with it, because it had big competition, going up against such things as Disney's live-action version of 101 Dalmatians. So, they went all all and bought air-time during the Super Bowl. And being the Super Bowl, they wanted something different. (They always want something "different." And tend to revert to the norm.)
I wrote several scripts, and the agency loved one of them and sent it to the studio's marketing department. The marketing department loved it, too. And they, in turn, sent it to the head of the studio for approval. Usually the studio head doesn't approve ads, but this was a Super Bowl Ad. No one was taking chances.
All the guy had to do was read the 30-second copy, say 'yes' or 'no' and get on with his life. Everyone waited. And waited. And waited. You know how long it takes to read a 30-second ad? Yeah, about 30-seconds. Probably less. The deadline was approaching, because if they were going to shoot the ad with Howard Stern, schedules had to be set up in time for it to be finished. And they waited, and the deadline approached...and passed.
It was too late to shoot the spot, so they ended up...reverting to the norm. They put a bunch of clips together. And that's what the Super Bowl audience saw in 1997.
I've never shown anyone the copy of the proposed TV ad before, but what the heck. I'm mean, 16 years have passed. It's meant to be totally visual, so I suspect it doesn't "read" as ultimately intended. But even if it didn't make the Super Bowl, here it finally is --
Robert J. Elisberg
December 9, 1996
"SILENCE IS GOLDEN" -- #9
(:30 TV spot)
Howard Stern sits on a stool against a backdrop. He doesn't say a word. A graphic appears on screen below him.
GRAPHIC: Hi, I'm Howard Stern.
The graphic disappears, and it is replaced by another one. In fact, that's what keeps happening -- Howard just sits there, saying nothing, and graphic after graphic appears.
GRAPHIC: I'm sure most of you are at a Super Bowl party.
NEXT GRAPHIC: So, either you can't hear the sound, or you've turned it down during commercials.
NEXT GRAPHIC: This is the only way to get your attention.
(As Howard sits there, an incredibly cute little girl runs out and jumps in Howard's lap.)
NEXT GRAPHIC: I'm about to star in my first movie, "Private Parts," based on my bestselling autobiography.
NEXT GRAPHIC: Is it any good?
NEXT GRAPHIC: If it was lousy, Paramount wouldn't have bought ad time during the Super Bowl. Trust me.
(As Howard and the adorable little girl sit there, 101 dalmatian puppies run on camera.)
NEXT GRAPHIC: Of course, it's good.
NEXT GRAPHIC: And adorable, too.
CUT TO BLACK
SUPER GRAPHIC: YOU CAN TURN THE SOUND BACK UP
OPENING _(insert date)_ EVERYWHERE, BECAUSE IT'S GOOD
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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