The 18th edition of Super Bowl Greatest Commercials will air tonight at 8:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Back in the Executive Producer’s chair this year is Bob Horowitz, one of the most well respected EP’s in the industry.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss caught up with Horowitz to discuss why people love these commercials so much, his all-time favorite commercial and his personal prediction for The Big Game.
MW- Hey Bob, good morning!
BH- Hi Matt how are you?
MW- Doing well! So we’ve got another edition of Super Bowl Greatest Commercials coming up and you’ve been doing this show for almost twenty years which is astounding. The Super Bowl is basically a holiday in the U.S. and the commercials are a big part of it for casual fans around the country. What is it about this one night a year where people actually look forward to the commercials?
BH- I think it’s one of those things were, I liken the funny and successful commercials to a skit you might see on a show like Saturday Night Live. In many ways a fan of funny that might want to tune into a comedy show and wouldn’t tune into a regular season football game can watch on Sunday and know there will be 60 minutes of football but there will also be these comedic nuggets mixed in and they will be entertained. The audience is there, a 125 million strong. There’s no other show like that where you know exactly what the three hours is going to be. The onus is on the creative community to come up with creative that resonates and makes the $5 million investment worth it for the audience.
MW- How have you seen these commercials evolve over time? What’s the different between a commercial today vs one from 15 years ago?
BH- That’s a great question. I really don’t think there is a lot of difference though. The ingredients are the same. They either tug at the heart strings like the Mean Joe Green commercial or “Puppy Love” the Budweiser campaign. Or you have the ones that make you laugh out loud. If anything there may be a little more, and I’m going to check this, but there may be a little more celebrities in the spots, especially the funny ones.
But I think the ingredients for success have been there every since the big commercials started 35 years ago. I’d say the starting point was the Apple 1984 commercial. I think that’s the success of our show every year because really the only difference in the spots that we watch in the edit bay or screen in the months before is the picture ratio whether it’s 16×9 or 4×3 which denotes an older spot but the funny is the same.
MW- Now you’ve seen hundreds of commercials so you’re uniquely qualified to answer this question – what is the best Super Bowl commercial of all time?
BH- I’d say it’s the Mean Joe Coke spot with the kid. It’s resonated for so many years, I have to believe that’s it. The only thing I’d say to couch it a bit is over all the years of doing our show it’s been highlighted a lot so it may be at the forefront of my thoughts. I think that the Mean Joe spot is really for me. We have a spot on the show tonight that we had on the sideline for years that I think is one of the top three for years though is the “Terry Tate Office Linebacker.”
Another big area of success that speaks to the fact that you don’t need to spend a ton on promotion, sometimes ideas can be executed cheaply, is the Doritos “Crash The Super Bowl” campaign with user generated commercial. That underscores how the next generation of Madison Avenue has funny, clever ideas that resonate.
MW- Last question before I let you go, we’ve talked a lot about the commercials but there is a game being played on Sunday as well. What’s your prediction for the big game?
BH- My heart is with the Rams. It’s a tough one. This is going to sound like I’m playing the middle but it’s not, in much the same way I love doing the show because it’s about how great the commercials are and I love being apart of something that is perfection and that is the New England Patriots. I’m not a Patriots fan but I do admire them. We started our show in 2001 the same season the Patriots went to the Super Bowl and they’ve been excellent all these years. Just like the commercials it keeps on going.
MW- And they played the Rams that year.
BH- They played the Rams in 2001 in New Orleans, the score was 20-17. That’s when Brady and Belichick started their run and that’s when Super Bowl Commercials on CBS started our run and we’ll see which lasts longer.
MW- Hopefully the show.
BH- Put it this way I don’t think either Brady or Super Bowl Commercials on CBS will be done after this year.
MW- Thanks for the time today Bob and looking forward to this year’s edition of Super Bowl Commercials on CBS!
BH- My pleasure, thanks so much.
Catch all the laughs on Super Bowl Greatest Commercials tonight at 8:00 PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.