Remember the NFL’s Super Bowl commercial from last year, the one with Efraim Salaam and Chester Pitts, where Pitts plays the oboe? Cute commercial, although at the time I think I preferred the one with the talking baby and the creepy clown. Anyhow, the NFL Network guys are here today, filming the Redskins entrants into this year’s SuperAd competition.
Stephon Heyer filmed his effort this morning, and I figured it was interesting enough to go along.
The whole experience starts with a refresher on what the project is about — an explanation of the contest, and a review of last year’s winning commercial.
Even though they explain on the spot that all of that wasn’t filmed on the first take in the truck, showing the ad seems like an awfully intimidating idea to me — seems like it might make guys feel like their own stories aren’t nearly as interesting or clever or well-edited. Anyhow, a pre-recorded Rich Eisen offers some words of inspiration and encouragement, and Stephon is escorted into the trailer, where he sits on a stool and stares at the wall and two video screens.
At this point, I had to wait outside — the whole trailer is designed to create the impression of sound-proofed privacy, like the confessional room in a reality show. “Oh, we’ve had some people just come in and get really emotional,” one of the engineers tells me. “Most of the time it was in ways we couldn’t use, but it felt like they were telling the stories just to get them off their chest, y’know?”
Heyer tells me after the fact that there’s another Rich Eisen intro, explaining what kinds of stories he might want to consider telling, and a few more samples from other players. Also, there’s a football in the trailer to give Heyer something to do with his hands while he talks. Then they count him in, tell him he’s got three minutes, and the ring-light around the camera goes on.
“I just tried to give the sights and feels and smells of what was going on my first day,” Heyer says afterward. “Going from being a player who no one thought was good enough to being in the playoffs, you know?”
You think you’re going to win? “Oh, I don’t know. Probably not, but it was still cool.”
At the very least, he has this T-shirt, which implores you to vote for him.
You can’t, yet — the video has to clear the first step of the screening process and be selected as a candidate first — but when you can, Stephon has a campaign T-shirt all ready to go.