The National Football League is developing a television advertisement in the Super Bowl 2007 based on the concepts developed by Gino Bona, a fan from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Bona was one of 1700 NFL fans who showed up at three locations around the United States to deliver a pitch for the big day, competing for the chance to have their idea put into film by director Joe Pytka. The competition was soon narrowed down to a choice of twelve. The NFL based thirty percent of their decision on online balloting from the public at www.nfl.com/superad.
Bona’s pitch is called, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye”, set to the song of the same name by Boyz II Men. He imagines a scenario in which sad NFL fans stow away football paraphernalia at the end of the season, not to be seen until the beginning of the next. A “We’re #1″ foam hand is stowed away in a closet. A San Francisco 49ers inflatable chair is drained of its air. A Patriots fan stands in the shower, the paint flowing from his shaved head and face. A bartender slides a tab of $6000 to his grieving regulars at the bar. A man takes a Chicago Bears jersey off his Great Dane. The Toughest Man in NFL History sits on his couch sobbing. His wife calls from next door. “Honey? Are you crying?” Finally the spot cuts to a black screen with the NFL logo and the words, “It’s hard for us, too”.
Click on the image below to play the finished commercial in YouTube (HD)
Bona works for a sales and marketing firm in Portland, Maine, and has a background as sports columnist. See Gino Bona’s web site, Wink and the Gun.
NFL still have a number of the pitches on their web site www.nfl.com/superad – they’re worth a look.
Download It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye from iTunes:
In the end, there were a few differences between Bola’s pitch and the final product.
The Boyz II Men song was replaced with Louis Armstrong’s “St. James infirmary,” a slow-paced trumpet solo. There was no lamenting Dick Butkus, as planned, but Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who has announced his plans to retire from football only to change his mind in each of the past two seasons, made a cameo appearance. “For some,” the message on the screen states after the shot of Favre, “it’s even harder.”