Ambitious advertisers often have two primary goals for their campaigns–to be good, and to be first. A marketing exec once told me, “No one remembers the second branded virtual reality experience ever.” That may be, but truth be told, does anyone really remember the first? (I’m going with Game of Thrones on that one.) Any ad nerd knows the first big, modern branded content play was BMW Films’ “The Hire.” Or at least that’s what everyone thinks. Which is where the “good” part always comes in handy.
This is all to say that Snickers this year decided to plant a flag in the ground, claiming it will create the first-ever live Super Bowl ad. It even released a handful of cute teasers based around that fact. Something about horses and Adam Driver. Mystery ensues. And it all may turn out amazing on Super Bowl Sunday because, let’s be honest, the brand and agency BBDO New York are no slouches when it comes to creating great work. Buuuuut, according to Advertising Age, it just may not be the first-ever live Super Bowl ad.
Turns out, the honor may belong to… Schlitz? On Super Bowl Sunday, Jan. 25, 1981, retired NFL referee Tommy Bell came on live during the game and put “100 loyal Michelob drinkers” to a blind taste test against Schlitz. This probably comes as some surprise to Snickers. About as much of a surprise as the fact Schlitz wasn’t always just for teens shotgunning cans behind the Gas N’ Sip, and actually had a Super Bowl ad.
But hey, horses and Vader’s grandson still sounds pretty cool.