What’s It Like Shooting a Spot for the Big Game?

Feb 10, 2017

There’s a saying—or maybe Tom Waits just said it—but it goes like this: “I never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long.”

We’d add to that saying, “I never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long, moved back and worked on Cincinnati Bell, one of the city’s bigger accounts, for 10 years.” In those 10 years, we’ve shot just about everywhere at least twice: Mariemont, Indian Hill, Clifton, Oakley, Over-the-Rhine, Fountain Square, Kentucky, bridges, 4th Street, Vine Street, Race Street—all the streets.

In our latest raison d’être we did all of the above again, but this time we had a local band to compose a song that really brings it home.

Our Group Creative Director, Ried Cartwright—who’s been involved in plenty of spots created specifically for the Big Game over the years—gave a little insight of what it’s like to be involved in the process:

So…do you want to know what it’s like making a spot for the Big Game spot? Well, first of all, the spot we created did air during the game but did not cost $5 million, so the pressure was not as intense. However, having a spot run on a big day like Sunday means two things: first, you more than likely shot it in January in Cincinnati, and, as it was primarily shot outside, that means I was cold for about a week straight—like 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. cold; second, you will be at a party, and everyone will judge you. Being the center of attention after your spot runs is nerve-racking. There’s the fear that maybe the sound is off, the color is off, the concept just sucks, or perhaps the station runs the wrong spot (it happens). But when it all goes right, as this one did, it’s the best. Mom-is-proud-of-you kind of best. It’s a small slice of the limelight that everyone in the industry enjoys. It’s why we do what we do.

With the help of an outside vendor, Rebel Pilgrim, we added Over-the-Rhine to the formula. The husband-and-wife duo of Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist provided a jaw-dropping sonic backdrop to this beautiful city.

The idea actually came from SVP Christi Cornette of Cincinnati Bell. Her strategy has always been to involve the city in the advertising as much as possible. And that makes sense: Cincinnati Bell has been here 144 years—they are a huge part of this city’s growth and development.

We also included all (okay, some) of their 3,200 employees. They demonstrate that no matter where you live or where you go, there is a Cincinnati Bell employee close by. They are your neighbors, they are sitting next to you in a restaurant, they’re at the movies—they are Cincinnati.

It’s a beautiful spot, and our hometown has never looked so good. Plus, having a 60-second spot during the Big Game that holds its own against national brands is pretty awesome.

Director Dave Morrison and Lightborne provided the stunning visuals, and Digital Groove made sure everything sounded perfect. It takes a village to make a masterpiece, and we’re proud of the result: