Super Bowl

'Anatomy of an Ad' Is Back With 'Small Business, Big Game'

Ad Age Shadows Intuit as It Creates Campaign for Super Bowl

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At some point during the process, the pressure of producing an ad for the Super Bowl manifests in visible ways.

You can see it in the tired eyes and clasped hands of everyone who's responsibility it is to produce a piece of content worthy of a nearly $5 million price tag.

It's a complicted creation involving chief marketing officers and their marketing teams footing the bills and the ad agency's creative team tasked with turning a concept into a sales pitch capable of moving product. Directors and producers are given the difficult task of unifying disparate visions of the same script and bringing it to life. And then there's everyone else involved in the production, from agency interns pre-writing tweets to the cameramen and gaffers and even the caterer.

It's a process Ad Age has documented before in its "Anatomy of an Ad" series, which has featured glue brand Loctite and Mastercard. This time, our video unit has been following Intuit QuickBooks' "Small Business Big Game" contest as it whittles down a list of 15,000 small businesses to find a company not only worthy of being given a Super Bowl ad, but one able to cope with the crush of increased demand which may come with all the attention.

Because the winning business is so small, this edition of "Anatomy of an Ad" provides a case study on the effectiveness of the Super Bowl as an advertising platform, which also ramps up the pressure on Intuit.

"Early on we understood that if we're going to do a Super Bowl ad for a small business, we have to do one that can stand with the big boys," said Adam Lowrey, VP-group creative director of Intuit's agency RPA. "When you are going to be sandwiched between Budweiser and Apple, you have to stand at their level."

Will Intuit QuickBook's gamble pay off? Find out in our three-part video series beginning Jan. 28.

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