In the 30-second spot, the league not only takes a swipe at itself, it pokes fun at the circus-like "Super Bowl of Advertising" as well.
"We wanted the fan to come up with a fresh idea," said NFL VP-Marketing Lisa Baird. "It became a little bit of fun to say the NFL is sitting around and couldn't come up with anything."
The spot opens with text that reads "NFL Marketing Staff Meeting." A group of people are sitting around a conference table and one of the lead executives says an idea is needed for a Super Bowl commercial. A young man immediately says "Don Cheadle," but the idea is shot down since Mr. Cheadle has actually already appeared in four consecutive years of spots for the NFL touting its playoffs.
The league actually talked to Mr. Cheadle last week, telling the acclaimed actor it was going to reference his commercials in this spot, and he quickly signed off on the idea and found it funny.
As the commercial continues, a woman who is apparently supposed to be Ms. Baird (who quipped, "I wish I could have approved casting") then says, "We've got to do something that's never been done before."
"Everything's been done," one man replies.
"Twice," chimes in another.
The lead exec, exasperated, says, "We need help," and the screen flashes to the promos for the contest, directing viewers to a website, NFL.com/superad.
About the fan
"This came out of the idea that fans have great stories to tell themselves, and this year seems like the fan should be at the center to how we're going to present the NFL," Ms. Baird said. "It was less a nod to the whole wave of Super Bowl advertising and more about the fan. It could be a fan from New Orleans who has a story to tell. It could be an Ad Age reader, for all we know. It could be someone who has spent their life with the NFL. I just want a piece of brilliant creative."
The winning spot will be helmed by famed director Joe Pytka, who was also involved in this commercial by writing several of the lines. The NFL's in-house marketing team and its agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO, also contributed.