Soloflex, founded in 1978 on a wild idea to use heavy elastic bands in home exercise equipment, was by the mid-80s a direct-response phenomenon and cash machine for founder Jerry Wilson. So why not go for the biggest advertising play possible and run a Super Bowl ad?
That's what Wilson did in 1985 with "Work of Art," which ably enlists da Vinci's Vitruvian Man in an appreciation of the fit human form and relatively sleek Soloflex machine.
Asked about the business rationale for the Super Bowl buy, and the inherent massive expense, Wilson admitted what many marketers won't: Ego probably played a role, he said in an email, "just wanting to reach the Superbowl ourselves."
The 1985 airtime cost $500,000, according to Wilson. When he brought the same creative back to the game in 1987, it cost $700,000. ("I had the cash to gamble," Wilson noted.) Soloflex returned to the Super Bowl just once more, in 1995, with a pair of new ads ("Woman," "Man").Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.