In 1997, MCI ran a pair of Super Bowl ads evoking the wonder of the young internet ("Emoticons," "Space Kids"). The dot-com boom came and went (see E-Trade's "Ghost Town" of 2001). By 2004, appeals about the maturing internet were more nuts-and-bolts in nature, about things like speed.
Here AOL, then a division of a company that had recently gone from calling itself AOL Time Warner to just Time Warner, comes to the Super Bowl with three spots promoting the "Top Speed" feature of its latest version (see also "Car" and "Motorcycle"). The ads by Wieden & Kennedy feature the Teutul family, stars of Discovery Channel's hit ''American Chopper'' reality show. Beset by rivals, AOL wanted to make a big impact, an executive told The New York Times before the game:
''It's like war; we have one chance to win,'' said Len Short, executive vice president for brand marketing at America Online in Dulles, Va.
''So we've got to make sure we come up with the right answers,'' he added, ''and make sure our customers have no good reason to consider anyone else.''
The Super Bowl buy was part of a larger strategy to take advantage of big TV events including the Daytona 500, the Grammys, the Oscars, the NBA All-Star Game and the finale of NBC's ''Friends," the Times reported.
Director: Hank Perlman. Production company: Hungry Man. Director of Photography: Adam Beckman.
Wieden & Kennedy creative directors: Jed Alger, Tim Hanrahan. Executive producer: Ben Grylewicz. Agency producer: Cherie Appleby. Art director: Ryan O'Rourke. Copywriter: Mark Fitzloff.
VFX: A52. Sound company: 740 Sound Design. Music/sound: David Blau Music. Editorial: Joint Editorial. Editors: Corky Devault, Lucas Eskin.
AGENCY: Wieden & Kennedy