February 2007 was a heady time for Garmin International. It had been steadily unleashing an array of mapping devices since 2000, when it received Defense Department approval of its GPS for civilians, and the iPhone would not arrive bearing Google Maps until that June. It was perhaps the perfect time for its first Super Bowl commercial (if not arguably a year or two late).
Like many a classic Super Bowl ad, Garmin's big-game debut runs on nostalgia and some familiar intellectual property. This "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers"-esque adventure, via the Minneapolis headquarters of Fallon, also makes a pretty clear case for the unique selling proposition: A compact GPS device is better than unwieldy paper maps.
Garmin teased the effort with YouTube video before the game about "Garmin Man," setting up the premise on its company blog:
Life before our average Joe found Garmin and discovered his GPS powers was…well…undeniably dull. It’s hard to appreciate his metamorphosis without knowing him before he became Garmin Man, but we’ve done our best to give you a glimpse of his extreme makeover. And as he’ll tell you, he still has a few secrets that won’t be revealed until the Super Bowl.
The marketer bought Super Bowl ad time again the following year as well ("Napoleon") before returning to the sidelines.
Director: Ulf Johansson. Production company: Smith & Jones Films. Director of photography: Barry Ackroyd. Executive producer: Philippa Smith. Production managers: Robin Brown, Jane Linfoot, Nicola Sims.
Fallon group creative director: Brian Tierney. Creatives: Brian Tierney, Kris Wixom, Alisa Sengel Wixom. Director of broadcast: Vic Palumbo. Senior agency producer: Marty Wetherall. Agency music supervisor: Michael Elliot-Knight.
Online/VFX artist: Steve Medin. VFX: Randy Gackstetter. VFX executive producer: Christine Tierney.
Editorial: HutchCo Technologies. Editors: Jim Hutchins, Paal Rui. Colorist: Jean-Clement Soret. Sound design/audio engineer: Ken Chastain. Producer: Allison Swanson. Music producer: Pat Weaver. Music artist: Steve Grimmett.
QUARTER AIRED: Q2