Reebok continued its early-90s Super Bowl run with its pair of ads in Super Bowl XXVIII, this one focused on its shoes’ pump technology. Emmett Smith follows in the tradition of earlier Pump endorsers in the Super Bowl, including Dominque Wilson and Boomer Esiason in 1991 and Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson in 1992.
But this ad stands out by cutting in footage from the Cowboys-Bills game underway. As the Los Angeles Time put it:
... critics were impressed by a Reebok Insta-Pump spot with Emmitt Smith that looked almost like part of the game. Said Carmon Johnston, broadcast production director at Uniworld Group, "The star of the show was the Reebok ad that used actual highlight footage to cut a commercial live."
The star of the ad might not have even been Smith if it weren't for the way the game unfolded. The commercial's producer, Phil Tuckett, VP-entertainment videos for NFL Films, told The New York Times' Richard Sandomir that Bills running back Thurman Thomas was initially looking like the right player to feature in the spot, only to lose momentum when he fumbled in the third quarter:
Tuckett told his cameraman to keep filming Thomas in case his fortunes improved. But they did not. When Emmitt Smith made three third-quarter rushes, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run, Reebok had its star. Smith was subsequently voted the game's most valuable player.
"We had to rebuild the piece from scratch and told NBC that we'd deliver it with five minutes left in the game," said Tuckett. But the deadline passed and the finished 30-second spot was delivered to NBC with 2:42 remaining.
Like Reebok's other ad in Super Bowl XXVIII ("Shoot, Pass, Slam"), "In My Shoes" was some of the final work for the brand by the Venice, Calif., office of Chiat/Day after Leo Burnett picked up the account a few months prior.
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