Timex journeys under the sea for Super Bowl XX in this spot courtesy of then-independent Grey Advertising, its primary agency since 1975. The ad is remarkable, not only for its length in the first Super Bowl where 60 seconds cost more than $1 million, but for its underwater cinematography and ambition, as Bernice Kanner wrote in New York magazine, where he called it the best ad of the 1986 game:
Filmed beneath the Red Sea, and using surrealistic special effects and a 60-foot-long, 22-foot model of the new waterproof watch, the spot is -- for the first 55 of its 60 seconds -- a bewildering underwater adventure. To the accompaniment of sounds that resemble tropical bird calls, three scuba divers toil in the depths, wielding salvage vacuums and acetylene torches. "What's this all about?" the view wonders, drawn to the visual feast.
The Atlantis 100 revealed on Super Bowl Sunday became the top seller in Timex's sports watch line, which was helping the brand regain strength amid a flood of low-cost digital imports and brightly-colored plastic Swatches. Grey, however, resigned the Timex account the following year. In 1988, Timex brought back its earlier tag line, "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking."
Film Director: Barry Meyer. Creative director: Jim Morrissey. Art director: Jeff Hill.
AGENCY: Grey Advertising