Since last year’s super bowl, the ESB Advertising team has been working tirelessly with long time client Michael and Son to create a commercial even more memorable than that of the “Deflate-gate”. Last year, our Super Bowl commercial featuring a Barack Obama lookalike made local headlines, but this year, we wanted to take the “If You Can’t, We Can!” branding campaign to the next level!
This commercial will be one of our most memorable not only because of the exciting plot or the dramatic cinematography, but also because of the fact that the star of the commercial is none other the boxing and TV legend, Mike Tyson. Mike & Son (Yes, Tyson’s son Amir also makes a boxing debut in the spot) definitely makes for a commercial that will not go unnoticed to viewers. The commercial itself is part of a series that began in 2014 as part of a branding campaign for the Michael & Son tagline, “If you can’t, we can!” From a caveman unable to start a fire, to Apollo astronauts unable to plant the U.S. flag on the moon, and now, Mike Tyson’s son unable to beat his boxing opponent, there is clearly no problem that Michael & Son can’t solve.
The commercial was shot at the famous Sphinx Club in Washington D.C. where around 200 people gathered as spectators of the boxing match. The loud cheers and exhilaration seemed extremely real, mainly due to how excited the crowd was to see Mike Tyson in his element. The shoot lasted about 4-5 hours as we worked tirelessly in order to get the best shots from all angles of the ballroom-turned-boxing arena.
The end result was an action-packed 30 second spot that begins with a ring girl , holding up a sign signifying the start of the 8th round. Announcers are heard in the background along with the ringing of the bell, indicating the fight has started back up. Vanilla Gorilla, the leader of the fight, is seen dominating his opponent, Amir Tyson, throwing jabs from left and right. Amir seems incapable of finishing the round, and his opponent begins to mock him. Miraculously and seemingly out of nowhere his father, Mike Tyson, dressed from head to toe in a Michael and Son outfit, then storms into the ring and knocks out Vanilla Gorilla in one swift punch. He then quotes Michael & Son’s famous tag line, “IF YOU CAN’T, WE CAN!” before shattering the glass of the director’s camera- POW!
So, how did we do it?
I know what you’re thinking- Michael & Son is not a national brand, super bowl commercials cost millions, etc. I’ll explain. Though the commercial was aired during the super bowl, it was only aired in certain markets. This gives the illusion to consumers that Michael & Son has as much credibility as a national brand. The air time was most definitely more pricey than a standard Sunday afternoon time slot, however, not nearly as much as the Doritos or Snickers multi million dollar budgets. The super bowl commercial ran in 8 markets including Baltimore, DC, Norfolk, Richmond, Charlottesville, Charlotte NC, Raleigh NC, and Wilmington NC. And as for landing Tyson? Over a year of negotiations went into finalizing a deal with Tyson, with the commercial being shot less than a month before super bowl 2016.
Having used acclaimed Obama impersonator Bronx Obama the previous year, it was quite the challenge to come up with something to top it. However, we believe we definitely accomplished creating something even more memorable.