February 5, 2010 in Business, City

Ad agency hoping for Super Bowl win

By The Spokesman-Review
Magner Sanborn Agency photo

Sportscaster Jim Nantz, left, speaks with Jason Pollock, center, and Dennis Magner of the Magner Sanborn Agency on the set of a commercial being filmed for the upcoming Superbowl telecast. Magner Sanborn Agency is based in Spokane. Handout from Magner Sanborn Agency.
(Full-size photo)

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Flo TV

Spokane ad agency Magner Sanborn is geared up for its two minutes of fame. The Spokane ad agency has produced three TV ads running during Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIV.

Dennis Magner, president of the 20-person firm, said the company has pride and reputation on the line, being the first Spokane ad agency to produce a Super Bowl TV spot.

“This is like the Super Bowl of advertising for us as well,” Magner said.

Right after Christmas executives from Flo TV, a subsidiary of tech firm Qualcomm, told Magner Sanborn it needed three Super Bowl spots by Feb. 1. Manger Sanborn had just finished the multimedia campaign for the Flo TV launch.

Flo TV is a $249 mobile video device that lets people watch TV programs on demand, on the go.

Filming and producing the three Flo TV ads became a full-time job since early January, Manger said.

Two of the spots will last 30 seconds. A full 60-second ad spotlighting Flo TV will run just before halftime.

That ad, called “Moments,” is a visually riveting ad that tries to capture the impact of TV on the American psyche.

The Super Bowl is considered the U.S. ad industry’s largest showcase for creativity and viewer impact. Competition for air time has lifted the price tag to roughly $3 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad, Magner said.

The 60-second “Moments” spot involves about 140 editing cuts that create a cascade of striking visual moments from American history. The soundtrack features The Who’s “My Generation,” remixed by will.i.am, the frontman for the band The Black-Eyed Peas.

“It really depicts what we believe are iconic TV moments from the past,” Manger said. “It shows how TV is important in our lives.”

The images include Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King Jr., the Olympics, “I Love Lucy,” the first moon landing and Woodstock.

The seven-person creative team from Magner Sanborn and a partner firm for the ad, Southern California-based Agency 3.0, argued the list should include somber, more painful moments as well. Those include the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, 9/11 and recovery efforts in Haiti.

It took some negotiation before Qualcomm’s management agreed to include those scenes in the spot, he said.

“Our position is that the more tumultuous moments are also part of what we remember,” Magner said. “TV didn’t just inform, it also united us through a common lens.”

Other shots that might have been added – Elvis on Ed Sullivan for instance – didn’t get in due to problems gaining approval from their estates or their representatives, Magner said.

It took two days of nearly non-stop work by a team in Los Angeles to get approvals for the scenes involving people whose images are protected or copyrighted, Magner said.

After “Moments” airs Sunday, a full three-minute audio version of will.i.am’s mix will be available on iTunes. Proceeds from downloads for the first month will go to relief efforts in Haiti.

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