Coke's Wizards Ad Explained
Yesterday I posted about the way some obsessive Wiz fans and I noticed that the audio and video of Coke's Super Bowl ad featuring the Wizards did not match up. Investigative journalism commenced. (If you just want the answer, scroll to the bottom.)
From the Wizards, I learned that James Carville, Bill Frist and friends never even came to a game for this commercial (although Carville is a current season-ticket holder and Frist a former one). They all came to the arena on a dark day in December for a shoot that took about four hours, start to finish; the end result was about five seconds that culminated with Gilbert's shot and Buckhantz's Dagger and G-Wiz kissing Carville on the head. I wondered how you could spend four hours to get five seconds worth of a mascot kissing a bald-headed political pundit.
"Can I tell you something?" asked Carville, who found time to talk with me about G-Wiz on the day after Super Tuesday. "I've done feature film movies, television shows, [and] I mean, the production in that thing, good God, it must have been like 'Gone With the Wind.' "
(Carville is also a Nats fan, but roots for the Saints in football.)
Carville had no idea that the audio and video weren't a match, and it turns out that when Buckhantz--who only learned of his impending national stardom a week before the Super Bowl--initially missed the mismatch as well. A computer geek friend of his found the clip online and sent it to the play-by-play man before the day of the game; Buckhantz watched it and moved on with his life. He invited friends and family over to watch the game in his surround-sound living room, but the surround-sound went on the fritz and only an emergency repair visit even allowed the television speakers to work by game time. The ad came during the second break of the fourth quarter. The result?
"You could barely even hear [the 'Daggerrrrr'] on my own TV set," Buckhantz told me. "So it was rather anticlimactic. Everyone sat here after the commercial was over and looked at each other and said 'I didn't even hear you.' "
I asked him about the audio-visual discrepancy; "It really took me five times looking at it to even notice it wasn't Gilbert, because it happened too quick," Buckhantz said. "If you got up to go the kitchen or the bathroom, or if you coughed, you missed that part of it."
Believe it or not, Buckhantz believed the audio to be from Gilbert's game-winner against the Bulls in the 2005 playoffs; I disagreed then, and still disagree now. It was, in my opinions, and appropriately, the Bucks.
Anyhow, at the close of business yesterday, Coke spokeswoman Susan Stribling called me back with the answer. The company requested the clip from the Wizards and the NBA, but what they received was not in HD. With so many people taking special delight in an HD Super Bowl, the company didn't want to show an SD ad, so they requested a different, HD clip. What they got was that bit against the Heat, but there was no audio attached. So now, working with tight time constraints, they had dramatic audio from an SD video clip, and no audio from a non-dramatic HD clip. You know what the result was.
"It was a matter of creative editing so we could have a high-def version," she said. "We certainly have to give [Wiz fans] kudos for having their love of the Wizards be so extensive that they'd catch the difference."
All this, to my mind, distracted from another key question: why was G-Wiz chosen over G-Man. That will have to wait for another day, but in the meantime, I did get some comments on G-Wiz.
"I have to say, I'm not terribly familiar with him, but he's very entertaining in our ad," Stribling said. "I'm not a big aficionado of NBA mascots--I'm more of a college football person--but he's fun, he's big and blue, so he stands out. I don't know how you can't like him in this ad, kissing James Carville on the head."
"He's kind of a pro; I've gone to a lot of sporting events, and it strikes me that he tends to be more energetic than most of 'em," Carville said. "He didn't mess my hair up, thank God."
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