Collier’s Weekly: The Super Bowl Ads Were Dull — Let’s ’Burgh Them Up

We can do a lot better than LeBron James shilling for crypto.

That was not the most inspiring lineup of Super Bowl ads.

Yes, there were the de rigueur celebrity throwbacks (I’ll admit I enjoyed the return of the Cable Guy) and heartstring-pulling animals. But the proliferation of off-putting spots for cryptocurrency services and dull car ads made it the rare year where even a three-and-out punt seemed more compelling than the million-dollar spots.

I got to thinking, though: Why don’t Pittsburgh ads look like these? But better?

True, a commercial on the nightly news isn’t going to reach even a hundredth of the eyeballs that a Super Bowl ad hits — and the budgets should be adjusted accordingly. But there are plenty of beloved local figures who would work for a much lower fee than Larry David — and, given our excitement at seeing regional heroes in any context, a well-designed commercial would become the (lucrative) talk of the town.

Consider these free pitches — if any ad agencies like them, I’m available for a surprisingly reasonable fee (a Sheetz gift card and someone else agreeing to pay my parking tickets).



The Cast of “Slapshot” for Turner’s Tea
Okay, we can’t really reunite the full cast; Paul Newman has gone to the great salad bar in the sky, and Michael Ontkean retired to Hawaii and won’t return to the lower 48. No matter; the Hanson Brothers generally turn up whenever there’s a good reason. The scene is a pee-wee hockey game: one team, down by four, presses a Turner’s Tea button and summons the Hansons as late-game substitutions. They skate circles around the opposing mites and score 10 goals. We all go buy tea immediately.


The Pirate Parrot for The National Aviary
In a mockumentary-style spot, Aviary staff reflect on the challenges of caring for their newest addition: The Pirate Parrot. He tries to settle into a water feature, inadvertently splashing a passing school tour group; he fires a t-shirt cannon onto the roof, drawing disapproving glances from the Andean condors. Eventually, staff ask him to move out, but he responds only by rotating his torso and attempting a rudimentary version of the “Electric Slide.”



Jeff Goldblum for Kennywood Park
“Hello, uhh, fellow natives of Allegheny County. I am — indeed! — Jeff Goldblum, and back before I was the dashing, urbane, haha, internationally recognized ac-tor you see before you, I grew up just, oh, a stretch down the river from the one, the only, Kennywood Park! Now, as you may know, if you, uhh, attend the movies, I know a thing or two about tourist attractions when they, ahem, get out of hand? So I can personally confirm that the only thing you have to fear at THIS park … is simply having too much fun! Life, uhh, finds a way — to buy a Kennywood annual pass!”

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The Clarks for Clark Bars
Upon arriving at a gig, the longstanding local rockers are confronted by a new band: The Klondikes. It’s a ready-made showdown; the Pittsburgh band named for the Pittsburgh-bred confection confronted by some Buckeyes named after Youngstown’s famous sweet treat. The Clarks plug in, play the opening bars of “Cigarette” and the Klondikes melt. It’s a little weird, but you’ll still want a Clark bar. (Or a Klondike. Come to think of it, this one could backfire.)

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Pittsburgh Dad for Primanti Bros.
Easiest commercial ever. Just put out the sandwiches and let him say whatever he wants.

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Attorney Edgar Snyder on the Moon
When it comes to local advertisements, one man is the undisputed king: Edgar Snyder, the regional attorney who has been offering his services nightly on every local network for the better part of 30 years. Well, it’s time to step it up: In this spot, Snyder travels to the moon to represent an astronaut who was struck by an errant piece of space junk. The astronaut asks if he’ll be billed for the hours Snyder spent training to be an astronaut. The lawyer smiles. Even in the cold, unfeeling embrace of space, there’s never a fee, he says, unless he gets money for you.

Categories: Collier’s Weekly