University of South Carolina

Student-made ad to air locally during Super Bowl

University of South Carolina sophomore Michael McClendon will put his filmmaking skills up against the best in the advertising industry during Sunday’s Super Bowl broadcast.

Viewers in Columbia and surrounding markets served by local NBC affiliate WIS-TV will be able to view the 20-second commercial created by McClendon, a Columbia native, who won the WIS contest, which was sponsored by Little Caesar’s Pizza.

In stark contrast to the big-budget productions that national ad groups will unveil during the telecast – national advertising rates are roughly $3 million for a 30-second spot – McClendon’s modest effort cost $20. He and alumnus Phillip Soellner, who lives in Columbia, and junior Amanda Etheridge of Moncks Corner, borrowed equipment from the department of media arts.

“It’s very surreal right now, very cool,” McClendon said. “I’m just trying to stay level-headed and keeping myself in check.”

Advertising during the Super Bowl game will comprise approximately 45 minutes, 10 of which will be devoted to local businesses, according to WIS marketing executive Scott Harris, who said McClendon’s Little Caesar’s spot is scheduled to air when the second quarter expires. The game, matching the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals, is set to begin at 6 p.m. Sunday.

A low-key approach served McClendon well in the Little Caesar’s project, which McClendon wrote, and they finished in a week. The star is Soellner’s month-old daughter, Isla, who winds up with the last piece of pizza.

“I wanted to get the baby involved, so I came up with the idea of people fighting for the last slice,” McClendon said. “But, instead, the baby gets it.”

Their prize is $1,000 and a free pizza party -- more than making up for their $20 investment. McClendon isn’t certain about when they’ll have the party or where they’ll be viewing the game Sunday, but one thing is certain: “I’ll find a nice TV and watch it,” he said.

For McClendon, a media arts major, it’s the third film award he’s garnered in the last year. Last April, he was the student winner of the Indie Grits film competition, sponsored by the Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia. The contest drew participants from around the Southeast or who had roots in the Southeast. He won $700 for “Robot High School.” In the fall, he and Soellner teamed up to produce “Mr. Davis,” which won the “Got Film?” contest sponsored by Carolina Productions, an arts-and-entertainment unit within the Division of Student Affairs.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 00/00/00 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 03/09/09 @ 10:25 AM | Permalink