Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bob's House

It is been released in the last few days that PepsiCo will be sponsoring an ad during the Super Bowl pre-game show that will utilize ASL and features a joke that is popular in the Deaf Community. Here is the press release below followed by a link to the video found on PepsiCo's website.

PepsiCo Brings Silent Ad to Super Bowl

If a television commercial airs on Super Bowl Sunday and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

(Photo: Newscom Search )

On Sunday, February 3, television viewers will be checking their volume controls when PepsiCo airs a 60-second commercial filmed in American Sign Language (ASL), with open-captioned text for the benefit of all viewers. The spot was created by and features PepsiCo employees who are members of EnAble, an employee network whose mission is to promote a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities. Slated to air on the pre-game show on FOX, the commercial features Pepsi-Cola and Lay's Potato Chips, but its real mission is to bring awareness of the American deaf community to a wider audience. PepsiCo also will sponsor the closed captioning of FOX's entire Super Bowl broadcast.

"The outpouring of support for this ad, both internally and externally, has been overwhelming," said Clay Broussard, PepsiCo employee and project lead on Bob's House. "This is one way we can give back through what we call Performance with Purpose. It's part of a larger effort to make PepsiCo the defining corporation of the 21st century. By bringing the world an ad performed by deaf employees in ASL, we feel like we've already scored the upset on Super Bowl Sunday."

Broussard and a handful of PepsiCo employees, each with their own personal connection to the American deaf community, set off to create a commercial with a deaf focus and broad appeal. Despite having little or no experience in advertising, the group came up with the concept, wrote the script, and then acted it out, sharing a demo tape with their colleagues. The demo tape generated internal buzz and quickly gained support from PepsiCo senior management, which immediately saw the commercial's potential and decided it needed a big stage. Naturally, they chose the biggest stage possible - Super Bowl Sunday.

Broussard appears in the commercial along with PepsiCo colleagues Sheri Christianson, Darren Therriault and Brian Dowling. Titled "Bob's House," the theme is based on a popular joke in the deaf community. PepsiCo also consulted with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to ensure the message was on target.

"The NAD applauds PepsiCo for its strong commitment to diversity and creation of this exciting ad in ASL with its employees. This ground-breaking ad will heighten cultural awareness by millions of viewers during Super Bowl Sunday," said Bobbie Beth Scoggins, president of the NAD.

The commercial opens with two friends (Therriault and Dowling) driving together in a car at night, on the way to their friend Bob's house to watch a football game. They are stopped on a suburban street where all the houses are dark, with no porch lights or inside lights on. The driver (Dowling) is not sure which house is their friend's. Communicating in ASL, the two friends blame each other for not knowing Bob's house number. Suddenly, the driver has an idea. He begins honking the horn repeatedly as he slowly drives down the block. Instantly, lights flash on in all of the houses except one - Bob's - the only house unaffected by the noise.

"Bob's House" was produced by Harvest and directed by the company's co- founder, award-winning director Baker Smith. It came to life thanks to the cooperation of BBDO-NY, which supported the idea and agreed to create the commercial for no profit, and OMD, which secured a valuable pre-game time slot and accepted no commission for its efforts.

To view the video please click here

I am very happy to see a popular brand willing bring awareness of the deaf community to the mainstage, this could once again further help the hearing to understand that we are not dumb, just deaf and unable to hear. Way to go PepsiCo! (Although I admit I am a Coke-Cola drinker)