Look around at almost anyone who has had longevity in the business, and you’ll see that they all did commercials. If the performer’s personal image and the brand come together in a natural way, it’s a win-win situation.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) February 03, 2015
Florence Henderson’s appearance in the new Brady Bunch Super Bowl 2015 Snickers commercial, which went viral on the web in the days before its game day broadcast, is the latest chapter of her six-decade-plus long love affair with the medium going back to the early days of live television. When many actors of her generation were condescending about appearing in commercials, Florence saw the advantages. This year’s Super Bowl had the largest audience in history, so the exposure was phenomenal. As of Super Bowl Sunday the commercial had received over 8 million plays on YouTube. Tim Nudd at Adweek rated the commercial #2 in the “Best Ads Of Super Bowl XLIX.” BBDO New York, the advertising agency responsible for the Brady Bunch ad for Snickers, is taking home the inaugural "Super Clio" for the best commercial in Sunday's Big Game.
“Look around at almost anyone who has had longevity in the business, and you’ll see that they all did commercials. If the performer’s personal image and the brand come together in a natural way, it’s a win-win situation. It is as though you’re the star of your own sixty-second movie that is repeated over and over again. If you pull it off, you have a great relationship with the public,” says Florence.
Already an established Broadway star, Florence made her foray into TV ads in the late 1950s doing industrial shows for Oldsmobile cars. “If it were broadcast on live television, the timing had to be perfect, and it was quite satisfying to nail the two minutes perfectly. There were no cue cards or teleprompters, so everything had to be memorized. Others were put on film, showing me gloating over fins and mufflers while running my finger along its top or against its sleek door panels. They probably look silly today, dancing and serenading a car, but they were sophisticated production numbers with precise choreography,” Florence recalls.
Being the quintessential mom as Carol Brady made Florence an even more viable commercial spokesperson for many products, including Tang, Klean ‘N Shine and 22 years with Wesson cooking oil. It was a far more sophisticated world than singing about cars. Florence points out, “First of all, I wasn’t used to all these corporate executives and advertising agency people flying in and hovering in the studio, watching the monitor and dissecting every word. Huge money was involved in these campaigns, and the agencies spent lavishly on the smallest details. To do it well, it’s more than just delivering your lines. You have to do all the other things they wanted, and precisely. Hold the label just right. Don’t tilt it so the light reflects poorly. Ad-lib an 'um' or an 'oh' and you’d hear 'cut' because you just put the whole spot a half-second over. It’s not easy to be that precise, but luckily I was good at it.”
Trust and believability with the audience is the overwhelmingly crucial factor to be effective in commercials. Florence considers, “If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, don’t do it. I imagined one of my sisters in the Midwest. Would she want to buy this product?” When approached to do spots for the denture cleaner Polident, Florence first turned it down. “’I can’t do this—I don’t have false teeth,’ I told them. ‘We don’t care,’ they countered. ‘I can never say that I use it.’ ‘That’s okay.’ We ended up having a lot of fun with those commercials. One of them was a song and dance number on the moon, another had me singing in the shower. People seemed to love them.”
As the new Snickers commercial demonstrates, Florence still loves participating in commercials as much as people love watching them.
Brady Bunch Snickers Superbowl 2015 Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbomTIWCZ8
Henderson 1958 Oldsmobile Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1br_1OrAAM
Henderson 1986 Wesson Oil Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=accvYvhRNV0
Henderson 1998 Polident Commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4nTWxjowo0