PURCHASE, New York - If a television commercial airs on Super Bowl Sunday and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
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 see the commercial and a “making of” the video, visit http://www.pepsiusa.com/bobshouse/.
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in 1880 by deaf leaders on the belief in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to promote, protect, and preserve the quality of life and rights of 31 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans. The civil rights advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, and more. For more information, please visit http://www.nad.org/.
PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) is one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, with 2006 annual revenues of more than $35 billion. The company employs approximately 168,000 people worldwide, and its products are sold in approximately 200 countries. Its principal businesses include: Frito-Lay snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices and Quaker foods. The PepsiCo portfolio includes 17 brands that generate $1 billion or more each in annual retail sales.
About Performance with Purpose
PepsiCo’s commitment to sustainable growth, defined as Performance with Purpose, is focused on generating healthy financial returns while giving back to communities the company serves. This includes meeting consumer needs for a spectrum of convenient foods and beverages, reducing the company’s impact on the environment through water, energy and packaging initiatives, and supporting its employees through a diverse and inclusive culture that recruits and retains world-class talent. PepsiCo is listed on the Dow Jones North America Sustainability Index and Dow Jones World Sustainability Index. For more information, please visit http://www.pepsico.com/.