In one of the defining moments of his career, Herm Edwards, then head coach for the NFL’s New York Jets, responded during a press conference in 2002 to a question about his team not playing well enough to win by indignantly stating, “You play the game to win! Hello. You play the game to win!”
Edwards, now an analyst with ESPN, is channeling the line in a new multi-media campaign for Mars Inc. brands Skittles, Snickers and M&Ms, along with retail partner Walmart, “The Almost Game-Time Show.”
The effort is asking people to submit videos of themselves “that depict and showcase your awesome football pre-game talent/routine,” using Skittles, Snickers or M&Ms as a prop.
The most entertaining videos will be featured on “The Almost Game-Time Show” before Super Bowl LI kicks off on Feb. 5 on Fox, expected to be both on-air and online, according to Mars.
The very best will get from the candy company tickets to Super Bowl LII, scheduled for Feb. 4, 2018, in U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.
“It’s the Super Bowl, so don’t hold anything back,” according to a dedicated campaign Web site. “Here’s what the judges will be looking for: Humor, unexpectedness and interesting and appropriate use of Snickers, M&M’s and/or Skittles candy.”
The campaign, which runs now through Jan. 20, features a 90-second spot with Edwards, supported by digital, social media and POP.
Snickers and Skittles will also have their own 30-second spots during the game, including a joint Skittles-Snickers promotion.
In the spot, we find Edwards standing in front of a large house in the suburbs. “Coach Herm Edwards here. I played football. I coached football. I’ve analyzed football. Now, I’m looking for the most talented fans in football.”
Edwards explains that he’s teaming with Skittles and Snickers to host “The Almost Game-Time Show.” “If you have a sweet pre-game routine, let’s see it. It could score you tickets to Super Bowl Fifty-two.”
We then see examples of what Mars is seeking: A senior citizen who tosses aside his walker and breaks into a dance routine (joined by Edwards himself) while holding a package of Skittles; a kid building a football snack stadium out of Skittles, Snickers and M&Ms; and a guy wearing a football helmet singing in a bathtub filled with candy.
Edwards next finds a guy dressed in Renaissance clothing and softly playing a lyre. Employing the Snickers tag line, “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” the guy takes a bite of a Snickers bar and reverts to his normal self — dressed in a football jersey and loudly banging a bass drum.
Edwards heads outside and sits at a talk show type desk, surrounded by football fans and mascots. Then, urging on viewers, he says in his defining phrase, “Come on. You play to win the game!”
Mars is asking people to submit videos to the dedicated website or via Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #AlmostGameTimeContest.
Skittles’ lead agency is Adam & Eve/DDB Chicago. Snickers’ lead agency is BBDO.
Fox is seeking upward of $5 million for a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LI, being played in Houston’s NRG Stadium.