SBD/Issue 102/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Super Bowl Ads: Letterman, Leno Describe Making "Late Show" Spot

Watch The "Late Show" Spot
CBS’ David Letterman during last night’s “Late Show” described how the promo for the program that aired during Super Bowl XLIV and featured NBC’s Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey came together. Letterman said, “A couple of weeks ago, CBS came to me … and they said, 'Dave, we want you to put together a little Super Bowl promotional announcement for your program, and we'll run it during the Super Bowl.' We had done one three years ago when CBS had the Super Bowl, and it featured Oprah and it was very well-received because who doesn't love Oprah? … We put some thought into it and we decided maybe it would be entertaining (if) we get Oprah back here and we're like at a Super Bowl party the way we were before. And this time we'll invite Jay Leno to be on the show because nobody will expect that.” He added, “I just want to take a second here now to thank the actors who played Oprah, and also Jay Leno. They did a tremendous job" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/8). Leno also discussed the promo on his self-titled show last night, where he said his producer received a call from Letterman’s producer proposing the 15-second teaser. Leno: “He tells me the idea -- and this is Dave's idea -- and I thought, 'That's great.' Because no matter what animosity there is among comedians, a good joke is a good joke, and I thought, 'You know, it just makes it all go away.'” After sneaking into Letterman’s studios wearing a disguise, Leno said, “I walk in, I see Dave, he puts his hand out, I shake hands and you know, whatever happened in the last 18 years disappeared. It was great to see my old friend again. It was wonderful. He was very gracious” ("The Jay Leno Show," NBC, 2/8).

WHAT A SURPRISE: AdWeek's Barbara Lippert said of the promo, "It was so unexpected. It just snuck in there among all the beer and the car ads. No one expected to see the three of them together" ("Inside Edition," 2/8). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "I don't understand why NBC would allow Jay Leno to go on television to help sell CBS rival David Letterman" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/8). Actor Harry Shearer said as he was watching the promo, he "didn't think that was actually the three of them in one set.” Shearer: “I thought it was some computer-generated magic and I was waiting for Space Ghost to move in” ("Countdown With Keith Olbermann," MSNBC, 2/8).

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