By: Daniel Sweeney On: February 01, 2013 In: Advertising & Marketing Comments: 0


Super Bowl Sunday is just days away and all anyone wants to talk about is the ads. Well, not this guy! I’m going to use The Duncan Daily as an outlet to turn the spotlight back on the biggest game of the year for the National Football Lea – I’m just kidding, I’m going to talk about the ads.

Here at Duncan/Day we’re all about staying ahead of the curve, and because discussing this year’s commercials is so passé, we’ll instead be taking a look back in time at one of the Big Game’s most memorable ad campaigns. I’d implore you to click here to read Adweek’s fantastic rundown if you’re interested in hearing more about Sunday’s ads.

Our supreme internet overlord (Jon) and I have combined our football/advertising obsessed brains to identify our favorite Super Bowl ad if all time – Reebok’s Terry Tate: Office Linebacker

Created by writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber, the Terry Tate series debuted in 2002 and made major waves in 2003 with its airing during Super Bowl XXXVII.

Portrayed by actor and former USFL football player Lester Speight, Terry “Terrible” Tate is a linebacker hired by the fictional Felcher & Sons to help boost office morale. Tate keeps the boss happy by eviscerating any employees who break the rules with bone-crunching hits.

“Productivity has gone up by 46%,” says Felcher & Sons CEO Ron Felcher when asked about Tate’s literal and figurative impact on the company.

The campaign grew serious legs following the Super Bowl spot in 2003. Later that year, Reebok announced Lester Terry Tate Speight’s entrance in the California gubernatorial race. (NY Times)


In reviewing the ads, it’s clear that what made them so appealing and memorable was their originality. Oh sure, we’d all seen funny ads before, especially during football games. But, had the threat of violence that draws us into the game of football ever been directly applied to an ad campaign and mixed with comedy so well? Doubtful.

Not only was the campaign creative, but the image of an unknowing coffee drinker getting blindsided by Tate (while wearing a Reebok jersey, of course) was hard to get out of your head. Who will be this year’s Terry Tate? We’ll find out Sunday. Go Falcons.