When it comes to Super Bowl ads, there are few things that can top the monster of blockbuster films. Often, these clips are the first chance anyone has to see footage from their favorite upcoming tentpole. This fact is what makes the winner of last night’s pile so surprising.
Besides a few title cards during some of its primetime shows, FOX has made little effort to market the fact that 24 is returning to the small screen. That is, until last night. In what was arguably the most well executed trailer of the game, audiences were given their first look at one of television’s most famous heroes, and his most famous partner in crime (who rocked her new look quite well).
But it wasn’t good enough for FOX to simply air the excellent spot for 24: Live Another Day. They also had to tease the trailer throughout the big game with four 15-second clips that all ended with the famous ticking sound of the series’ clock. Much like the upcoming mini-series itself, these clips turned a simple teaser into an event audiences didn’t know they were waiting to see. By the time the actual trailer aired (towards the end of what was a rather lack-luster game), viewers – outside of Seattle – suddenly had a reason to cheer.
In a matter of moments, audiences learned 24 is coming back, that it’s returning in an atypical event due to its detailed title, that it’s set in London and that Chloe is still around. If FOX was looking to turn 24 into the event television it once was, they certainly succeeded last night.
FOX has blown open the doors on their marketing campaign for 24: Live Another Day, and they did it with a method we see used far too rarely these days… surprise. No one knew this trailer was coming. In fact, few people outside of hardcore fandom were even aware the show was making a comeback. But now, 24: Live Another Day is national news. This is proved no greater than by the fact that the trailer (at the time of writing this article) already has thousands of hits on FOX’s YouTube page.
Utilizing the less-is-more style of its basic cable sister, FX, FOX made us care about Jack Bauer again. No longer is he stuck in the world of development hell that is feature films. 24: Live Another Day is real, and it’s coming… soon.
By Merrill Barr