It may be the creepiest thing in the 2009 Super Bowl of Advertising. We didn't catch the full import of the moment initially, but the eerie irony of the visual gag at the end of the Bud Light spot called "Meeting" can't be ignored.
We're talking about the moment when the young executive and his chair are seen crashing through an office window and hurtling to the ground. The spot was created by DDB/Chicago, which for the past year has been operating in the shadow of the tragic suicide of Paul Tilley, the agency's managing director of creative. Tilley jumped to his death in February of last year from a hotel window near the DDB offices in downtown Chicago.
Who knows if the DDB creatives who came up with "Meeting" were consciously or subconsciously channeling the horrific details of Tilley's suicide. But there the spot is, for all to ponder, and seen in a certain light, it's no joke. Given its prominent position in the post-kickoff ad slot, "Meeting," by the way, was not a huge hit with ad critics or the public.
While we're on the subject of Tilley's death, sources suggested last week that one reason DDB may have been so slow in naming a new chief creative officer could have something to do with payments the agency has reportedly been making to Tilley's widow. There were rumblings those might be coming to an end soon and that the agency would then have funds freed up to pay a new chief creative officer.
Whatever the case, DDB needs to move quickly. With Anheuser-Busch having come up short in USA Today's Ad Meter rankings this year and with the brewery now fully under new ownership, it's possible changes in A-B's ad agency roster could be in the offing. For years, A-B has been one of DDB's largest and most lucrative clients. It's a huge chunk of business the beleaguered shop cannot afford to lose.