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An Analysis of Reebok’s “Terry Tate Office Linebacker,” from Skiffleboom.com

Michael McVey
Introduction to Mass Media – VMA 111
Advertisement Analysis – January 11, 2010

Bunker Hill Community College

Reebok’s Terry Tate Office Linebacker Super Bowl Commercial

*Please note the original commercial video has been taken down.  This longer, alternate version contains the same elements.*

Product recognition
There is no specific product mentioned during this ad. The real product recognition is the Reebok brand name. In this regard, the ad does not telegraph the Reebok logo, but infuses it subtly, allowing the humor to take center stage. The ad entertains, attracting attention. At the end of the sixty-second spot, the ad prompts the viewer to visit Reebok’s website. The ad reveals the website as a product – having enjoyed the sampling, audience members can watch more Terry Tate online. This “product” encourages participation; cleverly netting several million viewers into visiting what is essentially Reebok’s interactive catalogue.

Differentiation
There is no specific mention of comparable products during the commercial, but the phrases “Paradigm breaking,“ “outside the box thinking,” “increase in productivity” are used. There is a notable difference between the intensity of Terry Tate’s “extreme work ethic” with that of his co-workers. As Tate is a symbolic representative of Reebok in the commercial, one can infer the Reebok brand is more intense than the competition.

Association
The ad associates an extremely aggressive work ethic with the Reebok brand name. The ad also associates high intensity and increased performance with the juxtaposition of football and office environment. The Reebok brand is seen as having powerful, no-nonsense effects on the mundane. The ad suggests Reebok apparel will turn an ordinary office into an efficient, thrilling machine.

Participation
The ad assumes a certain amount of Reebok brand familiarity. The logo and mention of the Reebok brand is not apparent, nor is any specific product mentioned. The true participation happens at the end of the commercial. The logo and copy “Watch more Terry Tate Office Linebacker Reebok reebok.com” appear, enticing any viewer who enjoyed the commercial to view more at the company’s website. According to USA Today, the website had over 7 million hits from the initial airing.

Redundancy
The Reebok logo is subtly featured in several shots of the commercial. It is featured in narrative cutaways both on a mug and on a plaque. The Reebok logo is featured on Terry Tate’s jersey. The end of the commercial features the logo prominently displayed on the screen, along with the Reebok website. The word Reebok is spoken only twice during the sixty-second spot. This memorable and popular ad originally aired during the 2003 Super Bowl. The campaign was aired repeatedly, featuring the same character, for several years. The ad was notable for prompting over 7 million “webisode” downloads from Reebok’s website after only one Super Bowl airing.

Source: USA Today

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