Puppy Bowl fans, keep your TVs turned to Animal Planet on Sunday. FirstBank's new ad campaign was made with you in mind sort of.
The $14 billion-asset company is scheduled to advertise its person-to-person money transfer services during the big game this weekend, when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks. The spots will air in Colorado during the third quarter, as well as in Arizona during the pregame show.
It's a big-ticket move for the Lakewood, Colo., company. Buying Super Bowl air time puts the company's name in front of millions of viewers, in a lineup of marquee brands.
But the campaign, broken into two ads, offers a big twist. Dog lovers, die-hard football fans: prepare to be manipulated.
That first ad begins with a shot of the boy in a cowboy shirt, helping his dad paint an old country store at sundown.
The boy spots two small golden labs across the street, in the back of a red pickup truck. A sign next to the truck says "Puppies: $10."
The boy runs to the truck, smiling as he scratches the ears of the puppy he wants to take home. His dad, looking at his empty wallet, walks to an ATM inside the store to grab some cash.
But by the time the dad returns to the truck, it's too late. The dog has been sold. And the boy, staring at his dad, looks heartbroken.
"Don't let ATMs slow you down," FirstBank says in a message, followed by a pitch for its P-to-P service.
Cute enough. But a second ad, set to air later Sunday night, takes a much darker tone.
The follow-up ad once again starts with a shot of the boy holding the puppy in front of the red truck.
"Truth is, Im an actor," he says. "That wasn't my real dad, and this isn't a real town and that dog. I never wanted him."
He then hands the puppy to a person off stage.
"I'm more of a cat person. So thank you for caring," he says, looking at the camera. "But hopefully we all learned a valuable lesson. Person-to-person transfers are faster than going to the ATM. And commercials aren't real."
Lesson learned. The Super Bowl can be a roller-coaster of emotions.