In 1991, Pepsi brought together Bo Jackson and Super Nintendo in this amazing “Nintendo Training Camp” commercial. In the ad, Bo and a squat bleacher full of beefy guys takes orders from a loud-mouthed kid on the finer points of playing Nintendo.
The ad is a great example of the super flashy video game advertisement that would become an art form in the nineties. The confusing back lighting and the industrial sets would eventually become standard in these adverts, but here they were still “fresh”.
While these tropes would continue, what would quickly fade away from advertising, are celebrities and athletes willing to poke fun of themselves. Bo Jackson was one of the more well-known athletes during this period and thanks to his infamous prowess in Tecmo Bowl, he was also a legend among gamers.
Even with all this status, Bo plays the second-fiddle to the spiky-haired SNES guru kid. I have always appreciated celebrities who could poke fun at themselves or at least not demand to always be the center of attention. Also, I just want to add, this kid is great, and looks really familiar, I just can’t place him.
This is also a fine example of a commercial that advertises multiple products. We have 4 products making an appearance. First you have the celebrity of Bo Jackson. He is featured and called out by name. Then you get the one-two punch of Pepsi and Super Nintendo. Finally, when you think you can’t take any more brands, FedEx jumps into the mix.
So you learn to plays games with Bo. Drink Pepsi to win a Super NES. Then that SNES will be shipped to you via FedEx. This is a brand synergy extravaganza. The only thing missing is a straight reference to Bo’s sporting career or perhaps a voluminous bowl of Cool Ranch Doritos.