WILDWOOD, MO (KTVI) – The football field at Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri may seem an unlikely setting for a Super Bowl ad, but then the theme of this ad is an unlikely Super Bowl topic.
It’s heroin abuse.
Here the sad scenario of a cheerleader unable to complete a routine because she is on drugs is just theater, being performed for cameras recording a Public Service Announcement.
But the heroin problem is not fiction, which is why the St. Louis chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is producing a sixty second sequel to its gut punching spot from the last Super Bowl that left many viewers stunned and angered.
‘On the one hand, we were upset by the people who were upset by the spot, but on the other hand we were heartened that the spot made such an impact and got people talking,’ said NCADA Executive Director Howard Weissman.
Now, the NCADA is getting the band back together again, creating a new spot; only this year, the tone and the target are different.
‘The spot last year was really focused on parents, and the spot this year is more focused directly on young people and for that reason, the spot will be preceded by and accompanied by a social media campaign that we hope engages people in a variety of different ways,’ Weissman said.
‘I think a lot of people can relate to this subject,’ said actress Victoria Geissing, who plays the heroin victim in the spot. She says having personally known people battling addiction helps inform her portrayal.
‘Knowing that, while I am doing it, kind of pushes me to connect even more and to act better,’ she said.
Members of the Lafayette Lancers dance team were recruited to be extras.
‘I couldn`t believe it,’ said senior Hayley Ockerhausen, a member of the dance team. ‘It didn`t sound real because we are going to be in the Super Bowl. We were so excited and we just felt really honored that our small team from Wildwood got picked to do it,’ she said.
‘Last year we had 1.25 million people watch that commercial and pay attention to it,’ Weissman said. ‘Some were shocked, some were appalled, but everybody had a reaction and here a year later people are still talking about it.’
They are not lifting the curtain on what exactly happens to the main character, but you can be sure it`s something bad.
The good thing is the spot will run in the commercial break just before the start of the second half, which is usually the break with the highest viewership.
Just like last year, the cost of production and the air time is being paid for by a corporate donor who wishes to remain anonymous.