February 3, 2016
Tom Brokaw to Narrate "Historic" Super Bowl Ad
Colonial Williamsburg’s first-ever Super Bowl ad, narrated by former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, showcases images of presidents, innovators and seminal events to underscore history’s relevance to modern Americans, including the raising of the Amer
Colonial Williamsburg to unveil "Historic" Super Bowl Ad
Tom Brokaw Narrates an Emotional, Controversial Walk
Through American History
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is set to unveil its first-ever Super Bowl commercial this Sunday. The ad, in which former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw also makes his first Super Bowl ad appearance, is a powerful walk backward through America’s past. The ad is part of Colonial Williamsburg’s ongoing campaign challenging Americans to put today’s headlines into historical context. It features emotional images of presidents, innovators, accomplishments and seminal events, as well as a thought-provoking depiction of the World Trade Center rising from the ashes of Ground Zero.
“The ad is meant to show that the America we know was not inevitable. It took courage. It took leadership. It took pain and sacrifice,” said Mitchell B. Reiss, president and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg. “This ad takes you backwards, down the many roads and tributaries of America to their original source: the revolutionary issues, debates and acts that defined 18th-century Williamsburg.”
Colonial Williamsburg — which preserves and operates the original stomping grounds of many of America's Founding Fathers — is the nation’s largest living-history museum. Its 300 acres include nearly 600 Revolutionary-era buildings, renowned art museums and extensive educational outreach programs — as well as a suite of luxury hotels and dozens of culinary options for its guests.
Brokaw lent his distinctive voice to narrate the commercial, which will be broadcast in the New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. markets on CBS during the Super Bowl. The 30-second spot, which will be complemented by an extended 60-second online version, lays the foundation for a national conversation by proclaiming the heart of America was forged in the years leading to its independence.
The ad features formative moments in American history — moments when America shined for its courage and strength — and presents these moments in reverse with overlays of quintessential American traits of courage, heart, fight, resilience, and perseverance, asking audiences where those traits came from.
“Where did our strength come from? Our fight? Our heart? Where did we first become, ‘We the people?’” Brokaw asks as the screen fades to black. The simple phrase, “It started here,” appears out of the darkness of the screen to remind viewers that America’s greatness began with a simple desire to live free and to boldly chart its own path.
The ad, produced by Texas-based Firehouse ad agency, is part of an educational and marketing campaign by Colonial Williamsburg to challenge Americans to put the news of today into historical context if they truly want to understand the issues facing the United States in the 21st century.
“Race relations, the immigration debate and the current political climate can be traced back to the earliest hours of our nation’s founding, when Williamsburg was a crucible of revolutionary debate and activity,” said Reiss. “Our historians uncover more every day and present our country’s origins — and its at-times painful complexities — in the hope that a better understanding of our collective beginnings can inspire and empower all Americans to shape and create ‘a more perfect union.’”
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg. Innovative and interactive experiences, such as the street theater Revolutionary City® and the RevQuest: Save the Revolution!TM series of technology-assisted alternate reality games, highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.