Amid the dead children and absentee fathers that made this year's Super Bowl ads such an endless bummer, a memorable moment of respite came toward the end of the game in a bizarre 30-second spot for an obscure super glue company. The ad for Loctite glue was as simple as it was weird: Average Joes in fanny packs danced in slow motion to a reggae dub-step banger, with a couple allusions to adhesive and stickiness thrown in. Twitter was in awe. And it makes sense if the commercial, titled "Positive Feelings," gave you strong Tim & Eric vibes -- the three-ring-nightmare comedy duo directed the ad in collaboration with agency Fallon. Below, we chat with Fallon chief creative officer Jeff Kling about how a 50-year-old little-known glue brand made the Super Bowl's most oddly appealing commercial.
Did you think people would respond as strongly to the ad online as they did?
We had some sense that people would enjoy it, but I don't feel like internet attention is ticking a box for us because it's never assured or guaranteed. It's just been overwhelming and wonderful.
What was the vibe you were going for? This commercial is, more or less, insane.
We wanted to shift the emotion of glue, because everybody feels terrible about it. Your stuff breaks, and that makes you feel bad. And when you contemplate fixing it, you feel doubly bad because you don't really know how to. So any time your brain is wandering into the glue zone, it's not a great place to be. You don't feel confident. And you certainly don't feel like dancing. We needed to fix that.
The casting of this commercial is clearly what makes it so wonderful.
When you take almost anyone from an American cul-de-sac and they start dancing together to a really great jam, it looks amazing. You can't go wrong. But, as far as casting, the magic just comes out of some people. Eric Wareheim is so good at being able to feel that magic. The music plays, they start dancing, and you just fall in love.
Is it true that Loctite spent their entire $4 million ad budget for the year on the commercial?
They spent quite a bit of it. I don't know that it was their entire budget, but it was a huge chunk.
And now everyone is aware of a lesser-known super glue brand.
Everyone thinks of super glue as the sweet special-needs kid whose head you pat. That's because advertising in this country for super glue is totally schlocky. And Loctite didn't usually talk to consumers -- it's super-engineering-nerd-science-y stuff. The iPhone I'm talking to you on is full of Loctite. My Nikes are full of Loctite. Loctite keeps the wings on planes. It's totally pro. The first thing Loctite invented -- it was this engineer toiling in his basement in Connecticut -- he figured out how to make this product called Threadlocker that would complete the bond between a nut and a bolt so that they wouldn't rattle apart. Until he did that, wheels would fall off of trains and wings would fall off of planes. He basically helped enable the modern world, and yet...People tend to think of glue as a novelty. Like, oh, super glue! How ridiculous and hilarious!
Krazy Glue and its image of the guy in a hard hat stuck to a metal beam probably created that perception?
Which is totally enduring and, on its face, is completely fucking fake. You can almost see the harness that's rigged up behind that guy's back, holding him up. It's a joke.
What did you think of all of the darkness in the Super Bowl ads this year?
In the world of advertising, the emotional bandwidth of the United States is perceived as having two speeds: Moisture -- which is treacle, sentimentality and emotional manipulation -- or humor. That's it. It's a flattening of the human experience, because obviously the human emotional spectrum is gigantic. We're capable of feeling many emotions, and even feeling them simultaneously. So for everything to be reduced to that kind of appeal, done well or not, creates a weird emotional echo chamber where these brands are trying to reflect us back at ourselves. Everyone leaned so much into the moisture zone this year, and I love that they did! It was like everyone forgot that this was a party.
Watch the extended version of "Positive Feelings" below and watch more of the Loctite spots here.