CLEWISTON, FL—A shortened, 30-second version of a one-minute Nike commercial disappointed local bicycle mechanic Paul Hobish Tuesday.
"What the hell is that?" asked Hobish, 30, upon seeing the shorter version of the popular Nike "Freestyle" ad, in which various basketball players dribble balls in a dimly lit room. "Normally, all these guys are dribbling and dribbling and doing all these cool tricks. The thing must go on for, like, two or three minutes. It's so awesome. But this time, it was, like, 15 seconds, and it didn't even show a bunch of the best tricks."
Continued Hobish: "I've been telling all my friends how much the commercial rocks. But if they see the short version, they're going to think I don't know what I'm talking about."
Hobish, who doesn't consider himself a commercial aficionado but watches "a lot of TV," said this is not the first time a favorite spot has been disappointingly abridged.
"I used to be really into the Pentium 4 one where the Blue Man Group guys fling the paint at the wall," Hobish said. "But then they stopped running the full-length one, and it's just not the same without the whole set-up. Why do they always stop running the long versions of commercials after the first few weeks?"
Other truncated commercials have not only disappointed Hobish, but also caused confusion.
"During the Super Bowl, there was all this hype about the Britney Spears Pepsi ad," Hobish said. "When it came on, I thought it was pretty good. But after that one big premiere, it was always shorter, and Bob Dole would say, 'Down, boy,' to his dog, which isn't what he said in the original. I don't remember it being better or worse than, 'Down, boy,' but for some reason, they changed it."
"Maybe the first version got them in trouble," Hobish continued, "but I'm pretty sure I remember seeing the shortened one within a half-hour of the premiere, so it's not like they would've even had time to change it because of complaints."
Brett Jaglund, a creative director at Leo Burnett advertising agency, said he understands Hobish's disappointment, but stressed that cost considerations make shorter versions necessary.
"A one-minute spot that goes into heavy rotation is a pricey venture," Jaglund said. "Often, a commercial will be shortened to save money. What many viewers don't realize is the level of skill and artistry required to take a perfectly realized one-minute piece and edit it down to 30 seconds without losing its essence. It's a subtle and demanding art. Yes, sometimes we have to cut out a cute thing an animated polar bear says, but it must occasionally be done for the sake of economics."
Though Hobish understands that a one-minute commercial costs significantly more to air than a 30-second spot, he said that airing the full-length versions only during the Oscars and other major events is unfair to regular TV viewers.
"You're only going to see the long version of the Doritos ad where the sexy woman puts the Doritos in the tennis-ball machine during something big like the Super Bowl," Hobish said. "By doing this, Doritos is sending the message that they don't care about the little people who watch King Of The Hill or Becker. They only care about the Super Bowl people. That's not right."