It’s been almost 17 years to the day since the now-famous McDonald’s “Nothing but net” commercial aired during Super Bowl XXVII.
In the ad, Celtics legend Larry Bird challenges Bulls superstar Michael Jordan to a game of H-O-R-S-E, with the winner getting a Bic Mac. Darren Rovell of CNBC.com recently met up with one of the ad’s creators.
“Every detail was worked out,” explained Jim Ferguson, who along with Bob Shallcross, was a part of the creative team behind the ad. “We actually had to have Larry challenge Michael to the game because we couldn’t have Michael make the challenge because of his gambling situation at the time.”
Bird and Jordan began with simple H-O-R-S-E challenges that slowly elevated to difficult and absurd shots.
“Larry added the line, ‘No dunking.’ Then the two took the first two shots (over the backboard and on their knees),” Ferguson added. “After that, it was just editing though Larry didn’t necessarily want to do it that way. When the two of them are in the stands and Larry challenges Michael, Larry was actually trying to figure out if he could really make it off the scoreboard.”
There are reports that the fast food chain is going to air a similar ad during this year’s Super Bowl featuring LeBron James and Dwight Howard. But while the commercial is now recognized as one of the most memorable ads of all time, it almost didn’t hit the air.
“At the last second our lawyers realized we didn’t have commercial clearance to use the Hancock Building,” said Ferguson. “Eventually I think we traded to the rights to use it for a basketball autographed by Jordan and Bird and I think $100. Nobody ever thought it would turn into what it did.”