Remember that bad tax tip you got from your second cousin's husband? Or that home remedy your sister's boyfriend's aunt said would clear up that rash? Do you now wish you would have gone straight to the professionals for advice? You're not alone.
For the second year, country music legend Willie Nelson is the centerpiece of the H&R Block Super Bowl commercial. The ad uses humor – and Nelson in a most unusual way – to highlight the importance of seeking professional advice.
In addition, the ad focuses on the many ways that H&R Block provides professional tax and financial information at no additional cost to its clients. Information on tax-saving tips, reducing debt, financing a home, or saving for retirement or a child's education are provided free to each client in a personalized report, known as the "H&R Block Advantage" report.
This year's advertisement builds on the company's 2003 effort that also featured Nelson and his well-publicized tax problems. This year's ad spoofs the world of infomercials via an over-the-top tale that has Nelson hawking a look-alike doll that offers its – or rather Willie's – own brand of advice.
The 30-second spot opens with a man frustrated by finances, then cuts to an advertisement for the "Willie Nelson Advice Doll" in which consumers ask the doll questions ranging from whether it's okay to skip lines on tax forms to whether a bass boat is a better investment than a 401(k). The advice dispensed by the doll highlights, in humorous fashion, where not to get advice, but carries a serious underlying message – seek tax advice from the trusted professionals at H&R Block. The spot ends with an appearance by another celebrity seeking and receiving not-so-great advice from the "Willie Doll." The mystery celebrity and advice received will be revealed during Super Bowl XXXVIII.
"Our message is simple," said Brad Iversen, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at H&R Block." Consumers are frustrated with confusing tax and financial situations that affect their daily lives, and they don't know where to turn for help. H&R Block can help them with their tax- related financial issues, too.
"Willie was a huge hit in last year's ad and, given his past tax problems, he certainly knows how important good advice is. In this year's commercial, Willie helps tell a very funny, but cautionary tale of what happens when taxpayers don't seek a trusted professional to guide them through complex tax and tax-related financial situations. The mystery celebrity at the end just adds to the impact and makes the entire spot more memorable."
With two feature films, four short films, more than 30 music videos, and numerous commercials and promos for some of the most recognized brands in the U.S. to his credit, director Jesse Peretz brought experience, as well as his irreverent and ironic humor, to the production. The result is a tongue-in- cheek spot that spoofs the world of infomercials and emphasizes the importance of seeking the right advice.
The ad, developed by Campbell Mithun, will air during the first quarter of the Super Bowl. In addition to the ad, H&R Block is sponsoring 30 minutes of Super Bowl pre-game programming that will feature an online poll allowing fans to vote for the H&R "Block of the Year." The company's portion of pre-game sponsorship will run from 5:00 -- 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
H&R Block Press Release