How Did 2 Super Bowl Ads End Up With the Same Stock Footage?

Daniel McCarthy, CEO of Filmsupply, explains

Guaranteed Rate and Indeed, two first-time Super Bowl advertisers, had a rocky start to their big-game adventures this week when they inadvertently used the same short piece of video stock footage in their commercials.

Muse reader @Profeta999 was the first to notice the duplication while checking out the spots in our roundup of pre-released Super Bowl spots:

72andSunny created the Indeed spot, while Guaranteed Rate made its spot in-house.

The footage came from the stock company Filmsupply, whose CEO, Daniel McCarthy, tells Muse that the company wasn't aware that either spot was destined to air on the Super Bowl. 

"As part of our licensing process, we always ask for the usage details, so we were aware the project was for broadcast TV," he says. "Exclusivity is possible with Filmsupply since we have more control over the usage than with royalty free options. With royalty-free, the door is always open to competitors using the same footage."

@Profeta999 noticed the mortifying circumstances late Thursday; by early Sunday, neither Guaranteed Rate not Indeed had adjusted their spots, as seen on YouTube—even though the story had become big news, with even Popeyes (via agency GUT) poking some fun with a fresh edit of one of its own commercials:

Many observers expressed surprise, and some derision, that Super Bowl advertisers would use stock footage at all, though in the time of Covid, it's understandable. And of course, this isn't the first time stock has been used for big-game spots.

"We have been a part of Super Bowl ads since 2015 and, over the years have had the honor of helping some of the world's best brands and agencies finish, and, in some cases create, incredible Super Bowl ads," says McCarthy.

But demand for Filmsupply footage has grown more than 300 percent during Covid-19, he adds.

Filmsupply does offer exclusivity on clips for a premium price, and McCarthy says that's the real lesson here—that companies should use that option.

"I think, in the end, it all comes down to exclusivity," he says. "If you are working on a Super Bowl ad, we would recommend that we agree to an exclusive term."

Neither Indeed nor Guaranteed Rate are expected to alter their spots for Sunday's broadcast, though you'll have to tune in to find out for sure.

Meanwhile, Filmsupply has had some fun with the snafu, too, posted the message below on Twitter—featuring the full eight-second stock piece from which the 1-second clips were taken:

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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