It was a blast to see all those famous folks from the 1980s—we’re talking everyone from Mary Lou Retton to Erik Estrada—burst into a Radio Shack store and clear the shelves in the Super Bowl spot “The Phone Call.” But the :30 created by Austin-based GSD&M and directed by Frank Todaro of bicoastal Moxie Pictures offered much more than a trip down memory lane. It was a self-effacing admission by the struggling electronics retailer that it needs to get with the times, and Super Bowl viewers and ad critics appreciated the humor and the honesty.
“The concept was the most appealing thing about it,” said Todaro when asked why he chose to direct this spot (he also helmed this year’s Hyundai Super Bowl ad “Dad’s Sixth Sense”), noting, “It wasn’t that it was going to be some spectacular bit of cinema. It was just that it was really funny and incredibly smart and self aware.”
The agency had fun coming up with a list of ’80s stars and references to fill the spot, according to GSD&M executive creative director Jay Russell, who recounted, “There were seven or eight people that sat in a room and had this wall of photographs that looked like it was from a scene out of A Beautiful Mind.”