Ad Firm Lures Clients With Refund


This season’s Super Bowl favorite isn’t Green Bay or Tampa Bay – it’s eBay.

A small North Carolina advertising agency is auctioning its services on the online site, promising the highest bidder a critically acclaimed commercial for the football championship.

“The Super Bowl is the holy grail of advertising,” said David Oakley, a partner in the 11-member firm of Boone/Oakley.

“We figure if an advertiser like General Motors is going to spend millions already, what’s another 99 cents for a great concept?”

Or $40,400 – which, if legitimate, was the high bid as of yesterday.

The winner of the auction will have its money refunded if the resulting commercial isn’t chosen as one of the top 10 spots by USA Today.

Boone/Oakley’s “Hail Mary” strategy has drawn imitators already, including three art students from the University of Northern Iowa who promise “our commercial concepts will rock.”

They’re up to $1.25 on eBay.

Oakley, however, insists he’s perfectly serious. “We’re a small company, but we can stand toe to toe with the big New York agencies,” he said.

Boone/Oakley has designed ads for the Speed Channel and the Charlotte Hornets, as well as the so-weird-it’s-brilliant MTV2 commercial that featured a baby doll ranting about music videos.

The agency is willing to work with any client, Oakley said, although he does have a dream account.

“Victoria’s Secret would be great,” he said.

But isn’t that advertising concept a little . . . obvious?

“True,” Oakley conceded. “But maybe if we show a little more . . . oh, I’m not even going to go there.”

The Boone/Oakley auction ends Monday, and Oakley is confident that at least one of the bids will be serious.

Put it this way: Their chances can’t be any worse than the Jets’.