Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'm Going to Disney World

Two things:

  • The “Super Bowl” was named after a kid’s toy, the “Super Ball” by Wham-O.
  • In business, you never know what is going to catch on.

The phrases "I'm Going to Disneyworld!" and "I'm Going to Disneyland!" were a part of Disney's advertising campaign in the late 1980's.

The week before Super Bowl XXI in 1987, New York Giants quarterback, Phil Simms was approached by Disney reps and asked if his team won the Super Bowl if he'd say "I'm going to Disney World!" while they had a camera on him.

At first Phil Simms declined but the Disney reps persisted and on January 25, 1987 after his New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos, 39–20, Phil Simms became the first person to utter the words "I'm Going to Disneyworld!"

Prior to Super Bowl XXI, Disney offered both quarterbacks, Simms and John Elway of the Broncos, $75,000 for a commitment to appear in the ad if they were victorious. John Elway said no thanks, and he turned down the offer. He said at the time that he thought it was a corny idea, and that it would not be appropriate. Certainly not to say such a thing minutes after winning the Super Bowl. No, thanks for the generous offer, but no thank you.  

In his 1998 memoir Work in Progress, Disney CEO Michael Eisner credited his wife, Jane, with the idea for the campaign. According to Eisner, during the January 1987 grand opening for the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, the couple dined with Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, who in December 1986 had piloted the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. After Jane Eisner asked what the pilots planned to do next, they replied, "Well, we're going to Disneyland." She later told her husband the phrase would make a great advertising campaign. Michael Eisner initially discarded the idea. He never thought anyone would agree to saying such a phrase - and certainly not after winning the Super Bowl!

A List of Every Athlete to Appear in a “What’s Next?” Commercial

Super Bowls
  • Super Bowl XXI: Phil Simms, New York Giants
  • Super Bowl XXII: Doug Williams, Washington Redskins
  • Super Bowl XXIII: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers
  • Super Bowl XXIV: Joe Montana, San Francisco 49ers
  • Super Bowl XXV: Ottis Anderson, New York Giants
  • Super Bowl XXVI: Mark Rypien, Washington Redskins
  • Super Bowl XXVII: Troy Aikman, Dallas Cowboys
  • Super Bowl XXVIII: Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys
  • Super Bowl XXIX: Jerry Rice and Steve Young, San Francisco 49ers
  • Super Bowl XXX: Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys
  • Super Bowl XXXI: Desmond Howard, Green Bay Packers
  • Super Bowl XXXII: John Elway, Denver Broncos
  • Super Bowl XXXIII: Terrell Davis and John Elway, Denver Broncos
  • Super Bowl XXXIV: Kurt Warner, St. Louis Rams
  • Super Bowl XXXV: Trent Dilfer, Baltimore Ravens
  • Super Bowl XXXVI: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl XXXVII: Jon Gruden and Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Super Bowl XXXVIII: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  • Super Bowl XL: Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Super Bowl XLI: Tony Dungy and Dominic Rhodes, Indianapolis Colts
  • Super Bowl XLII: Eli Manning, New York Giants
  • Super Bowl XLIII: Santonio Holmes and Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Super Bowl XLIV: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
  • Super Bowl XLV: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  • Super Bowl XLVI: Eli Manning, New York Giants
  • Super Bowl XLVII: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

It was not just Super Bowls, either. Frank Viola and Orel Hershiser, MVPs of the 1987 and 1988 World Series, both made a trip to a Disney park following the Fall Classic.

In 2004 the trio of Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, and David Ortiz went to Disney World for the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez was the MVP.

Disney also ran “What’s Next?” ads when Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds broke the single-season home run record in 1998 and 2001, respectively. But most people choose to forget about that.

Two commercials featured Stanley Cup winners, the Flames’ Al MacInnis in 1989 and the Canadiens’ Patrick Roy in 1993.

Did you catch it?

  • Super Bowl XXXII: John Elway, Denver Broncos

Had Mr. Elway won in 1987, the entire "I'm Going to Disneyworld!" and "I'm Going to Disneyland!" advertising campaigns would have been a bust. No iconic commercial. But after seeing his NFL colleagues saying "I'm Going to Disneyworld!" and "I'm Going to Disneyland!" when it was his turn to hold up the Lombardi trophy, this time he said yes. And this time he took the money.

Disney approached Broncos coach Mike Shanahan and Packers coach Mike Holmgren about appearing in a commercial after Super Bowl XXXII, but both coaches turned it down. So, like John Elway in 1983, not everyone says yes.

William Stephen "Bill" Belichick, Head Coach of the The New England Patriots never said yes, but he was never asked. I guess the folks at Disney could not picture Coach Belichick on the Mad Tea Party ride.

After watching his children play with a Super Ball, Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League, coined the term Super Bowl. In a July 25, 1966, letter to NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, Hunt wrote, "I have kiddingly called it the 'Super Bowl,' which obviously can be improved upon." Although the league owners decided on the name "AFL-NFL Championship Game," the media immediately picked up on Hunt's "Super Bowl" name, which would become official beginning with the third annual game.

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