The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

This 'Mini Abe' Super Bowl Ad Cost $127,000 To Air

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 3, 2014 3:40PM

If you were watching the Seattle Seahawks’ thorough domination of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXVIII Sunday night you may have run across this commercial.

Yeah, it creeped us out until we realized we could have a killer night on the town with this pint-sized rail splitter catching Leslie and the LY’s at Empty Bottle, drinking Malort as we wind our way across the city, closing down Green Mill or Carol's Pub and greeting the sunrise with skillets at Alexander’s on Clark and Granville. The Illinois Office of Tourism is hoping the ad will spur Chicagoans who saw it to explore all the attractions the state has to offer.

The ad is almost identical to one produced for Enjoy Illinois by ad firm J. Walter Thompson that debuted last autumn, with an added scene featuring “Mini Abe” being laid out by a football. But the commercial only ran in Chicago at a cost of $127,000. (Commercials on networks and local television stations for the Super Bowl are often priced at higher premiums given the audiences they attract. ‘Merica, y’all!)

Will the Super Bowl ad be enough to keep Chicagoans from driving to Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin and keep tourism income in the Land of Lincoln? That remains to be seen. A spokeswoman for the Office of Tourism said tourism inquiries through the office’s website,, were up 57 percent in 2013 over 2012.

That doesn’t necessarily equate to more tourism dollars being spent in the state and, this being Illinois where government agencies borrow from Peter to pay Paul, there are critics who believe even $127,000 for a Super Bowl ad is money we can’t afford. ABC 7’s Chuck Goudie writes that state tourism officials believe the ad buy is “a rather modest effort within the limits of our budget to try to promote ourselves to a very good audience.”

And it will be if it leads Chicagoans to explore the Shawnee Hills wine region downstate or head to Springfield or Peoria or Rockford or Metropolis for the Superman festival or other points of note in Illinois. That remains to be seen.