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Die-Hard NFL Fans Vie For Ad Fame

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CBS
The Super Bowl is a huge platform for top-tier advertising talent. But this year, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports, Corporate giants like Frito-Lay and Chevrolet are running ads created by complete amateurs.

Die-hard football fans also are crashing the party, pitching their ideas for the best Super Bowl commercial ever — with one lucky winner getting to have his or her idea produced professionally and aired on Super Sunday.

"I think it's great," says Lisa Baird, senior VP of marketing for the NFL. "Here's the defining construct: Is it good? Is it entertaining?"

Baird says they got all that — and more – in the 1,700 pitches from football's faithful. She says one was pure genius, from a guy named Gino Bona.

Bona says he knew right away he was going to enter.

"I think I possess a lethal combination of 'I'm always dreaming and I'm never afraid to fail,'" Bona says.

Bona, 33, took time out from studying for his MBA to present his pitch about anguished football fans who are crushed that the season is over.

He was No. 1 with the judges. Soon after, Bona was off to Los Angeles, where he was hanging out on the set and getting up close and personal with his actors.

But the director is no average Joe. Joe Pytka is considered the MVP of Super Bowl ads, having directed award winners like Pepsi's busted soda bottler and the Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, McDonald's classic "Nothing But Net."

Bona says it was a complete whirlwind. "I mean, over 30 or 40 people have called my house wanting to be in the commercial. Mothers of NFL cheerleaders were calling me to say, 'You need to meet my daughter.' I mean, it's really, really been bizarre, but fun," Bona says.

But after Sunday, will any big ad execs be calling?

"Oh, I don't know. They'll have to all go through my agent," he says with a laugh.

If not, at least Bona will have his 30 seconds of fame.