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Google Fiber's Super Bowl ad has a Kansas City flavor
[February 01, 2013]

Google Fiber's Super Bowl ad has a Kansas City flavor

Jan 31, 2013 (The Kansas City Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Kansas City will get some Super Bowl love this weekend.

Well, not on the field. And not across the country. (Mercifully, there will be no mention of the Chiefs.) Google Fiber, the upstart TV and Internet service available so far only in a handful of neighborhoods, will air a commercial during the big game made for and in Kansas City.

The spot that will run locally during the Super Bowl has been on the air for a while, but its time slot among Sunday's pride-of-the-industry parade of commercials signals how eager Google is to compete in Kansas City.

Mostly, the commercial offers atmospherics about Google Fiber without explaining to the uninitiated that the service is anchored by ultrafast broadband Internet. The on-screen talent is all local.

It starts with footage of a Wyandotte High School basketball game. A player dribbles the ball past half court, crumbles to the floor at the top of the key and grasps his right knee in pain. (Oddly, no one chases the ball as it rolls out of bounds.) Next, we see the same thing replayed on YouTube (a Google product), followed by a Google search for "ACL tear" that leads the eye to an animated look into the bones and tendons of the knee.

Then we're taken to Google Plus, the company's Facebook-like social media hub, where our fallen ballplayer announces, "Surgery next week." People in his Google Plus circles offer concern and good luck. The player promises, "I'll be back next year. Thanks, y'all." Darrell Walker plays a teammate under his own name. He starts up a "Google Hangout," the live streaming group video chat on Google Plus.

"We miss you," he says in the camera to his injured buddy, "but we don't miss the smell of those shoes." Our wounded bulldog responds, "Get that W, baby." Bill Pikus, a former KMBC sports anchor, appears on fictional station KSTV, asking whether Wyandotte's magical ride to the state tournament can continue without its star. Then it's another Hangout as Walker tells his sidelined friend, "You're coming with us," while his laptop camera pans to the team running out on the court for a big game. Finally, in signature Google script, the screen reads, "Never get left behind." Walker was recruited by a family friend last spring to a casting call for young guys who could convincingly play ball and deliver a few lines.

He got the callback for the 60-second commercial, which was shot over two long days last April, much of it in the Wyandotte gym.

"To see how everything works and how much time and effort goes into everything was amazing," said Walker, who played point guard in high school and is attending the Missouri University of Science and Technology on a football scholarship. "I didn't know it took all of that to make a commercial." Before the commercial, Walker said, he didn't know what Google Fiber was. And he's not a user of Google Plus. Since the ad's release, he's "gotten a million phone calls and Facebook comments. ... It's been great." One catch: He didn't go to Wyandotte. He played against the school while attending crosstown Washington High School.

Donning a Bulldog uniform "I felt so bad putting that on," he said in a telephone interview from Rolla.

___ (c)2013 The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) Visit The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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