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Crabb’s .6M-Worth Secret, Unveiled

She has been keeping the secret for months now. But the secret is not intended to be kept a little longer. No secret for Katelyn “Katie” Crabb, 19, a college freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, because the revelation, making her an advertising guru, was already made.

The Super Bowl, a nationwide competition for college students sponsored by Chevrolet, gave Crabb one of the greatest milestones in her advertising life. Crabb emerged as the winner by designing a 30-second .6 million-worth commercial for Chevrolet’s new line of crossover cars.

Chevrolet received entries from 820 teams from 230 schools. "I really didn't think I had a chance," Crabb said in late November after learning confidentially - participants were sworn to secrecy - that she had, in fact, been wrong, "because I'm a freshman and I'm not thinking about going into advertising." Other critics also thought that the victory is improbable. To boot, Crabb has no advertising background and she has competed against more than 200 hopefuls. Eventually, she stood alone against four other teams, each consisting of seniors or graduate students in fields such as visual communications and advertising.

Crabb entered the Chevy Super Bowl College Ad Challenge as part of a first semester media writing class. Her teacher, Jessica McBride, informed Katie that she was the finalist and would be going to Detroit for an all-expense paid trip in late October. In the said trip, Crabb along with the four finalist teams, spent time learning about cars and crossovers for them to be able to refine their concepts before presenting them to the Chevrolet’s executives and Campbell-Ewald.

As contest winner, Crabb was brought to New York in December to shoot the Chevrolet HHR commercial under celebrated ad director Bryan Buckley, who has shepherded 33 spots to the Super Bowl since 2000 and whose work has been installed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. The filming, on a street in lower Manhattan, took two days. "The shoot was really awesome," said Crabb. "I got to work with Bryan Buckley... and he was great. Everyone was great on the shoot. They let me get really involved. I can't even imagine having that much money in my life and then to spend it on one 30-second spot," Crabb said.

Before the spring semester, Crabb transferred from UWM to UW-Stevens Point. She plans to major in English education and theater, and said she is pretty well set on that path. "But that's not to say that later I won't go into advertising," she added. "...I have, like, three years to figure it out." Crabb is expected to be the next big thing, not perhaps on the manufacture of Volvo distributor cap, but in the Chevy world. But she could be somebody else.

"The nerves hit me a little just because, you know, I think I realized that, like, 'Whoa, like, these people are really high up. It was great to have this opportunity. I was so excited that I got to be on the set when the ad for the HHR was filmed – the car and the set were really cool. I really enjoyed it all - meeting the other finalists, learning about the production process from Chevy - from music selection to editing – it was all fascinating. And now to see the final ad on TV – it’s been an amazing experience,” Crabb said.

This weekend, Chevrolet is airing the ad during the Super Bowl. The ad shows an HHR stopped in New York City and men swarming the car, hoping to wash it so they can touch it. Crabb said her ad shows a different side of Chevrolet and takes a diverse approach to advertising for cars, which often are aimed at a male audience and features women. "We never get commercials that are for us, very rarely we do, especially with car commercials," Crabb said of women.

About the Author: Glady Reign is a 32 year old is a consultant for an automotive firm based in Detroit, Mi. she is a native of the motor city and grew up around cars hence her expertise in the automotive field.

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