The Super Bowl often is the most-watched TV broadcast of the year, which makes the commercials the most-watched advertisements — and sometimes more enjoyable than the game. This year, football fans in the Columbus area will have an extra reason to not take a bathroom break or scamper to the refrigerator during a timeout.
Students and staff from Troup High School are featured in a Kia commercial that will air during the Super Bowl 53 broadcast on CBS. The kickoff for Sunday’s NFL championship game between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
And unlike many of the glitzy Super Bowl ads starring a celebrity, the Korean carmaker, with a plant in West Point, Ga., chose to let regular folks communicate the message.
Kia’s commercial launches its Great Unknowns Scholarship campaign, according to Adweek. Kia’s website explains that the money it would have used for a celebrity spokesperson is funding the scholarship “to help young people in need get a foothold in higher education.”
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Chorus teacher Kathryn Kirby is one of the Troup staff members in the commercial.
“Honestly, my students and I were unaware that the commercial was going to air during the Super Bowl, but we knew it was going to be bigger than we initially expected,” Kirby said in the school system’s news release. “Three of my students were in the teaser from a scene they shot at the school.”
That teaser ran during the NFC championship game.
Filming for the commercial was done in some of Troup’s halls and classrooms.
“We went into hair and makeup and got to watch the crew of about 60 people transform the school into a movie set,” Kirby said. “The excitement really began to come through once the teaser was released.”
All the Troup students and staff in the commercial were hired through the Screen Actors Guild, Kirby said.
“They learned so much about paperwork and what it takes to churn out one or two scenes for one commercial,” she said. “. . . It was just great having them work through the business side of show business as well as the acting side.”
Kirby will be sure to watch the broadcast Sunday night.
“We can’t wait to see how the full commercial turned out,” she said. “We hope the entire county will be watching and cheering us on.”
The casting company for Kia’s commercial contacted Kirby and auditioned her 70 chorus students, she told the Ledger-Enquirer. Troup junior Grant Thrailkill, 16, is among the four students out of the 40 total who were selected as extras to be given more scenes.
“It was very cool,” he said.
The coolest part, Grant said, was getting to keep the white dress shirt and blue vest from the prom scene.
“It was very rewarding to be in the commercial,” he said.
The toughest part, Grant said, was keeping their participation a secret for a month until the teaser aired.
“As much as I wanted to brag about it, I couldn’t, so that was kind of hard,” he said. “But it was easy because I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Grant, who wants to become a marine biologist, also was chosen to do a voice-over for the commercial, in which he says, “We are unknowns.”
They don’t know which scenes will be in the 90-second spot that will air during the Super Bowl broadcast, Kirby said, but they were told it is scheduled to run during the third quarter.
Nonetheless, Grant said, “My parents will probably make me watch the whole thing. I’m not really a big sports fan.”
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272, @MarkRiceLE.