Kauffman Foundation Super Bowl ad calls on entrepreneurs

@CNNMoney February 1, 2012: 5:19 AM ET
The Kauffman Foundation is running its first ever TV ad during the Super Bowl. The message: Start your own business.

The Kauffman Foundation is running its first ever TV ad during the Super Bowl. The message: Start your own business.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Not many people know the Kauffman Foundation, but after this Sunday a lot more will have an idea.

The $2 billion nonprofit that focuses on fostering U.S. entrepreneurship is running its first ever TV ad, and it's doing it during the Super Bowl.

So, sandwiched between commercials featuring scantily clad models and costumed dogs will be a plug for starting a business.

The animated 30-second commercial, which the foundation said cost it less than $400,000, is part of its campaign to inspire everyday Americans to launch their own businesses.

"The next great entrepreneur is out there. Will it be you?" a narrator asks, as a wide-eyed cartoon character with a lightbulb over his head becomes a successful business owner making the front page of a newspaper.

The commercial, which was uploaded to YouTube Jan. 25, will run in four major cities.

Super Bowl ad sneak peek

It directs viewers to WillItBeYou.com, a microsite that links to resources for aspiring and existing small business owners.

"We want people to understand anyone can have a great idea. And if you have great commitment and passion, you can try that idea out," said Wendy Guillies, a spokeswoman for the foundation. "The end goal is that we have more people who start businesses and succeed in them."

Directing a call to entrepreneurial arms toward nacho-munching Average Joes during a football game might sound strange, but Guillies said that's exactly who the foundation is targeting with its campaign.

Many successful entrepreneurs started off as Average Joes or Average Josephines.

Kauffman paid to run the commercial in four unique markets. New York City is the country's most populous. San Francisco is a tech hub. Washington D.C. is the workplace of legislators who Kauffman wants paying attention to small business. And Kansas City is the group's headquarters.

A considerable portion of the 172 million watching the game Feb. 5 will be in those cities. A quarter of that 172 million will be tuning in for the commercials, according to the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association's survey this month.

NBC's Super Bowl ads sell out at record prices

However, convincing people to become their own bosses will still be difficult. The economy continues to crawl at a snail's pace and access to credit is limited for small business owners.

But the message will likely receive much attention if it follows Volkswagen's (VLKAF) barking Star Wars dogs or the sexually suggestive commercials of web provider Go Daddy -- a successful company Guillies noted was once a tiny startup.

"All those commercials came from a company that likely started with one person," she said. To top of page

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