Red McCombs has finally (kind of) made it to the Super Bowl.
The 91-year-old businessman and San Antonio icon stars in a Red McCombs Automotive commercial that was aired during Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3.
McCombs loves sports. He brought the Spurs to San Antonio and once owned the Denver Nuggets. He also owned the Minnesota Vikings from 1998 to 2005 – but McCombs didn’t see a Super Bowl during that time.
“I owned the Minnesota Vikings for years and years, but we never made it to the Super Bowl,” McCombs said in an email. “At age 91 I finally smartened up. The easiest way to get in the Super Bowl is buy your way in with your own commercial.”
McCombs’ grandson Joe Shields remembers meeting some of football’s greats while his grandfather still owned the Vikings — Randy Moss, Daunte Culpepper, Cris Carter.
“Football is a passion for my grandfather and everyone at Red McCombs,” Shields said. “As we’re talking about launching this new message that Red McCombs is driven to serve, we thought, ‘What better place to launch it than at the Super Bowl?’”
Shields, director of business development at Red McCombs Enterprises, said the pun in the name of the new Red McCombs’ Automotive campaign – “Driven to Serve” – works because it also shows his grandfather’s character.
“My grandfather grew up during the Great Depression, had literally no money in his pockets when he hitchhiked to [the University of Texas at Austin] to get an education, ended up selling cars before taking a corporate job – but never made it to that job [because] he was so successful at selling cars,” Shields said. “He’s always been driven himself to provide for his family, and now has the opportunity to drive for success and give back to San Antonio.”
In the Super Bowl commercial, McCombs says he’s ready to do whatever customers need. In a twist, someone takes him up on that promise, and the businessman finds himself doing laundry, scrubbing dishes, and attempting to help two children with their homework.
“I may not be the best house cleaner, but I can at least poke some fun at myself while we share the message that folks at Red McCombs really are committed to our customers,” McCombs said in a statement.
Shields said his grandfather had a mind of his own when he was on set.
“He is not one to take directions from other people,” Shields laughed. “He has a vision of what he’s going to say and do, and no one is going to stop him. That made it a little more difficult to get what we had pre-scripted on camera.”
In the end, Shields said, the shots they captured of McCombs worked well.
“We got some pretty great clips of him in a setting I think most people wouldn’t expect,” he said. “Hopefully the humor is evident.”
The $50,000 Super Bowl commercial is the first in a series that will be aired later on San Antonio channels. It will premiere in San Antonio after the first half of the game, before the halftime entertainment starts. Check back here on Super Bowl Sunday to see the commercial.