David Schwimmer Says Filming Skittles Super Bowl Ad Was 'Liberating'
The Super Bowl is all about spectacle: There’s the game, of course, but that’s just the main event. There’s also the half times show, when a super star in an over-the-top costume does an intricate dance routine in front of sparklers and strobe lights. It's the ads, though, that end creating some of the biggest buzz. Companies spend millions of the dollars getting ads on television during the Super Bowl, creating heart wrenching or inspiring or hilarious spots, usually starring celebrities, just to get everyone interested. Bud Light recruited Seth Rogen and Amy Schumer in 2017. This year, Stella Artois got Matt Damon to do its ad and Tostitos will even let you customize a party invitation starring Alfonso Ribeiro. And then there’s Skittles, which has decided to go a different route.
This year, Skittles created an ad that only one person will ever see. That person is Marco Menendez, a 17-year-old, and he’s a huge Skittles fan. Not even Marshawn Lynch gets to see the ad. David Schwimmer, of the Friends fame, stars in the commercial, and not even he gets to see the final cut. The closest that we’ll ever get to seeing the ad are four newly released teasers, each one showing a possible scene from the final version.
The teasers are true to Skittles surreal sense of humor (past ads include Steven Tyler talking to a portrait of himself made from Skittles, another with a kid at a skating rink with Skittles for teeth and one that turns Skittles into a chickenpox-like affliction). In one, Schwimmer feeds a talking sandwich Skittles.
In another, he’s a talking puppet, sitting in the lap of another puppet, which is sitting on the lap of a man. Take a slightly creepy scenario, toss in an element of magical realism (like a sandwich that is alive), remove it entirely from the reality normal people live in without offering any explanation or context, and you might get close to understanding what’s happening in these spots.
“I don’t do commercials as a rule, but I’ve always been a fan of the Skittles commercials,” Schwimmer told Food & Wine. “I just find them really odd and funny and they appeal to my own sense of humor.”
Breaking his own rule, Schwimmer decided to hear out Skittles’ pitch—and then they told him only one person, a teenage boy, would be seeing the final cut.
“I was like ‘What? I don’t understand. Come again?’ I just thought it was so subversive and absurd,” he says.
With Schwimmer on board, Skittles got to work on filming the ad, but this wasn’t a regular shoot.
“There was something quite liberating about the whole process,” Schwimmer explains. “It was just really freeing to know that no one is going to see this anyway.”
He's been known to snack on the candy himself: Schwimmer says that he usually goes for the “cherry and berry” Skittles flavors. Though he says he also likes chocolate, his favorite fruit-based desserts, especially pie, are all berry-based.
Schwimmer’s favorite teaser ended up being the one with the sandwich, but only Marco will ever know if that scene appears in the Super Bowl ad. His reaction will be streamed on his Facebook page—it won’t even appear on television—but by that time Schwimmer will probably sitting comfortably at friend’s Super Bowl party.
The actor, who is rooting for the Patriots this year, says he usually doesn’t throw a party of his own, but you'd better believe he won’t show up to a friend’s house empty-handed (“I wasn’t raised like that!” he promises). His go-to dish is chili—which he says he starts preparing early in the morning and serves alongside jalapeno cornbread and a beer. In fact, his favorite dish at the Super Bowl party is not the cheese dip or the chicken wings, it’s “my chili,” he admits with a laugh. Gameday is going well for him if he can sit down with a beer and a bowl of chili (which he tops, by the way, with sour cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt). It sounds pretty normal for a guy who just shared the screen with a miniature puppet and talking sandwich.