Once a media titan, Blockbuster Video is now down to a single store. However, they’re rallying for a comeback this Super Bowl Sunday. The final store of the once mighty chain, located in Bend, Oregon, teased a new promo on Instagram.
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The tease definitely has quite a hook. The image shows the final Blockbuster Video store, with a giant mutant cockroach crawling on top of it. “Is the world coming to an end or is Blockbuster releasing its first commercial in a really, really long time” Yes. See you on 2/12/23,” the caption reads.
Of course, they don’t have the budget to literally air a pricey ad during the Super Bowl itself. However, they can certainly drop a new promo on Instagram during the halftime show. Don’t want to miss out on Rihanna’s halftime performance? Not to worry; for just $2, you can personally rent a copy of the ad from the store itself. On VHS.
The strategy behind Blockbuster Video’s Super Bowl Ad
Though this store’s advertisement isn’t quite at the same level as Popcorners or Paramount+, it is still an effective way to create hype and garner attention. This strategy appears to be successful, with numerous calls being placed since the teasers were released earlier in the week. “Everyone who calls is super excited, and they want to know more,” Sandi Harding, the store’s general manager, told CNN.
“I wanted to do two things with the ad. One was to show that small businesses can also do creative and fun things for Super Bowl, and it’s not just an opportunity for the big companies and their big ads,” she explained. “We also want people to remember us, that we are here and our store is exactly the way a Blockbuster store was in the 1990s.”
At its peak, Blockbuster was a nationwide phenomenon with over 9,000 stores. However, their reign came to an abrupt halt when streaming services like Netflix invaded the market and sent them packing (almost) for good. Blockbuster locations dwindled until there were only 10 in 2017, and then eventually just a single store remained.
Bend, Oregon is the only remaining proof that millennials and generations after them have to believe Blockbuster truly existed. It’s an iconic reminder of how Americans used to watch movies in their own homes before streaming took over.
The store is known for its amusing content that reaches tens of thousands of people on TikTok and Instagram and even earned a spot in a Netflix documentary about its corporate decline. It is only fitting that a remnant from days gone by should have an offbeat advert during the Super Bowl.