toast to the N.Y. Giant's last week during his dinner at Lavo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell proved to be a prescient gesture as the Giants went on to win Super Bowl Trophy number two, proving the pundits wrong and denying the Patriots' dynastic ambitions. Ovitz, a long-time sports fan, attended the game as mentioned in this Boston Globe article, Stars Out In Indy for the Super Bowl.
Though the game itself was close, the hype and post-game chatter seemed to be more about the Madonna half-time show and the various Super Bowl commercials, costing advertisers a modest average of $3.5 million per 30 seconds.
Among those were a new set of Coca-Cola polar bear commercials, most prominent of which was 'The Catch'. (Watch it here).
What few may realize is the integral role Michael Ovitz and CAA played in the origin of these iconic Coca-Cola polar bear commercials. In September 1991 Ovitz "rocked the advertising world by signing Coca-Cola". At the time it was unheard of for a talent agency to represent a client's advertising interests, thus the deal had long-term implications not only for the former Coca-Cola agency McCann-Erickson, but for advertising agencies in general: the realm of advertising was forever expanded to include other business entities beyond the pale of the traditional agency. To retain their contracts, they had to innovate and compete with fresh and new ideas; resting on the laurels of conventional advertising was no longer an option. For this reason Ovitz is considered a highly influential figure in advertising history; read more about it here in this Ad Age Advertising history.
Though Ovitz can take credit for a highly transformative moment in advertising history, the association of polar bears with Coca-Cola dates back much further. According to Coca-Cola, the first polar bear "appeared in France in 1922, and for the next 70 years, polar bears appeared sporadically in print advertising". The company has a page detailing the creation of the original commercials; you can read it in its entirety here.