PETALUMA (CBS SF) — Two Petaluma Fire Department battalion chiefs appeared in an acclaimed commercial that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Phil Sutsos and Jack Schach appeared for about two seconds in Chrysler Group’s “It’s Halftime in America” narrated by Clint Eastwood. The firefighters appear one minute and four seconds into the spot, which aired right after the halftime show that featured Madonna.
The theme of the commercial, shot in black and white and color, is that America and the auto industry are back after tough times, and neither can be knocked out by one punch.
“We get right back up again and when we do, the world’s going to hear the roar of our engines,” Eastwood said.
Schach said he and Sutsos were the only ones in Fire Station 1 at 198 D St. when the film company knocked on the door in early January.
“They asked to take pictures of some fire equipment and if we wanted to be in a Dodge commercial that had the potential to be in the Super Bowl,” Schach recalled.
The shoot lasted about 15 minutes and the film crew was gone in less than an hour. Both battalion chiefs posed with a fire department vehicle in the background.
“They said, ‘Stand here and look serious, don’t smile but don’t look mad’,” Schach said. The chiefs look calm, confident and reassuring in keeping with the car company’s message.
Last Thursday, Schach said he received an email informing him the spot would indeed be broadcast during the game.
Schach, 38, a Rohnert Park resident, watched the game at his mother’s Santa Rosa home.
“My cellphone was blowing up a couple minutes after it (the commercial) ended, he said. “Everyone cheered.”
Schach is the younger man on the right. Sutsos, a Sonoma resident in his early 50s, has been a firefighter 31 years, Schach said.
“He’s very excited. We got emails from all our friends telling us, ‘you owe big time’,” he said.
Part of being a firefighter means buying ice cream for other firefighters if one’s name or photo appear in the media. Schach’s and Sustos’ Super Sunday likely means super sundaes for their brethren.
Each of them earned $100 for the commercial. The money will be put in a general fund for fire equipment or donations.
Schach said he emailed his contact with the film company asking, not entirely unseriously, whether some memorabilia, perhaps a Dodge Challenger, might be in the offering.
“She said probably not,” Schach said.
“We’re very proud to represent Petaluma and the fire services as a whole. It’s cool they wanted to have fire representation and we’re honored to be a part that,” Schach said.
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