, Salem, MA

February 2, 2013

Mr. Super Bowl


---- — SWAMPSCOTT — Bryan Buckley is not playing tomorrow in Super Bowl XLVII, but his performance will be seen by tens of millions who tune in for the biggest TV event of the year.

He won’t throw a pass or tackle a running back, but Buckley may be under just as much pressure, or create almost as much buzz, as 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick or Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis.

The former Swampscott resident is the director of three Super Bowl commercials for three big clients: Coca-Cola, Best Buy and Tide. Combined, they will air for only a few minutes but cost around $20 million.

“I feel really good about this year ... really solid,” Buckley, 49, said yesterday before jumping on a plane for New Orleans.

Maybe, he conceded, there was a wee bit of pressure.

“We literally just finished (the Tide commercial) minutes ago,” he said.

And the stakes, indeed, are high.

“You’ve got to come through,” he said. “The big thing is you’re paying for every second, so it’s got to count and you’ve got to make things work for the client.”

The Best Buy ad, which features “Parks and Recreation” star Amy Poehler, has been getting a lot of attention, but Buckley isn’t picking favorites.

“They’re all your children,” he said. “No way you can say one child is better than the other.”

While he’s too humble to admit it, the 1981 Swampscott High graduate is actually a Super Bowl star himself.

His commercials have been airing since 1999. In all, he has made more than 40 Super Bowl spots.

He did the “When I Grow Up” ad that first year, and directed Will Ferrell in a memorable Bud Light commercial. He also did a CareerBuilder ad with monkeys in the office. His FedEx “Castaway” spoof made a list of top 10 Super Bowl commercials, as did several others.

Although he’s excited about this year’s commercials, Buckley, believe it or not, may have to miss the big game.

“I’m going to be in the air,” he said. “I’m going to an Oscar luncheon (in Los Angeles) on Monday.”

When he wasn’t shooting commercials, Buckley wrote and directed “Asad,” a short film about the struggles of a young boy in Somalia.

It has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Tom Dalton can be reached at