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Taco Bell’s ‘Viva Young’ Super Bowl commercial created by Chicago-area natives

Updated: February 5, 2013 11:58AM

After a long night out partying, Brian Siedband and Gordy Sang both agree that Taco Bell is a great place to go.

The two L.A.-based advertising executives, who coincidentally both grew up on the North Shore, say it was that thought that inspired the “Viva Young,” Super Bowl commercial that’s getting rave reviews.

“The truth is, after a fun night, you hit Taco Bell,” said Siedband, who grew up in Northbrook and graduated from Glenbrook North High School in 1995. “Gordy and I had been kicking around the thought of retirement home residents escaping for a night out, and we thought it fit perfectly with Taco Bell.”

Sang, a New Trier High School grad who grew up in Glencoe, met Siedband when they worked at Draft FCB in Chicago.

“We work smoothly together, and we just click,” said Sang, who holds a B.A. in graphic design from Indiana University. “We sort of look alike, and people ask us if we’re brothers. It’s weird that we grew up 15 minutes away from each other and met like we did.”

Their first project together was a Miller Light campaign. They created and sold a 10- spot package of “Man Up,” commercials. That began a winning streak for the two, who have created several successful commercials for companies like Kettle Brand and PlayStation.

Another hit for the duo was their commercial, “Cubs Win” for Playstation’s MLB ’12 The Show, that portrays the Cubs winning the World Series.

“It seemed to really strike a chord in Chicago, and people got excited,” said Siedband, who graduated from University of Illinois with double major in marketing and finance, and who at one time worked as a singer on a cruise ship.

Leaving home to work in California for Deutsch Inc. wasn’t an easy decision for the two who both who say they love Chicago.

“I always thought of myself as someone who would stay in Chicago forever,” said Siedband, who had a newborn when he moved with his family two years ago. “It was a big decision, but we felt like we were young and this was an adventure.”

“Viva Young” was voted one of the five best Super Bowl commercials of 2013 by the Washington Post, and one of the 15 best for The Daily Beast.

The commercial, which tells the story of a group of retirement residents who sneak out and hit the town doing all kinds of crazy things, from swimming and dancing, to getting tattoos and eating at Taco Bell. The soundtrack is provided by a Spanish version of the pop song “We Are Young,” by the band Fun.

“When it comes to the Super Bowl, you have to go bigger or go home,” Sang said. “We thought, ‘What better than to have old people live more?”

Additionally, the two managed to sneak a little piece of the North Shore into the spot by naming the retirement home “GlencoBrooke.”

When asked what their reactions were when they found out the commercial was slated for the Super Bowl, Siedband said he was ecstatic, but nervous.

“Every eyeball in America is watching your work,” he said. “I wondered if America would like it or hate it, but I think America liked it.”

“I went to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl and there were three other people there who had commercials on air during the game,” said Sang, “Only in L.A.”

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