Intel will place an ad in this Sunday/Monday's Super Bowl, the glitzy sporting event guaranteed to pull huge viewing figures in the US. Alongside the inevitable BunnyPeople, the spot will star the voice of Steve Martin reprising his role as the detective in spoof film noir comedy classic Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Martin investigates the theft of a Pentium II processor from the Intel clean room - the lab where chip development takes place. Viewers can choose an ending by voting over the Net for who they think is the likely thief out of two suspects.
Although any Net user can access the site, the UK is one of only a very few countries who will see the game and ad live at 12.25am and 2.05am UK time on Monday, January 26 on Channel 4. "People traditionally unveil their most prestigious campaigns for Super Bowl," said an Intel spokeswoman.
Asked whether many UK users will bother with the Web vote or even the ad itself considering the minority appeal of the grid-iron game in the UK and the fact that there is no prize up for grabs, Intel as usual had an answer.
"Can I quote my brother who's a big fan of American football?" joked the spokeswoman. "We want to bring the Web to a halt with this."
Given the concerns expressed in reaction to Intel's offer of subsidised advertising on Web sites that offer whiz-bang features that suggest a Pentium II is needed to get maximum effect, some critics might take the chip giant at its word.