Tom Hanks, Sam Elliott, And Stephen Cobert Saved An Indie Bookstore With A Funny Super Bowl Ad

Super Bowl ads don’t come cheap. The average cost for 30-seconds of screen time is a whopping $5.6 million, according to Business Insider.

Comedian Stephen Colbert decided that one of those ad spots deserved to go to a struggling small business instead of a giant conglomerate. 

“These big companies aren’t the ones who need our support the most right now. It’s small businesses out there who have been hurt the most in this pandemic.”

Stephen Colbert

Colbert and his Late Show team selected Foggy Pines Books, a small, independent bookstore located in Boone, North Carolina (skip to 2:08).

Foggy Pines Books owner Mary Ruthless is unsure why their business was the one selected, but they are sure glad to have been featured on millions of television screens and that business is now thriving.

“It was kind of like winning the lottery. They wanted to feature a small business that had been hit hard by COVID and do what they could to promote them. I don’t know exactly what it was that caught their eye.”

Mary Ruthless
Screenshot YouTube

Before the advertisement, business looked bleak.

The bookstore had a GoFundMe campaign that was seeking support, and they provided regular updates about their business struggles on Instagram


“I did everything I could try to do to stay in business. There were several weeks I didn’t take a paycheck, I had to lay people off after our PPE ran out, but we made it through the holidays… I was really pleased with that, but winter is our slowest season and I was really concerned about whether or not we were going to make it through the season.”

Mary Ruthless

Oscar-winner Tom Hanks provided a glowing endorsement for Foggy Pines, and contributed an endearing jingle. Actor Sam Elliott narrated the commercial in his iconic deep, resonant voice.

“There’s a special breed that hungers for adventure and escape into the unknown. When you’re ready for that next chapter, there’s only one place to go… Foggy Pine Books in Boone, North Carolina.”

Sam Elliott

Ruthless had 500 book orders waiting when they went to open business up the following day after the Super Bowl ad aired. Business has boomed so much that Foggy Pine Books had to hire more staff to keep up with the demands.

You can order from the bookstore HERE.


Written by Abigale Racine