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In focus: the Jimmy Johnson ad

It was shocking news that reverberated across the city in early 1994. After winning not one but two Super Bowl championships as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson was forced out by team owner Jerry Jones.


In a hastily organized news conference at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, Jimmy Johnson sought to put a positive spin on the falling out. “I was starting to lose my focus,” Johnson said more than once, as the cameras rolled. “And without my focus, I can’t give 100 percent.”


The airwaves were still dominated by Johnson’s lament about “losing his focus” on Wednesday morning, when I presented this ad concept internally. Soon we were on the phone with our newest client, EyeMasters, persuading them to go big with the ad, the very next day.

As you can see in the timeline above, things only accelerated from there.

The ad was prepped, approved, and shipped within hours. Meanwhile, Johnson’s departure stayed top of mind, as news broke that Jerry Jones

had hired Barry Switzer as his replacement.


The next morning, Thursday, both local papers covered the coaching change on the front page, providing the ideal context for the two full-page ads. Several radio stations commented on the ad during their morning programming.


In a city thankful to Jimmy Johnson for bringing an NFL championship back

to Dallas, the ad brought fans’ gratitude into sharp focus.

Full-page newspaper ad

Johnson: "I lost my focus."

Cowboys were top of mind.

Adweek picked it up too.