A Niagara University alum gave an omen of things to come Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers – and was loved or vilified for doing so.
In Tide’s 60-second “Miracle Stain” ad – one of the most praised commercials aired during the Super Bowl – sauce spilled on a football fan’s jersey forms the image of fabled 49ers great Joe Montana and soon sends fans on a frenzied pilgrimage to his “Montana Land” home.
The buzz comes to a screeching halt when the man’s wife, played by Carmen Ruby Floyd, a 2000 Niagara grad, informs him she has “inadvertently” washed the jersey because of the “stain.” As he moans over the news, Floyd turns to the camera and says slyly, “Go Ravens.”
“People hate me, people love me, it’s fantastic. That’s when you know you’re a real celebrity, right? Isn’t that the goal?” Floyd laughed.
“It’s funny. Sports fans are really intense. They either blamed me for the loss or credited me for the win.”
Floyd, 32, a Buffalo native who lives in Manhattan, said she had a lot of fun making the commercial in Los Angeles. “It was a blast. Marcus [Brown, her co-star] reminded me of my actual husband and he said I reminded him of his wife, so it was easy to role play. We basically laughed on set for the four days we shot it.”
Floyd has done other commercial work and voice-overs. She was also the understudy last year for the role of Mariah in “Porgy and Bess” on Broadway, where she also has also appeared in “Avenue Q.”
In 2011, Floyd appeared in an episode of “Law and Order: SVU,” and sang “Creole Love Call” in “Cotton Club Parade” at City Center, prompting a New York Times critic to say her rendition had “an eerie, supernatural quality.”
Floyd, who interrupted her Niagara education to perform in “The Lion King” in Toronto, credits the university for preparing her for a career in performance.
“There is obviously dance, vocal and acting, but they have you do stage management, costumes, lighting and sound,” she said.
“It’s a very well-rounded theater school, and my training has definitely paid off.”
Eleanor Gayles Davis, Floyd’s aunt and a Buffalo resident who has performed for decades in the Gayles Family Singers, which includes Floyd’s mother, was “delighted” by the commercial.
“I was at a Super Bowl party, and we just applauded and were so happy,” Davis said.
Floyd wasn’t the only Niagara University graduate involved in some capacity with the Super Bowl.
Derek Zeller, who graduated last year with a degree in communications studies, photographed images of events in New Orleans leading up the to Super Bowl for a website affiliated with the NFL Players Association.
“It has been such a surreal experience – a dream come true,” Zeller said in a statement, noting that he shook hands “with guys like Jerry Rice and Andre Reed.”
Eleven students from NU’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management also went to New Orleans. They worked on Super Bowl Boulevard, helped at NFL Experience, the league’s interactive theme park, and were involved in coordinating some postgame activities on the field.
On Monday, the Vincentian university students volunteered at that city’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.