Her involvement with sports also helped her develop the idea for her pitch. "I wanted it to be emotional, like whether you played sports or not you can feel what it's like to be in this huge moment," Cipolla said.
You can hear Cipolla pitch her idea at www.nfl.com/superad/vote/, Cipolla is number 11.
Cipolla learned about the Super Bowl marketing contest while on the NFL's Web site checking Chicago Bears scores for her husband, Tony. She said she felt the opportunity couldn't be missed, and she began working on her pitch.
Cipolla who has an MBA from Union College, met with her professor, John Huppertz, who helped her develop the idea.
Huppertz said he was surprised that Cipolla wanted to be involved in the contest.
"I thought it was a long shot. The contest was so 'American Idol'-like with hundreds of thousands of contestants, but Nikki's got a lot of confidence, and she knows what she's doing. She's got a real feel for this stuff," he said.
Huppertz said once he heard Cipolla's idea, he knew she had something.
"Most of the other contestants are relying on humor, Nikki's idea is different because it's emotional. She relies on her past experiences, and that's helped her," he said.
Huppertz said he believes that humorous ads are hard to execute. "Nikki taps into a genuine emotion that pros, amateurs and wannabes can relate to."
If she wins the contest, Cipolla will get to travel to Los Angeles for the filming of the ad, then attend the Super Bowl when her commercial will run on television. Cipolla hopes, if nothing else, being a finalist will get her some exposure.
"I am a dedicated, hard worker, and I have a passion for this stuff. It would be amazing for other people to see that in me," she said.
You can vote for Cipolla on the NFL's Web site. Online voting through Jan. 7 will determine 30 percent of a contestant's score.