Given the rancorous political environment and newfound #MeToo sensitivities, advertisers struggled to find the right tone for their Super Bowl LII spots.
Most of last night’s ads played it safe, opting for humor or relaying a positive social message, in lieu of the brash, bold breakthrough commercials of yore (think Apple’s “1984” spot). And tech sponsors were no different.
Here, in no particular order, are some of our favorite industry ads, for reasons peculiarly our own.
Monster: This was Monster’s first-ever Super Bowl commercial, meant as the company’s “coming out party,” founder Noel Lee told TWICE, and an indication that he intends to invest heavily in the brand this year.
What We Liked: The tale of an engineer, played by YouTube star RiceGum, who, fed up by earbuds and inspired by spokesinger Iggy Azalea, crafts a pair of over-the-ear Monster cans at his workbench. That, plus a blitzkrieg of cameos by Azalea, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, *NYSNC’s Joey Fatone, country music’s Big Kenny and the Head Monster himself, and a plug for MonsterStore.com, the company's new direct-sale site.
T-Mobile: Absent was the magenta carrier’s irascible CEO John Legere. Instead, the camera panned across a multi-racial parade of babies as the voiceover offered an empowering message of social and sexual equality. “This year,” said Legere in a statement, “more than ever, I want the world to know exactly who we are and what we believe in.”
What We Liked: Progressive portent of the future aside, we especially dug the kiddie xylophone version of Nirvana’s “All Apologies.”
Sprint: The fourth-place mobile carrier took on Verizon Wireless in a funny/spooky sci-fi tale of AI gone awry.
What We Liked: The pint-sized robot that insults his creator’s nerdy looks. “You got a dumb face,” he mocks, as the other machines laugh.
Verizon Wireless: The No. 1 carrier took the high road with an emotional tribute to first responders. The concept: Actual thank-you calls to real rescuers, made by the rescued.
What We Liked: A segue by halftime performer Justin Timberlake, who reminded us to “remember the first responders who keep us safe every day,” and directed viewers to Verizon’s AllOurThanks.com, where visitors can voice their appreciation and make a donation to the American Red Cross.
Amazon: As previously reported, the e-tailer enlisted the aid of celebrities Cardi B, Gordon Ramsey, Rebel Wilson and Sir Anthony Hopkins to fill in for Alexa, after the virtual assistant lost its voice.
What We Liked: CEO Jeff Bezos’ acting chops, and a 30-second ad extension featuring in-character comedians Leslie Jones and JB Smoove.