The Super Bowl is over and done with for another year, but it has left behind the thing we really care about: the adverts. Super Bowl veterans like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google introduced new commercials while some smaller names made first-time appearances.
Sadly, they were all a tad underwhelming this year, much like the lukewarm half-time show — and the scoreline. Still, if you missed them, here’s a rundown of the major Super Bowl tech adverts from this year’s game.
Google – 100 Billion Words
Google’s 100 billion words ad is a good place to start. It’s a heartwarming story about language and how, despite that it can be used for ill, most of us just want to use it to get along.
Google Assistant can help us in this pursuit — even when there’s a language barrier — thanks to its translation work. “Every day, the most translated words in the world are ‘How are you?’ ‘Thank you,’ and ‘I love you,'” says the ad’s narrator atop an evocative piano score.
It’s another typical “bringing the world together” promo from Google, but an effective one.
T-Mobile – We’ll Keep This Brief
T-Mobile had a handful of Super Bowl promos this year. One lifts a classic Uber mixup meme for a Lyft tie-in, one plays on a relationship dinner trope for a Taco Bell cross-promotion, and one (the funniest, in my opinion, embedded above) is just a straight-up T-Mobile plug.
You can check out a playlist of all five ads here.
Bumble – Serena Williams
Dating app Bumble has done well to secure legendary tennis star Serena Williams for this ad. The app’s key feature is that women must make the first move, which plays well with the “Women, the ball is in your court” message in the clip.
It’s still a bit weird to hear Williams say “If I waited for change to happen, I never would have made a difference,” though; I’m not sure you could quite compare sending a message on a dating app with becoming one of the world’s greatest tennis players, but maybe that’s just me.
Microsoft – We All Win
Another uplifting effort comes from Microsoft promoting its Xbox Adaptive Controller. This controller is designed to help those with limited mobility get involved in gaming by offering a slew of external buttons and switches for a customized experience.
You can learn more about the product here and see what some charming kids have to say about it in the clip above.
Amazon – Not Everything Makes the Cut
Amazon’s Alexa ad is among yesterday’s best, though I’m still trying to work out why Harrison Ford and Forest Whitaker were chosen for cameos.
The commercial imagines some “failed” Alexa products, including a dog collar that allows pups to make Amazon orders by themselves, and an Alexa-enabled hot tub — complete with a funny and incredibly realistic-looking stunt.
There was no real product announcement from this one, instead, it was just about reaffirming Amazon’s position as your chirpy pal. But it works!
Squarespace – Make It with Idris Elba
Spike Jonze directs Idris Elba in Squarespace’s ad which, despite some early smiles, doesn’t quite have enough funny material to last the four minutes of its extended version.
Pringles – Sad Devices
Pringles of course isn’t a tech brand but its ad does touch on tech — specifically, connected speakers — in a comedically tragic way. I won’t spoil it for you, just check it out, it’s fun.
What was your favorite ad from this year’s Super Bowl? Let us know in the comments.