In an unprecedented showcase of technological innovation, this year’s Super Bowl commercials prominently featured artificial intelligence (AI), signaling its growing influence in mainstream culture and marketing strategies. Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Etsy, and even entertainment entities like the Minions franchise, leveraged AI to either create or promote their ads, spending upwards of $7 million for a mere 30 seconds of airtime. This hefty investment underscores the critical role AI now plays in brand promotion and product development, highlighting its rapid ascent to a must-have feature in the corporate world.
Innovative commercials highlight AI’s capabilities and challenges
Microsoft made a notable return to Super Bowl advertising after a four-year hiatus with a commercial for its Copilot AI chatbot, marking a significant shift in the company’s positioning towards being an AI-driven enterprise. The ad spotlighted the potential of Copilot to enhance productivity and creativity across various domains, including movie-making and game development, integrated within the Microsoft 365 suite. This move signals a new era of subscription-based AI tools aiming to revolutionize how tasks are approached and completed.
The Super Bowl also saw creative approaches to demonstrating AI’s potential and its current limitations. Coca-Cola’s BodyArmor sports drink brand presented a commercial that started with AI-generated video clips showcasing the technology’s flaws, such as image distortion and nonsensical AI voiceovers. This was contrasted with traditional ad elements to emphasize the “real” quality of their product. Meanwhile, CrowdStrike opted for a futuristic Western theme to promote its AI-driven cybersecurity solutions, highlighting the innovative use of AI in protecting digital assets.
Illumination’s promotional spot for “Despicable Me 4” ingeniously used AI to mimic common generative AI errors, with Minions humorously depicted as creating these flawed artworks. This ad cleverly played on the current fascination and skepticism surrounding AI’s creative abilities, while also engagingly promoting the upcoming movie.
Google’s Super Bowl ad took a different tack by focusing on the practical application of AI for accessibility. Their commercial for the Pixel 8 smartphone featured the Guided Frame feature. This AI tool assists blind users in taking photos by verbally indicating when faces are within the camera’s frame. This use case illustrates the tangible benefits AI can provide in enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, showcasing the technology’s versatility beyond entertainment and productivity.
The growing impact of AI in advertising and beyond
The prominence of AI in this year’s Super Bowl commercials is a testament to the technology’s rapid integration into various aspects of life and commerce. These ads not only aimed to entertain but also to inform and educate the public on the capabilities and future possibilities of AI. By choosing the Super Bowl, one of the most watched events in the United States, as the platform to highlight these advancements, companies effectively reached millions of viewers, making a strong statement about the importance of AI in contemporary society.
Moreover, these commercials reflect a broader trend of AI becoming a critical component of marketing strategies. As companies continue to explore and push the boundaries of what AI can do, technology is expected to play an even more significant role in shaping consumer experiences and expectations. From enhancing creativity and productivity to improving accessibility and security, AI is proving to be a versatile tool that can address a wide range of challenges and opportunities.
The 2024 Super Bowl commercials have set a new benchmark for how AI is presented and perceived by the general public. Through a mix of humor, creativity, and practical applications, these ads have successfully captured the imagination of viewers, sparking conversations about the future of AI in our lives. As technology continues to evolve, it will be fascinating to see how AI shapes the advertising world and the broader landscape of society and industry.