You can advertise a lot of things on the Super Bowl, from a bag of Doritos to … a next-generation bomber that will cost half a billion dollars per aircraft to build.
Northrop Grumman is working on a design for the latter—it's battling Boeing-Lockheed for defense contract to build the U.S.'s next-gen bomber—and will tease the aircraft on the Super Bowl with the 30-second spot below, a rep for the company confirmed to Adweek.
UPDATE: This spot aired regionally, not nationally, on the Super Bowl.
Breaking Defense, a leading news site on defense, first broke the news Saturday. Running a Super Bowl ad is a first for Northrop, and is believed to be a first for any defense company.
The ad has been on YouTube since Thursday and already has more than 300,000 views. According to Breaking Defense, it begins by showing various famous Northrop aircraft—first the YB-35, then the B-2 bomber, then the X-47B.
Finally, the new mystery plane is shown at the end, shrouded in a giant sheet, as an airman walks toward it and grins slightly. (Breaking Defense says there's a chance the aircraft is the so-called sixth generation fighter for the Air Force and Navy, which Northrop also has design teams working on.)
The bomber program will be enormously expensive. Research and development alone is expected to cost $25 billion. Then, each plane is likely to cost $600 million to build—and the Air Force plans to buy 100 of them. If Northrop gets the contact, the $4.5 million NBC buy will have been a drop in the bucket.