Announcing! Brandweek is headed to Phoenix, Arizona this September 23–26. Join us there to explore the future of marketing, discover cutting-edge strategies and network with the best in the business.
Well, it wasn’t a Las Vegas residency or a new tour, but that Verizon Super Bowl ad with Beyoncé did just about everything else it could to break the internet.
After using Arrested Development star Tony Hale to squeeze lemons (a thinly veiled reference to Beyoncé’s 2016 multiplatinum visual album Lemonade) and alluding to the sparkle horse from the Renaissance album cover in its teasers, Verizon placed Beyoncé in choreographed videos, her own lemonade stand, a Kenny G-style saxophone album, BeyoncAI technology, a run for presidency and a performance in space.
What was the point of that? To prove that Verizon’s network would hold even under extreme fan-imposed duress.
Beyoncé just happens to be a good test case. Verizon has history with Beyonce: presenting sponsor of her Ladies First Tour with Missy Elliot and Alicia Keys in 2004, first to offer downloads of I Am… Sasha Fierce in 2008 and handling the presale for Renaissance World Tour tickets to Verizon Up members last year.
After sitting out the Super Bowl last year, Verizon’s ad was part of a strategy that also included a weeklong collaboration with the Sphere and exclusive VIP experiences with partners such as Netflix Max, Apple Music and Uninterrupted, the athletic apparel brand co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
Verizon aims to differentiate itself from competitors like T-Mobile during the Super Bowl by emphasizing its roots in technology and the connectivity and access it provides to fans, according to Kristin McHugh, chief brand officer at Verizon. Its 5G durability, in this case, is mean to be the star of the show.
“The ads will showcase the reliability and performance of our network, and will be on CBS and Univision,” McHugh said prior to the Super Bowl. “We are very proud to be in the first Spanish-language broadcast this Super Bowl.”
Verizon last aired an ad during the Big Game in 2022, when Jim Carrey reprised his Cable Guy role. The spot ranked 16th on the USA Today Ad Meter. Last year, Verizon aired an ad immediately after the Super Bowl.
For the latest Super Bowl 58 advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out ADWEEK’s Super Bowl 2024 Ad Tracker and the rest of our stories here. And join us on the evening of Feb. 11 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials.