How AI Showed Up in Ads During Super Bowl 58

Despite having its moment, 2024 is not the year of the Super Bowl AI

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Themes surrounding artificial intelligence such as AI-driven product launch or ads created with the help of gen AI, and at least one poking fun at the technology, emerged throughout the Super Bowl this year.

For example, ahead of the Super Bowl, tech giants such as Microsoft released its Copilot AI ad while Google’s ad, “Javier in Frame” for its AI-powered Guided Frame feature in Pixel 8 spoke about the smartphone’s accessibility features.

Elsewhere, mainstream brands like Avocados From Mexico leveraged a multimodal AI tool called GuacAImole that uses text and image recognition and generation to create guacamole recipes.

Still, contrary to the surge of crypto commercials during the 2022 Super Bowl, which dubbed the event the “Crypto Bowl,” industry experts suggest the reality falls short of actual AI-led ads this Super Bowl despite the AI hype. Super Bowl remains the biggest night for advertisers and brands are far from willing to gamble their reputation on a spot—with a price tag of whooping $7 million for 30-second ad—generated by gen AI tools such as ChatGPT. Still, AI waxed and waned during the big game as brands positioned the technology in a positive light with the intention to drive top of funnel metrics for some while ultimately getting people to interact with its AI tool for others.

“Despite heightened interest and anticipation for AI in marketing and advertising, there’s a notable scarcity of actual AI-led ads this year,” said Graham Page, global managing director of media analytics, Affectiva. “Many advertisers, although heavily experimenting with AI, may not currently view the Super Bowl as the ideal testing ground due to potential unexpected errors. This scarcity contrasts with the undeniable fact that AI is being used in ways that are less obvious to viewers throughout the Super Bowl.”

AI as positive catalyst

Contrary to ads brimming with humor or celebrities, some brands pitched AI as enabler during the Super Bowl.

For example, Etsy’s 30-second ad debut showcased its new AI feature fueled by OpenAI’s GPT4—Gift Mode—clubbed with human curation to help shoppers select gift.

The brand’s strategy lied in shifting consumer perspective of Etsy from a holiday-only brand to a go-to platform of all-occasion shopping, taking it beyond brand awareness, Etsy vp of brand marketing and communications Brad Minor previously told ADWEEK.

Similarly, tech giant such as Microsoft’s ad focuses on the idea of using Copilot as a creative tool to push boundaries that empowers people. To that, Google’s AI-powered Pixel 8 ad reveals how AI helps blind people take photos.  

“In the Super Bowl content landscape, there’s an opportunity to reframe AI as a positive catalyst for creativity and engagement,” said Page. “Rather than speculating on any perceived intrusiveness, there’s potential to focus on AI’s possible role in crafting compelling narratives and enhancing viewer experiences. This approach emphasizes AI as a potentially invaluable tool for marketers, fostering a forward-looking and innovative perspective.”

Drive brand awareness

Meanwhile, cybersecurity company Crowdstrike’s 30-second ad spot, called ‘The Future’ ran during the two-minute warning before half time showcased how it uses AI for security. The brand portrayed its gen AI security analyst Charlotte AI in the ad.

“The Super Bowl is an opportunity to bring the conversation of cybersecurity to a mainstream audience,” CrowdStrike’s chief marketing officer, Jennifer Johnson, told ADWEEK. “This is a core part of how we are driving awareness and demand top of the funnel.”

Elsewhere, brands such as Bodyarmour’s regional Super Bowl commercial tapped into the unnerving and creepy imperfections of AI by using AI-generated artwork in its ad. The Coca-Cola owned sports drink showcased scenarios of athletes with disproportioned body parts and unusual scenarios of shooting football into basketball hoops ultimately drawing out that artificial is not a substitute to for real.

Ultimately, marketers are utilizing gen AI to aid with creating emotionally resonant ads, or to pretest audience reactions to commercials, said Page.

“This shift is indicative of AI’s increasing prominence, seamlessly weaving into the fabric of business, pop culture, and beyond, enhancing the overall Super Bowl experience,” he added.

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