In Verizon’s Super Bowl Ad, 5G Takes a Back Seat to First Responders

The commercial is narrated by Harrison Ford

firefighters fighting an inferno
Verizon is once again highlighting the work of first responders in its Super Bowl ad. Verizon
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Verizon has opted to highlight what 5G will “never do” in its Super Bowl ad, in a bid to make a point about the important and often lifesaving work that first responders do every day.

Narrated by Harrison Ford, the 60-second spot starts off by showcasing a few of 5G’s capabilities, like the fact that it can help firefighters see through smoke via innovative technology and provide rescuers with new tools to locate survivors.

Yet despite its potential, the commercial is quick to note that, in many cases, 5G is rendered useless without the courage and bravery of those who use it to help others. For instance, Ford states that 5G won’t “have any impact on what’s required to put others’ lives before your own” or “substitute for compassion.”

The ad was created in partnership with McCann New York, and the song featured in it is River Cross by Pearl Jam.

“At a moment when consumers are wary, wondering who they can trust, we wanted to focus on the notion of reliability with our Super Bowl campaign,” said Diego Scotti, chief marketing officer at Verizon, in a statement. “First responders rely on us to provide technology that helps them do their jobs, and we rely on their bravery and commitment every day.”

In addition to in-game ad, Verizon is running another commercial after the game ends. Narrated by former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the spot encourages viewers to give back and volunteer in their communities on Sundays now that football season is over.

The spot aligns with Verizon’s goal of committing 2.5 million employee volunteer hours by 2025.

Over the weekend, Verizon also started running online ads that star comedian and actress Jenny Slate. The spots comedically take a swipe at T-Mobile by claiming that, at least in New York City, Verizon’s 4G is actually better than its rival’s 5G.

Since returning to the Super Bowl in 2018 after a six-year hiatus, Verizon has used its airtime to position itself as the preferred network of first responders. Last year, one of its game day spots featured an emotional reunion between Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn and the people who saved his life following a car accident in 2005.

During this year’s NFC and AFC championship games, the brand aired two spots that explained how Verizon’s 5G helps first responders do their jobs even better.

CREDITS: 

Client: Verizon
Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer
Andrew McKechnie, Chief Creative Officer
John Nitti, Chief Media Officer
Kristin McHugh, VP Brand Development
Andrew Shafer, Marketing Director Brand
Jessica Sobel, Marketing Manager Brand
Brendan O’Malley, Broadcast Production Manager

Agency: McCann New York
Thomas Murphy, Co-Chief Creative Officer
Dan Donovan, EVP Deputy Chief Creative Officer
Matthew Curry, EVP Deputy Chief Creative Officer
Cam Hoelter, Execuitve Creative Director
Jim Hord, Executive Creative Director
Kieth Ross, Creative Director
Scott Higgins, Creative Director
John McAdorey, SVP Executive Producer
James Lawson, Producer
Debbie Gleason, Senior Business Manager
Debbie Myllek, Senior Talent Manager
Dominic Whittles, EVP Executive Account Director
Alex Caredes, EVP Executive Account Director
Rebecca Ginsberg, SVP Group Account Director
Jane Huh, Account Director
Katelyn Diekhaus , Account Supervisor
Anne Denny, Project Management Director

Arts and Science
Mark Dowley
Sue Cole
Felicia Alston

Production
Division 7
Kris Belman, Director
Patrick Milling-Smith, Co-Founder
Brian Carmody, Co-Founer
Kamila Prokop, Co-Managing Director
Alex Hughes, Head of Production
Jon Dawes, Producer

Editorial
Cosmo Street
Craig Deardorff, Editor
Alex Mihailovic, Assistant Editor
Anne Lai, Producer


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@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.
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