Is the World Ready for RoboChild, the Unnerving Star of TurboTax’s Super Bowl Ad?

It's not like most kids. It orders kale salad

RoboChild may not understand love, but it understands the importance of a guac upgrade. TurboTax
Headshot of David Griner

Robots and kids are frequent stars of Super Bowl ads, so why not a RoboChild? That’s the unsettling creation TurboTax and Wieden + Kennedy will be introducing this Sunday in a spot that won’t debut online until after airing during the game.

In the teaser below, we see RoboChild attempting to wake his father/inventor, who appears to be sleeping in a lab. Despite not being able to physically eat, the child is oddly insistent about starting its day with a highly specific food order:

Given that this ad will be an extension of the tax service’s recent campaign, Changing the Way You Do Taxes, it’s most likely the final spot will go for dry humor rather than an emotionally wrenching roller coaster on the lines of Steven Spielberg’s AI.

Interacting with vaguely sentient tech seems to already be a theme this year, with Pringles featuring a self-aware voice assistant whose existential plight is cut short in the name of the 1979 Lipps Inc. classic, Funkytown.

You can check out previous spots from the TurboTax Live campaign below, in which three characters (whom we can likely expect to see in the Super Bowl spot) react to the service’s human-centric approach:

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."