John Krasinski Tries to Save the World In Amazon Prime Video’s First Super Bowl Ad

The 60-second spot for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan will air right after the halftime show

The Super Bowl spot for Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan kicks off a seven-month marketing campaign for the series, which debuts Aug. 31. Amazon Studios
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Alexa won’t be the only big Amazon brand featured in Super Bowl LII. In addition to a 90-second Amazon ad airing in the fourth quarter, the company has also purchased a 60-second ad to spotlight its upcoming Prime Video series, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. It will be the first Super Bowl spot for the streaming service.

The eight-episode thriller, which premieres Aug. 31, is based on the Tom Clancy novels and stars John Krasinski as a rising CIA analyst. In the first season, he embarks on his first field assignment, cracking a terrorist communication pattern that ends up becoming a global threat.

The 60-second spot for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan will air right after the Super Bowl halftime show. It features action-heavy footage from the show’s first season, and audio from several presidents—John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump—talking about the importance of fighting for liberty and freedom. The ad is set to a cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” performed by Devlin and featuring Ed Sheeran.

“Our customers love Tom Clancy novels, and we figured, what better way to introduce this new Prime original series to a global audience than with a big, 60-second spot in the Super Bowl?” said Mike Benson, head of marketing, Amazon Studios.

The Super Bowl spot kicks off the marketing campaign for the show, which doesn’t premiere for seven months, but the company wanted to “build anticipation,” said Benson.

This is the first TV iteration of Jack Ryan, who has been played in films by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger), Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears) and Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).

Amazon opted for a 60-second Super Bowl spot instead of a 30-second one because “we wanted to tell a bigger story” while establishing Krasinski in the role, said Benson. “We wanted to present a story that represented the series in a new, but also familiar, way,” he explained.

The spot, which was created in-house by Amazon with help from L.A. trailer houses, incorporates the “All Along the Watchtower” cover, along with the presidential soundbites that “reinforce our American values and the fight for liberty of freedom,” Benson added. “That’s really what Jack Ryan is all about.”

The ad “also demonstrates for our customers that there’s so much more to Prime than just fast, free shipping,” said Benson. “As much as this is an ad for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, it’s also really an ad for Prime.”

While Jack Ryan includes many of the characters from Clancy’s novels, it places them in an original, modern storyline not connected to any specific book. The series is from Lost and Bates Motel executive producer Carlton Cuse.

Amazon will also air a 90-second spot during the fourth quarter featuring CEO Jeff Bezos. A 30-second teaser released last week imagines what would happen if Amazon’s Alexa lost her voice. While separate creative teams worked on each ad, Amazon negotiated for both spots jointly with NBC Sports’ ad sales team.

Last year, streaming competitor Hulu ran its first Super Bowl spot for its original series, The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu will return to the Super Bowl for the second straight year, but it hasn’t yet revealed whether Sunday’s ad will spotlight a specific series or its overall brand.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.