The Handmaid’s Tale Super Bowl Promo Puts a Dark Spin on Reagan’s ‘Morning in America’ Ad

Season 3 of the show is coming soon

Hulu's Super Bowl ad got very political. Hulu
Headshot of Sara Jerde

That Hulu ad sounded familiar didn’t it?

“It’s morning, again in America,” said the start of Hulu’s 30-second ad during the Super Bowl today.

Of course, it’s a borrowed line from that ad—the one that got Ronald Reagan re-elected in 1984. Using similar shots and light and (at least at first) the same words from the Reagan ad, Hulu’s spot was inspired by the ad from years ago.

“Today more women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history. This year, dozens of children will be born to happy and healthy families,” the narrator in the Hulu ad states.

Hulu’s spot quickly changes tone halfway through and diverges from the ad that inspired it (an interesting creative process in itself that you can read about here).

“It’s morning again,” the narrator says, as fire fills the screen followed by snippets of the show’s third season.

“Wake up, America, morning’s over,” says Elisabeth Moss, who plays June in the series, and the camera cuts to a scene of handmaids lined up near the reflecting pool in D.C. with the Washington Monument made into a cross in the background.

The ad was intended to showcase a change in the storyline for June’s character, who ended last season on the cusp of leaving Gilead but chose to go back for her daughter.

“We started down a more idyllic world and idyllic path before displaying the reality of what’s going on,” Hulu vp content marketing Ryan Crosby told Adweek, adding, “We thought we had something really interesting to say about where this season is headed. Tonally, things are shifting.”

Crosby wouldn’t say when episodes for the third season will begin to drop, only hinting that it would be “soon.”

He also would not give any details about what that egg on Instagram might mean. Cryptically, “world_record_egg” posted a picture of a cracked egg designed like a football with a caption that read, “The wait is over” and that all would be revealed after the Super Bowl on Sunday. (In case you are not on Instagram, a picture of an egg went viral on the platform after the account “world_record_egg” implored users to double tap the picture to beat Kylie Jenner in having the most-liked post. It reached 52 million favorites.)

Crosby confirmed that the spot for The Handmaid’s Tale is the service’s only in-game ad.

The Handmaid’s Tale earned Hulu an Emmy for outstanding drama series in 2017, making it the first streaming network to do so.

This is the third straight year the streaming service is in the Super Bowl. Before placing ads that highlight programming, Hulu’s first two spots in the Big Game, in 2009 and 2012, were about the brand itself and starred Alex Baldwin.

The service took a five-year hiatus but returned to the Super Bowl in 2017 to run its first advertisement for an original series, The Handmaid’s Tale. That ad aired again later in the game and was the first overtime spot in Super Bowl history.

Don't miss the Brandweek Sports Marketing Summit and Upfronts, a live virtual experience Nov. 16-19. Gain insights from leading sports figures on how they navigated a year of upsets and transformation and what's in store for the coming year. Register

@SaraJerde Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.