Note to streaming services: Having your parent company host the Super Bowl is a very good thing.
Fox’s free, ad-supported streamer (FAST) Tubi had an outsized presence during Super Bowl LVII.
That was in part because it was able to run three ads that would normally have cost many millions, and in part because one of them succeeded in freaking out many of the game’s viewers.
Just as it appeared that Fox Sports announcers Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen were resuming coverage of the game, Tubi's 15-second “Interface Interruption” spot (below) pranked viewers into thinking that their TV screens had been taken over by someone using the remote to scroll through Tubi’s library.
The ad — along with Tubi’s other two spots — were created with the streamer’s creative agency of record, Mischief @ No Fixed Address.
While many viewers posted “complaints” on social — like “Tubi should be SUED for that commercial” — they were mostly good-natured. “Tubi had us all looking for the remote,” and “Tubi commercial had me thinking I was sittin on the remote LMAO” were typical.
That dynamic won praise from a number of creative types, including Lizzy Bilasano, vice president creative strategy at the Whalar agency.
Overall, the game’s ads did not stand out as “tremendously” creative, and in many cases had already been previewed, so they failed to make those in the room stop scrolling on their second screens, Bilasano pointed out to The Drum. The Tubi “interrupt” ad was the only one that did catch people's attention, by causing chaos, she said: “Those 15 seconds demanded more attention from the room than any of the star-studded, heartstring-tugging ads of the night. People are still talking about how the ad ‘got them good.’ Clever and successful.”
Tubi CEO Nicole Parlapiano and the Tubi team “came to us with a unique brief for the streaming sector: Reveal Tubi to the world, personality-first. Not title-first,” said Greg Hahn, co-founder and CCO at Mischief. “These spots reveal a personality we’ve had fun creating over the past few months: Quirky, playful and a bit unexpected. Tubi is poised to be the troublemaker of the streaming world.”
Tubi’s other two ads — a 60-second half-time spot dubbed “Rabbit Holes” and the fourth quarter’s 15-second “Gardener,” both featuring humans goofily dressed in rabbit suits abducting and dragging unsuspecting people into the world of Tubi’s huge content library — also drew largely positive reviews.
“In the middle of the hot content war, what made Tubi so good was its strategy,” opined Dentsu Creative Chicago Chief Creative Officer Pedro Perez. “It strategically turned the brand’s weakness — obscure content that few know — into strength: content you never knew you were missing out on. It made utilizing their brand feel campy, provocative and underground. Tubi feels like it’s for the cool ones. None of us would’ve said this going into the Super Bowl.”
The on-screen tagline in “Rabbit Holes,” “Find rabbit holes you didn’t know you were looking for,” also slyly addressed streaming users’ battle to find content they want to watch amid a plethora of options. And the spot’s premise allowed the FAST to flash images of numerous examples of its programming as people are shown falling down the rabbit hole.
Fox also leveraged the Super Bowl through a custom partnership package deal with Planters that included Tubi acting as the exclusive streaming platform for a post-game, extended 12-minute version of the nut brand’s 30-second in-game spot, “The Roast of Mr. Peanut.”
That marked the first time in Tubi’s history that an advertiser-created video has been treated as content on its platform.
The “Total Tubi Takeover” by Planters was described as “an unparalleled opportunity to drive more meaningful engagement with premium branded content” — perhaps signaling more such partnerships to come from Tubi.