Why Big Tech sat out the Super Bowl

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Sometimes the Super Bowl is an action-packed fight. Sometimes, like last evening, it’s basically a snoozer, with one group controling the various other. But there’s constantly the commercials for enjoyment. It’s perhaps the one-time of year I’m not striking the Tivo fast-forward switch throughout every advertisement break.

In current years, the surge of Big Tech has actually caused a collection of unforgettable multimillion buck places in the huge video game.

Two years back, Microsoft had a sad advertisement revealing handicapped kids utilizing its flexible Xbox controller and also Google additionally had me near rips with its advertisement revealing the power of its realtime translation application. Amazon had an amusing one regarding the items that didn’t make it that year, as well.

Last year, Amazon included Ellen DeGeneres and also Portia de Rossi in a pre-Alexa globe, Microsoft took us behind the scenes with ground-breaking women NFL instructor Katie Sowers, and also Google once again snagged one of the most rips with an area regarding a guy utilizing its solution to keep in mind his partner Loretta. Facebook additionally debuted its first-ever Super Bowl advertisement, with Sylvester Stallone and also Chris Rock highlighting the varied offerings of Facebook Groups.

This year?

Google, Microsoft, and also Facebook remained. Apple was, as usual, additionally missing. And Amazon’s very attractive ad with Michael B. Jordan, launched successful, didn’t run till late in the 4th quarter when the video game was virtually over and also half the target market had actually most likely gone to sleep.

Now, there might be a number of descriptions for the lacks this year. For one, lots of huge brand names consisting of Budweiser, Coke, and also Pepsi made a decision that the middle of a recurring pandemic was not the time to invest in an expensive ad (though some associated brand names did). And perhaps we’ll listen to extra straight from a few of the technology firms if they’re asked.

But it’s additionally most likely yet one more indicator that Big Tech has actually gone from precious to unsettled.

After several antitrust claims, examinations by Congress, and also a change in public emphasis to poor actions, it was most likely difficult to warrant running feel-good commercials that would likely be viewed as negative efforts to alter the discussion. A Fortune and also SurveyMonkey poll last month located 64% of Americans anxious regarding Big Tech’s antitrust infractions and also 48% sustaining the break up of a minimum of among the firms. The issues of Big Tech in 2021 are as well huge and also as well major to laugh (or cry) off with also one of the most engaging of Super Bowl advertisements.

On the various other hand, a technology firm with maybe the most awful current attention run—Robinhood—still ran its ad with the punch line, “We are all investors.” Investors in MEMESTONKS, I presume.

Still, that left lots of space for smaller sized technology firms to split us up. In a Gen X-meets-Gen Z item, Uber Eats paired Wayne’s World duo Mike Myers and also Dana Carvey with pop celebrity Cardi B. Logitech had Lil Nas X saluting “the makers, the ground breakers, the creators.” And there was additionally the adorable place for Intuit’s TurboTax that emphasized the weird and wacky variety of tax obligation regulations in various states (do they truly tax obligation unwanted gas from cows in some states? What does that also imply?). And what regarding all those lil technology firms that squeezed in? Mercari, Fiverr, Vroom, and also Dexcom ran places. Does Oatly matter as a technology firm? Food technology? Will every one of these firms last via following year’s Super Bowl? (2020 marketer Quibi didn’t make it to this year’s video game.)

Far from technology, there were lots of amusing and also relocating places from various other brand names. One of my faves was Toyota’s commercial informing the tale of Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long. It was incredibly relocating, though absolutely nothing much to do with autos.

Ducking out of this famous place is one method for Big Tech to take care of its existing problems. Now the concern is, will they be back for Super Bowl 2022?

Aaron Pressman
@ampressman
aaron.pressman@fortune.com



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