Super Bowl commercials — 5 of my favorite ads are all about AI

Microsoft Copilot
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Artificial intelligence is everywhere this year and the Super Bowl was no exception, with a variety of commercials featuring, about and poking fun of the technology.

Microsoft returned to advertising during the Super Bowl for the first time in four years this year with a spot about its new Copilot AI chatbot, declaring itself an AI company. We also saw spots from Google, Etsy, and even the Minions during the extravaganza all mentioning or made using artificial intelligence. 

Companies spent about $7 million for 30 seconds to drum up interest in their brand or product. It shows just how valuable AI has become in such a short period of time that a company will spend that to promote an AI feature or tool.

I have huge respect for any company trying to turn AI-generated video into a reasonable commercial spot. The technology is great but not mainstream-ready, as can be seen in the BodyArmor spot by the Coca-Cola team.

To demonstrate what can and can’t be done I even attempted to use generative AI to make my own hypothetical Super Bowl ad for a fictional product called Tom’s Soda.

1. Despicable Me 4 — Minions making AI images

Despicable Me 4 is out this summer with Gru and his yellow, banana loving mischief making minions back on the big screen. To promote the upcoming release, Illumination, the team behind the franchise, created an AI-inspired spot for the Super Bowl.

In the commercial we hear an opening similar to that of Microsoft’s Copilot spot, featuring an earnest voiceover as someone types into an AI box to generate a series of images — all of which have the usual stereotypical AI mistakes around fingers, legs and skin. 

It then cuts to an army of Minions giggling as they draw these weird creations on computers, suggesting the art is actually the creation of cute-but-evil creatures.

2. Microsoft Copilot — How AI can help

Microsoft's Copilot ad was its first at the Super Bowl in four years and firmly cements the Windows maker as an AI-driven company. It shows ways people can call on the technology to improve their lives and help them complete tasks. 

In the "Watch Me" spot we see artists, students, and others using Copilot for movie making and game development revision. 

Microsoft recently launched a paid-for version of Copilot that integrates with its 365 productivity suite including Word and Excel, ushering a new era of subscription AI tools.

3. Crowdstrike — a look at the future

CrowdStrike created a Western-themed commercial for its Super Bowl spot that was somehow set in the far future. It featured glitching holograms and was designed to promote the cybersecurity company's use of AI in protecting websites and services.

4. Body Armor — what AI can't do

For its spot, Coca-Cola-owned sports drink brand BodyArmor started the commercial with a series of AI generated video clips. In each shot you see players merging into one another and serious distortion. These are all common issues with current AI video products.

It also shows the slow-mo nature of AI video and a clearly AI voice speaking random phrases that make no logical sense. It then cuts to a more traditional sports drink ad and plays on the "real" nature of the product.

5. Google Pixel 8 — promoting framing

Not all AI is generative AI and not every AI promotion needs to be about the most cutting edge use cases. Google used its multi-million dollar spot to show the Guided Frame accessibility feature on the Pixel 8. 

This AI tool uses vision technology to alert a blind user how many faces are in the frame of the camera app and when to take the photo. The commercial shows a blind Pixel 8 user utilizing the technology to capture pictures of his family.

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