Game apps provide IT highlight of Super Bowl advertising
Posted on
February 3, 2015
Liam Neeson trumps Kate Upton when it comes to IT-related Super Bowl ads.

We don't generally think of football and information technology as having that much in common. There's the whole jocks vs. nerds thing, for starters. And, well, did we mention the jocks vs. nerds thing? It's not, however, a never-the-twain shall meet situation. Once a year, the Super Bowl brings football and IT together, along with the rest of humanity (at least in the United States).

Some of the most memorable Super Bowl ads have been technology ads. Google, for example, which probably didn't need to let on, circa 2010, that you can use it to find stuff on the internet, aired an ad that subtly conveys that Google search is so powerful you can even use it to find true love. And there's that classic Monster ad about the jobs kids always dreamed of growing up to fill.

In 2015, the Big Game had the usual array of tech-themed ads, including some that only tangentially blipped on the IT radar — BMW's ad featuring Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel is selling a car, but includes a smashing clip of Gumbel and Couric bumbling through an introduction to the concept of e-mail in 1994. (Apparently they weren't early adopters.)

The internet had a behind-the-scenes role in two other ads that have streamed online for month at sites like Hulu. Geico didn't add anything to the advance exposure for its weak tea, exceedingly on-the-nose Salt-N-Pepa reunion clip (the lawn mower gag at the end is particularly limp). Credit card purveyor Discover, on the other hand, played on viewers' familiarity with its surprise party ad to pop an all new surprise with special replacement footage.

The real tech winners of the night, however, were game apps, specifically epic fantasy war game apps. The clear loser in what turned out to be a three-way struggle is fantasy adventure game app Heroes Charge, which contented itself with showing a few clips of game play and having a generic narrator invite viewers to, "Download Heroes Charge now." Seriously? Why even show up? Especially when you see the heat the competition is packing.

Game of War aired one of several clips filmed with Sports Illustrated spokesmodel Kate Upton. Upton is not, as fate would have it, wearing the oft-derided chain-mail bikini of many a fantasy-themed comic book or role-playing module, instead getting an upgrade to a, hmm, would you call that a plate-metal bustier? We're betting the Game of War app gets a little more postgame attention than Heroes Charge.

The clear winner, however, featured a surprise actor who's stunned to find himself on the losing end of a Clash of Clans attack, despite what we're sure is a very specific set of skills at marshaling digital minions and preparing imaginary fantasy medieval defenses. Don't think you can just mess with Angry******52 and not suffer any consequences. (Bonus: Hilarious pronunciation lesson.) (Double Bonus: A final chortle at the expense of Angry******52.)

Don't make Angry******52 angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

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