H&R Block’s Futuristic Super Bowl Spot Shows Off IBM Watson’s Tax Skills

Ad debuted for the first time during tonight's game

The spot is voiced by H&R Block spokesman Jon Hamm. - Credit by H&R Block
Headshot of Christine Birkner

After having a rough tax season last year, H&R Block has changed its brand positioning to compete with competitors like TurboTax. Its new partnership with artificial intelligence platform IBM Watson is part of that positioning, and its Super Bowl spot, which the brand waited to debut until tonight’s game, highlights that partnership.

The 60-second ad, “Future,” by Fallon in Minneapolis, is voiced by H&R Block spokesman Jon Hamm and includes the brand’s current tagline, “get your taxes won.”

Differing from the funny tone of the brand’s current Hamm spots, this one takes a more dramatic tack, with Hamm touting Watson’s role in helping doctors fight disease, predict weather patterns, and now, improve H&R Block’s tax preparation services. Watson will be used to help H&R Block’s tax professionals find more tax credits and deductions for customers this tax season.

It’s H&R Block’s first appearance in the Big Game since 2009. The brand decided not to release the ad ahead of the game to build more suspense for it, said H&R Block CMO Kathy Collins.

“It’s against the norm, but we decided that this is a bold announcement and we wanted to keep it under wraps until we had the biggest audience possible,” Collins said.

@ChristineBirkne christine.birkner@adweek.com Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.
Publish date: February 5, 2017 https://dev.adweek.com/brand-marketing/hr-blocks-futuristic-super-bowl-spot-shows-off-ibm-watsons-tax-skills/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT