Hulu enlisted six-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady for its fourth consecutive ad in the big game.
In a 30-second spot that aired in Super Bowl’s first quarter, Brady, the 42-year-old quarterback for the New England Patriots, nodded to ongoing speculation about whether or not he will return to the sport next season.
“They say all good things must come to an end,” Brady says in the ad, while walking into an empty football stadium. But then Brady pivots, telling fans all about Hulu’s live sports and television offerings before answering the questions on fans’ minds: “Me? I’m not going anywhere.”
Three days ago, Brady teased a big announcement during Sunday night’s broadcast in an Instagram post, a black-and-white still from the ad that had no caption. Right as the ad aired, Brady tweeted about his “important announcement.”
The ad for Hulu marks the sixth time the streaming service has run a Super Bowl ad since 2009 and the service’s fourth year in a row advertising during the game. The ad represents a pivot for the streamer’s messaging strategy, which has in the last four years centered on programming-specific messages. In 2019 and 2017, Hulu ran 30-second ads for its award-winning drama The Handmaid’s Tale; in 2018, the company promoted its mystery thriller Castle Rock.
The streaming service’s previous approach—highlighting specific upcoming shows and their storylines instead of focusing on the overall service—is one that other streamers, including Amazon Studios and Netflix, have also utilized during their Big Game advertisements in recent years. Last week, some branding and marketing experts told Adweek they expect more streamers will, like Hulu, start pivoting back to general brand-building as streaming competition gets fiercer.
The marketing shift also comes two days after the streaming service said Hulu CEO Randy Freer will exit the company. Freer’s exit, announced Friday afternoon, comes as Disney moves to integrate Hulu more deeply into its own direct-to-consumer business.
Hulu first stepped into the Super Bowl ad fray in 2009 when it aired a spot featuring Alec Baldwin showing off the service’s TV offerings as “an evil plot to destroy the world.” The service took a three-year hiatus from the Big Game before returning to the broadcast in 2012 with a spot featuring Will Arnett that was considerably similar to its 2009 creative.
This year’s Super Bowl has been particularly lucrative for Fox, which has been selling 30-second spots in the game for as much as $5.6 million, a record in Super Bowl broadcasting history. After selling out of its ad inventory in late November, Fox created another two-and-a-half-minute floating ad pod to fit five more ads into the game’s broadcast.
For all the latest Super Bowl advertising news—who’s in, who’s out, teasers, full ads and more—check out Adweek’s Super Bowl 2020 Ad Tracker. And join us on the evening of Feb. 2 for the best in-game coverage of the commercials anywhere.