Last night’s big game was part of an American institution, so it was only fitting that that majority of the ads touched on universal and traditional themes: patriotism, family, determination. And, of course, let’s not forget innovation. Mobile technologies were very much in evidence throughout the ads, though not necessarily in the ways we were expecting.
There was little of the gimmicky or envelope-pushing within the spots, no ads that asked viewers to Shazam for added content or download a new app to take advantage of a deal. Instead, mobile was integrated into the commercials in a way that suggests that smartphones and tablets are now a way of business life and not just intriguing new toys.
A few of the stand-outs:
First up, Ellen DeGeneres as a modern-day Goldilocks for music-streaming service Beats Music. Roaming a dark, surrealistic “woods” in search of the perfect dance beats, she comes across a phone running the app. A very unusual dance party ensues.
Next, action hero Jason Statham uses a tablet and Xfinity’s X-1 operating system to enjoy a little DVRed Downton Abbey while meting out justice to a gang of would-be hijackers aboard a flying plane. After jumping from the plane and plummeting into an Xfinity control room, Statham brushes the dust off his jacket, confirms that the service works as advertised, and strolls off nonchalantly.
Click here to check out the hijinks, which don’t seem to be available on YouTube.
Then there was the Microsoft ad that asked “What is technology?”
Perhaps this spot doesn’t go with others particularly well, as it focuses more on space exploration and prosthetic limbs than on everyday mobile applications. However, the spirit behind it encapsulates and explains the more explicitly mobile-related trends in this year’s ads. The Microsoft ad is about the ways in which technology – from advanced medical devices to simple wireless communications – works itself into both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of modern life.
So this year’s crop of ads seems to make it official: We are past the moment of across-the-board wonderment when it comes to mobile and into an era of integration. For those looking to create apps of their own, this shift means it might be harder to reach consumers no longer agog at the abilities of mobile. But there is good news as well. Mobile has clearly made it past the novelty stage and become a part of everyday lives and business models, so there are plenty of potential customers out there for someone with an innovative new mobile idea. So get on it.