The Super Bowl is not only the most important NFL game of the year, it is also the biggest night for brands to bring their most creative ads to a large television audience.
In recent years, augmented reality has also shared the Super Bowl stage, with advertisers increasingly integrating the technology into their campaigns.
For the Super Bowl LV, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs faced each other on the field, big brands leaned on AR more than ever.
Verizon, in partnership with the NFL, provided “AR holomoji,” which is volumetric video footage of players celebrating big games throughout the season. On Sunday evening Chris Godwin, the wide receiver of Buccaneers, took center stage with his AR double. The experience is available through the NFL app and is limited to Verizon 5G subscribers with an iPhone 12.
The halftime show is also a big non-football moment of the game every year. For the 2021 edition, presenting sponsor Pepsi gave fans an AR portal to experience The Weeknd’s performance at home.
Built on 8th Wall’s web-based AR platform, fans could visit the Pepsi Halftime website to access the experience through their mobile browser.
Outside the realm of pop music, Cheetos even brought AR directly into its broadcast ad. When the spot, starring Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher with singer Shaggy, ran in the second half, viewers had the option to scan their TVs with Snapchat (iOS and Android) and, thanks to Snapchat’s Shoppable AR ecommerce platform, fill in submit a form to “steal” a bag of Cheetos Crunch Pop Mix in the form of a coupon that will be sent to their home.
Since the ad was already on YouTube (and embedded at the end of this post), those familiar with how image recognition targets work could scan the ad before it aired.
Speaking of Snapchat, brands took over the lens carousel for the big game. In addition to Cheetos, the NFL, Verizon, Uber Eats, Mountain Dew and Indeed sponsored AR experiences related to the game or their marketing campaigns for the night.
Augmented reality is already popular with advertisers, but it is also a growing technology. Soon, in Super Bowl ads, it could be as common as 90s nostalgia and tear-jerks.