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‘Make noise’: How Tubi’s disruptive Super Bowl ad happened

Tubi caused many of the 113 million US viewers watching the Super Bowl Sunday night to frantically search for their TV remote. The ad-supported streaming platform’s fake-out ad simulated a connected TV (CTV) platform exiting the big game, scrolling to Tubi, and opening the app.

“Disrupt, make noise, get people talking about Tubi the next day.” That was the goal for the campaign, said Greg Hahn, co-founder and chief creative officer of Mischief, the agency behind Tubi’s “interface interruption” and “rabbit hole”-themed Super Bowl ads.

  • Disrupt: Tubi’s ad was fundamentally risky. It hinged on viewers being familiar with CTV interfaces and recognizing that what they were seeing really was an ad.
  • Make noise: Good Super Bowl ads get social media buzz, and Tubi’s campaign did just that, with viewers sharing TikToks and memes about being tricked by the spot.
  • Get people talking the next day: By leveraging banner ads on smart TVs, Tubi made sure its ad wasn’t just a single hit, but a coordinated campaign pointing potential viewers toward the platform.

Tubi or not to be: The commercial itself didn’t explain much about what Tubi is, besides offering a product demonstration for viewers who weren’t desperately searching for the remote. But Tubi followed it up with banner ads the next day to keep viewers engaged.

“I’ve got a lot of people going, Tubi just magically appeared on my TV,” said Hahn, pointing toward banner ads Tubi ran on smart TVs Monday morning. “It’s the first thing you see.”

Super Bold: “[The Super Bowl] is kind of a rare opportunity to see what happens when everyone is watching the same thing and reacting at the same time,” said Hahn. With that in mind, Tubi needed to stand out.

  • Tubi’s total digital ad revenues make up just 0.3% of total US digital ad spend, according to our forecast.
  • At $830 million in spend, the platform will pull in less than a third of ad-supported video rival Roku’s $2.56 billion this year.
  • “We're not going to advertise the way normal streaming services do, which is titles and all these prestige brands that they have,” said Hahn.

What does this mean for marketers and brands beyond the big game? Take the risk.

  • Find creative ways to disrupt, playing off an ad’s specific platform or format the way Tubi and Mischief did with CTV.
  • A single ad should be one of many touchpoints. Not every spot needs to do everything, but campaigns should work together to pull potential consumers into the fold.
  • Going big doesn’t mean blowing the budget on celeb partners. In a star-studded Super Bowl ad landscape, Tubi stood out with a simple, well-executed concept.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.