Many companies’ ads are taking the comedic route this year at the Super Bowl, but during Sunday’s game, Microsoft is going straight for the heart.
In their new Super Bowl ad, Microsoft is determined to prove that everyone can win. The commercial is all about the new Xbox Adaptive Controller, which is designed for gamers with disabilities. The controller has two large programmable buttons and 19 jacks, according to The Verge, that allows it to be connected to various accessories to make Xbox and PC gaming more accessible to everyone.
The Verge notes that even the packaging for the controller is “designed to be as accessible as possible.” They go on to write, “It’s less about selling the Xbox Adaptive Controller to new audiences, and more of a method of tugging at the heartstrings to show that Microsoft isn’t just a giant corporation.”
The spot, which runs two minutes, tells the stories of many young gamers with disabilities. It centers on 9-year-old Owen, and chronicles how the Adaptive Controller has improved Owen and other children’s overall gaming experience.
In an interview with Ad Week, Kathleen Hall, Microsoft’s corporate VP of brand, advertising, and research, said, “Our intent with our ads is to illustrate a product and a human truth and deliver on our mission of empowering every person and organization on the planet to achieve more… In this instance, the Xbox Adaptive Controller helps the children enhance their gaming experience and compete in new ways. What better message for a premiere sporting event?”
This year, it costs around $5.25 million to air a 30-second Super Bowl commercial. Microsoft’s spot is set to air during the fourth quarter’s first commercial break.
The ad begins with Owen sharing, “It’s difficult for me to use both joysticks and the D-pad at the exact same time.” But with the Adaptive Controller, as Owen notes, “Everyone can play.” Taylor chimes in, “I don’t even have to look at the controller and I can just be looking at the screen!”
Owen’s father then says, “One of the biggest fears, early on, is how will Owen be viewed by the other kids? He’s not different when he plays.”
As Ad Week notes, the commercial’s sentiment aligns with the company’s November ad, “Reindeer Games”, which also features Owen, who has a congenital condition called Escobar Syndrome. Both this ad and the Super Bowl ad run with the tagline, “When everybody plays, we all win.”