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Tom Brady in the Super Bowl 2020 announcement for Hulu: “I’m not going anywhere”

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Once again, Tom Brady stars in the Super Bowl, this time, without playing in the real game.

Hulu recruited veteran quarterback of the New England Patriots for a commercial that hopes to generate excitement and help distinguish it in a busy video streaming market where

Netflix Inc.,

Amazon.com Inc.

and a number of new participants also compete for subscribers.

The bleak black-and-white spot shows Mr. Brady, who at 42 has been speculated about whether he will retire or even move on to another team, walking in an empty field at his local stadium. “They say that all good things must come to an end,” says the quarterback, apparently about to announce that he is hanging after almost two decades in the league.

Bingo!

Shout it out so everyone knows you have it first.

Photo credit: Anheuser-Busch InBev; PepsiCo (2); Avocados from Mexico; Little Caesars; Kraft Heinz; Google fake images

In a classic wrong direction, Mr. Brady then turns and launches a speech on Hulu + Live TV, listing his offers that include live sports, cable channels and originals. At the end of the announcement, Mr. Brady talks about how it is time to say goodbye to television as we know it. His final words: “But me? I do not go anywhere.”

Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion who has been in the National Football League for two decades, officially becomes a free agent in March for the first time in his career. His line in the commercial was intentionally ambiguous and created specifically to help Hulu generate excitement, said Ryan Crosby, vice president of brand marketing at Hulu.

The streaming market is becoming more competitive as new players enter the arena, including Disney + and Walt Disney Co.

Apple Inc.

AAPL -4.43%

Apple TV +, which was launched last fall, and services

AT&T Inc.

T 0.51%

WarnerMedia and

Comcast Corp.

CMCSA -2.15%

Get ready to launch this spring.

Hulu, which is also controlled by Disney, was known as a destination to watch programs from major broadcast networks, but has become a bigger player in the original programming. Its Hulu + Live TV service, which offers live channels, competes with so-called skinny packages like AT&T TV Now,

Alphabet Inc.

GOOG -1.48%

YouTubeTV and

Dish Network Corp.

PLATE -0.92%

Sling TV

“The landscape of the TV broadcast is warm, to put it mildly,” said Kelly Campbell, director of marketing at Hulu. “For Hulu, this means that we not only need people to subscribe, but we need them to stay with Hulu.”

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Over the past year, Hulu + Live TV focused heavily on promoting sports in its commercials, with a campaign that featured basketball stars like Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. But the company now wants to emphasize its broader catalog of content.

Started in 2008, Hulu has accumulated 28.5 million subscribers in the US. UU., While Netflix has 167 million subscribers worldwide, including 60.4 million in the US. UU. Disney + said it attracted 10 million subscribers on its debut day in November, while Apple TV + did not disclose subscriber numbers.

Hulu was valued at $ 15 billion last year and is not yet profitable, although Disney has said that Hulu’s domestic operations would be profitable in fiscal year 2023 or 2024.

Hulu bought his Super Bowl advertising time in July and began exchanging ideas. He came up with several ideas, including the promotion of the FX Networks library, which will arrive in Hulu. Disney acquired the FX 21st Century Fox matrix last year.

Entertainment companies often use Super Bowl ads to promote individual shows and movies. An announcement by Amazon Prime Video this year was to promote the original series “Hunters,” starring Al Pacino as a Nazi hunter.

Hulu took that approach last year with a place for “The Handmaid’s Tale,” one of his original reference programs, and considered doing the same this year by promoting his highly anticipated Kerry Washington-Reese Witherspoon drama “Little Fires Everywhere,” That is debuting in March.

But this year, Hulu wanted to stand out and try something new. Discussions with Mr. Brady’s team began in November.

With approximately 100 million people tuned in, the company wanted something that was culturally relevant. “There has to be a hook that causes additional conversations,” said Mr. Crosby of Hulu.

Marketing has become an important battle front in broadcast wars. Disney, Comcast and AT&T are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising over the next year to attract streaming customers.

Hulu spent approximately $ 7.5 million instead of the 30-second Super Bowl, including airtime, talent and production, according to a person close to Hulu.

Fox Corp.,

This year’s game announcer said he sold 30 seconds of advertising time during the game for up to $ 5.6 million this year.

Father Fox and Wall Street Journal

News Corp

share common property

The Kantar ad tracker estimates that Hulu spent $ 113 million on US ads during the first nine months of 2019. Kantar estimates exclude spending on social networks.

“We have been investing more in all areas in marketing,” said Ms. Campbell of Hulu, who declined to provide Hulu advertising spending figures.

The announcement was filmed in four hours in December at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Hulu shot two finals. The one on the floor of the courtroom ended with Mr. Brady saying, “See you next season.”

Although both endings basically said the same thing, the “I’m not going anywhere” line potentially had a wider range of meanings, Mr. Crosby of Hulu said.

“What does that mean? Does it mean Tom doesn’t retire from football?” Mr. Crosby said. “Does it mean he doesn’t leave New England? Ultimately, we don’t know, but we think that makes it more fun. “

“Given the ingenious tone of the campaign, we thought it was a fun opportunity to play with all the speculation about my future,” Brady said in a statement provided by Hulu.

Write to Suzanne Vranica at [email protected]

Copyright © 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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