This year’s Super Bowl saw Microsoft investing heavily with two 60 second spots promoting its ‘empowering’ campaign, in addition to an on-the-field sponsorship with the Surface tablet. Their best ranked ad was the heartwarming story titled ‘Braylon’. You see a young boy running happily with prosthetic legs, grateful parents close behind, all made possible through Microsoft technology. While the ad didn’t carry the typical shock-value that makes for interesting conversation the next day, USA Today ranked ‘Braylon’ 4th in the overall popularity of this year’s Super Bowl ads.
Microsoft’s history in the big game goes back only one year. In 2014 it had one 60 second spot about technology empowering humans to achieve. Among a montage of clips is a young boy running on prosthetic legs. Sound familiar? ‘Braylon’ and the empowering theme were repurposed into the ad this year. To most brands, the big game provides a once-a-year opportunity to be creative, competitive and sometimes even risky and provocative. Apple with ‘1984’ or Google with ‘Parisian Love’ demonstrated how a technology company might use the opportunity. But with repurposed content, Microsoft appears to have another agenda.