Microsoft just unveiled two Super Bowl ads, with an unusual twist — the voice of rapper Common reciting passages from speeches by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
The Redmond company previously indicated that it would air one 60-second commercial during today’s big game, but today the company revealed two spots — a marketing decision that would cost the tech giant as much as $16 million at list price.
The ads continue the “empowerment” theme that Microsoft featured in its first-ever Super Bowl commercial last year, which showed how NFL player Steve Gleason — who has ALS — uses Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet to run eye-tracking technology that allows him to speak via the computer.
Both ads are narrated by Common. In the spots, the rapper and video game fan reads actual passages from speeches delivered by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Microsoft has named Common the “voice of our empowerment campaign.”
“The real question that needs to be asked, as well as answered, is what is it that we can do, that is unique, that is impactful,” Common says in the ads, quoting from Nadella’s speech in July at the 2014 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. “We are going to empower every individual and every organization to do more and achieve more.”
He continues, “It’s this process of continuous renewal, of showing courage in the face of reality, showing that courage in the face of opportunity.”
— COMMON (@common) February 1, 2015
The first ad features Braylon O’Neill, who was born without the tibia and fibula bones on both of his legs. He’s now playing sports thanks to Microsoft technology, which helped analyze his mechanics.
The second ad features Estella Pyfrom and her “Brilliant Bus” that gives kids in underserved neighborhoods access to technology and the Internet. Pyfrom, 71, invested more than $1 million in savings to build a bus with 12 computer stations that travels to different communities and has helped more than 31,000 kids learn about reading, math, science, history, and other subjects.
“I had an idea — a bus that brings technology to kids that need it most,” Pyfrom says in the ad.
Pyfrom has a pretty awesome story which you can learn more about here.
“If you dream big enough and believe in your dreams, you can make it happen,” Pyfrom tells her students in the commercial.