Tide used "Stranger Things" star David Harbour in a series of commercials that played off past big game ad tropes, featuring Old Spice guy -- the ad breakout of 2010 -- in one of them. Harbour also appeared in a spoof of a sexy Mr. Clean spot that was a hit in the game a few years back. (Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble owns the Mr. Clean, Old Spice and Tide brands).
Pepsi paid tribute to the pop culture touchstones it has featured in the game over the years -- a moon-walking Michael Jackson, "Back to the Future," LeBron James' Uncle Drew character and Cindy Crawford.
The one big strategic surprise on the night was from Netflix, which ran an ad announcing its expensive sci-fi feature "Cloverfield Paradox" would begin streaming after the game.
The move was a major finger in the eye to NBC, which built up the post-Super Bowl airing of an epochal "This Is Us" episode for weeks. But for $5 million a commercial, the network clearly was not going to balk at taking a competitor's money. It was also an acknowledgment that there is no way to stop shifting viewer habits from shaking the TV industry.
Investors in NBC parent Comcast who may have been concerned about the 30 seconds of black screen that came up during the second quarter of the game were told not to worry.
"We had a brief equipment failure that we quickly resolved," a representative for NBC Sports said in a statement. "No game action or commercial time (was) missed."
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