AI's Super Bowl performance

February 13th, 2024

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Heyyy. It’s Tuesday, baby. And if we know one person who’s enjoying their Tuesday, it’s definitely Usher. After Sunday’s halftime performance, his Spotify streams are up 550%, and his ticket prices are up 40%. No wonder artists actually pay to do the halftime show instead of the other way around.

In other news… AI-led Super Bowl ads are a thing, Disneyland heads to the metaverse, and more Gen Z career woes.

Top Trends

YouTube → Wicked

Twitter → Lil Wayne

Google → Jack Dorsey

Reddit → Lily Gladstone

TikTok → “Yeah!”

Spotify → “Dance Alone”

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AI’s Super Bowl performance // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

How AI-led ads played at the 2024 Super Bowl

The Future. Compared to the 2022 Super Bowl, which was dubbed the “Crypto Bowl” due to its abundance of crypto ads, this year’s Big Game had fewer AI-led commercials despite the AI hype. If new technology has the potential for embarrassing mistakes, brands may avoid investing in Super Bowl ads for that tech until it’s thoroughly vetted to save money — and face.

Just don’t fumble the ads
While most brands were unwilling to gamble their reputations on $7 million commercials generated with AI tools, some still advertised the technology in a positive light, reports Adweek.

  • Etsy ran its first Super Bowl ad to promote its new “Gift Mode” tool that merges AI (OpenAI’s GPT4) with human curation to help shoppers choose gifts.

  • Microsoft advertised its new Copilot AI app (the successor to Bing Chat) as “your everyday AI companion,” a creative tool that empowers people to do more than search.

  • Google’s Pixel 8 commercial revealed how AI helps blind people take photos, while Crowdstrike’s spot, “The Future,” showcased how the company uses AI for cyber security.

Shake off the illusions
BodyArmor, the Coca-Cola-owned sports drink brand, went in the opposite direction, making fun of the unnerving imperfections of generative AI rather than trying to sell it as a “competent product.”

With every Big Game, there’s always an opportunity to market the latest technology as a catalyst for positive change, but like the BodyArmor commercial says, “there’s no substitute for real.”

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“I’m going to Disney World!” // Illustration by Kate Walker

Disneyland might be coming to the metaverse

The Future. Last week, Disney revealed its plans to acquire a $1.5 billion equity stake in Epic Games, the developer of Unreal Engine and “Fortnite.” More than just a move to populate the metaverse platform with its IP, Disney’s investment could bring a virtual theme park to fans in a way that was impossible before.

To infinity and beyond
Disney wants to share a whole new world with fans via the metaverse.

  • Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek once hinted that Disney would “become an experiential lifestyle platform [...] to embody both the physical things that you might be able to experience in a theme park and the digital experiences that you can get through media.”

  • When Apple unveiled its Vision Pro headset last summer, a sizzle reel showed the Main Street Electrical Parade and fireworks at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom brought to life in a user’s home.

  • But after failing to launch its own metaverse platform, Disney is now plugging its IP into Epic Games, which is rife with active users and committed to building an immersive virtual world that transcends gaming.

Faith, trust, and a little pixie dust
Epic Games’ metaverse platform might very well become the foundation of a virtual Disney park, reaching millions of people who will never ever be able to visit one IRL, and that’s pretty magical.

So, now we want to hear from you…


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Would you join the metaverse to check out a virtual Disney park?

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51.2% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Do you like country music?

“Not now, but I would like to enjoy listening to it in the future if this trend keeps up.”

“Our family moved to metro Atlanta from Wisconsin in the mid 90’s. I fell in love with country music and southern rap at the same time and continue to listen to both.”

“Liking the modern country music, not necessarily the old-style music.”

“There are a few good songs, but I will live happily never hearing most of them, no matter who is singing them.”

“It’s the best.”

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When work = play // Illustration by Kate Walker

Gen Zers’ whole lives are their resumés

The Future. As the first generation to grow up with social media, Gen Z has their whole lives documented online. This can ruin their professional aspirations since employers can take Gen Zers’ personal lives into consideration in the hiring process. To succeed in their careers, Gen Z may have to wipe the slate clean.

Work = play
A Greek economist listed the unique professional challenges facing Gen Z.

  • Any posts can be used against Gen Z during job interviews, especially political views that weren’t necessarily visible to employers in previous generations.

  • This hyper-visibility to employers forces young people to curate their appearance based on their career aspirations many years before they enter the workforce, which makes them grow up faster.

  • Gen Z’s social relationships are also affected by career pressures, because the social media activity of a person’s friends can include them and reflect poorly on them in the eyes of a potential employer.

Tabula rasa
The only ways for Gen Zers to insulate themselves from such consequences are to delete their early history on social media or to delete those accounts entirely. 

As if we needed another reason to ditch social media for something real.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Beyoncé announced a new album called Renaissance: Act II following a surprise Super Bowl ad on Sunday. Read More → vulture

  • Rolling Stone ranks Super Bowl ads from best to worst. Read More → rollingstone

  • The first trailer for the film adaptation of Wicked, starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande, is now available (see trends). Read More → pitchfork

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Amazon is about to become the biggest beauty retailer in the US — and that’s a bad thing for beauty brands. Read More → bof

  • Wilson is releasing a line of porous 3D-printed “Airless” basketballs for $2,500 a pop. Read More → hypebeast

  • As counterfeit luxury goods get more sophisticated, authenticators struggle to distinguish real products from fakes. Read More → vogue

Tech, Web3, & AI

In partnership with Shortform

  • A crowd destroyed an empty driverless Waymo car and set it on fire in San Francisco on Sunday night. Read More → theverge

  • Score is a new dating app for people who prioritize their partner’s credit score over key emotional attributes. Read More → techcrunch

  • Industrial robot sales dropped by 30% in 2023, suggesting that the automation boom isn’t happening quite as fast as everyone thought. Read More → techcrunch

Uncover insights without the grind. Shortform delivers the essence of 1,000+ non-fiction books with unmatched finesse. Engage with their insightful, time-saving summaries — a clever twist on traditional reading that’s as easy as a breeze. Begin a smarter, more fulfilling learning journey. Step into the world of knowledge, simplified. Annnd get a 20% discount as a TFP reader.

Creator Economy

  • Creators made bank at the Super Bowl, as YouTube and the NFL invited them to capitalize on the event, and their audiences followed. Read More → rollingstone

  • Middle-aged (and up) people can be creators too they just have to put up with more flak for doing it. Read More → siliconrepublic

  • Insider gathered data on the salaries that platforms like Discord and Patreon pay to top creators. Read More → insider

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Today’s email was written by Kait Cunniff and Luke Perrotta.
Edited by Boye Akolade.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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