Super Bowl

T-Mobile's Mystery Super Bowl Star: Steve #Ballogize Harvey

Comedian Thankful He Doesn't Have to Apologize This Time

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T-Mobile last week unveiled one of its Super Bowl ads, leaving the rest of its Super Bowl plans a mystery until tonight's kickoff in the hopes of generating some anticipation.

The carrier's other ad ran in the second quarter, and starred Steve Harvey, who infamously crowned the wrong contestant Miss Universe recently.The ad is both a play on that gaffe and a nod to recent ads that the telecom has been running in response to a recent Verizon ad called "A better network as explained by colorful balls."

The end of the ad shows a hashtag #ballogize, yet another nod to the balls ads that T-Mobile and Verizon (and AT&T, too) aired, and also a nod to Mr. Harvey's apology to Miss Colombia for accidentally crowning her the winner, when he should have crowned Miss Philippines, the actual winner.

Mr. Harvey alluded to T-mobile by using the #ballogize hashtag before kickoff, but did not directly mention the carrier. T-Mobile's ad featuring Mr. Harvey aired in the second quarter.

T-Mobile, for its part, worked with Mr. Harvey to supplement the hashtag with GIFs and memes on Twitter and Facebook, said Peter DeLuca, senior VP-brand and advertising at T-Mobile, related to various happenings on the field in real time, like a missed field goal, for instance.

Mr. Harvey will appear in the GIFs but will also take over the T-Mobile Twitter feed for part of the game.

The carrier last week unveiled a 30-second spot featuring Drake, but on Friday confirmed it would instead run a longer 60-second verision of the ad after CEO John Legere polled his Twitter followers on whether they prefer the longer version, which was debuted on Instagram last week.

"The most important thing as we approached the Super Bowl has been thinking about social engagement, and what we want more than anything is to keep people talking," said Mr. DeLuca. "Each ad is a little different, but both are about their talkability and engagement."

The Drake ad will also have supplemental content featuring the lawyers, who play the foils in the spot. After that spot airs in the fourth quarter, content will be shared on social channels with the hashtag #carrierlogic.

The agencies behind the effort are Publicis Seattle, the company's lead agency, and digital agency MRY.

T-Mobile is no stranger to using celebrities in its Super Bowl spots. Last year its ads featured Kim Kardashian in one ad and Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler in another. The eyar before that, the ad starred Tim Tebow.

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