The company's Super Bowl ad was part of a broader effort that included a dozen spots in which 11 NFL players and one NFL coach reunite with the rescue workers who helped save their lives. The spots, collectively dubbed "The team that wouldn't be here," were directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights," "Very Bad Things") and were first released nearly two weeks ago, with the exception of today's ad, which debuted during the Big Game and focused on Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.
And to hear Lynn tell it, he shouldn't be alive today: "The doctor told me you're very lucky, it was a miracle"
According to news reports, Lynn was hit while crossing the street by a speeding driver who had a blood alcohol content level three-times the legal limit. The impact was so great that Lynn flew some 40-50 feet into a parked car, totaling the vehicle.
In Sunday's ad, Lynn is reunited with rescue workers such as Jim Reynolds and Craig Kelly, who helped save his life. "They said I had to have some angels with me that night to survive," Lynn tells the rescue workers. "I believe you guys are angels."
The 60-second commercial aired during the third quarter and was produced by creative agency McCann. It was also radically different than what Verizon's rivals showed. Sprint, for example, mocked Verizon and AT&T, while T-Mobile focused on freebies such as free tacos and Lyft rides through a new campaign that it showed in each quarter.
Diego Scotti, Verizon's CMO, has made including real people—whether they work for the company or are customers who use Verizon services—a key pillar in his marketing. Verizon returned to the Super Bowl last year after a seven year hiatus. "If you don't have something good to say, there is no reason to go back to the Super Bowl," Scotti says.