‘Throw the child!’ Patrick Stewart shines in amusingly dark Paramount+ Super Bowl spot

A cast of celebrities and characters return to Paramount Mountain, although this time with a comically grim twist

Published On
Feb 01, 2024
Sir Patrick Stewart in Paramount+’s Super Bowl ad

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“Throw the child.”

Every so often, an ad features a line so stirring that one can’t help but whisper it to themselves on occasion. One such ad has manifested in Paramount+’s Super Spot, in which celebrated actor Patrick Stewart looks at the cartoon protagonist of Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” and utters the phrase, “Throw the child.”

The Paramount-owned streamer’s Big Game spot finds a new cast of celebrities and franchise characters returning to Paramount Mountain—the 15th expedition to the snowy peak since the “Mountain of Entertainment” campaign first appeared in 2021. Last year’s Super Bowl, which featured a Paramount spot in which Sylvester Stallone’s face was chiseled into Paramount Mountain, saw record sign-ups for the streamer, according to Domenic DiMeglio, chief marketing officer and head of data for Paramount Streaming. This year’s rendition looks to repeat that success.

Led by agency Droga5 and directed by O Positive’s David Shane, “Hail Patrick” is perhaps the most star-studded of the series. Familiar faces featured include Stewart and Arnold as well as Drew Barrymore, “Survivor” host Jeff Probst, Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the rock band Creed, plus Peppa Pig, Dora from “Dora the Explorer,” Knuckles from “Sonic the Hedgehog” and more.

 

The bizarre array of characters are met with a challenge: A rocky cliff is halting their exploration of the mountainous landscape. Cue Stewart’s twisted idea of hurling the animated boy, called “Football Head” in his cartoon series, to the top of the cliff with a rope attached, which the others might then climb. 

Stewart is full of zingers in the two-minute commercial. When Barrymore protests the use of children as rock climbing gear, the “Star Trek” franchise star yells, “Barrymore! Shut your face!” And when Tagovailoa sensibly says he, too, is opposed to the idea, Stewart responds, “Not built for the moment, I see,” with a chuckle.

As Creed begins performing “Higher,” Stewart grasps Arnold’s oblong head and maniacally utters, “It’s the fifth quarter, and we need a hole in one before the seventh inning stretch,” before hurtling Arnold into the air. It is a grandiose effect as the cartoon character soars through the sky, and characters sing the rock anthem alongside Creed in awe.

But with a splat, Arnold faceplants into the cliffside, assuring the cast he has survived impact.

“Now if there were only someone made of pig skin,” Stewart laments, as the camera reveals a panicked Peppa Pig.

DiMeglio said the “Mountain of Entertainment” campaign has been a differentiator for Paramount+ against other streamers. While the marketing aims for goals such as awareness and cultural buzz, DiMeglio said it also serves as a reminder of content on the platform for current users who might not know a certain character or franchise is available to stream. Paramount’s sibling streamer Pluto TV is taking a similar strategy in its Super Bowl spot, which takes viewers to a bizarre couch potato farm while also displaying the content one can watch on the free service.

The spot will air during Super Bowl LVIII, which will be available to stream on Paramount+. DiMeglio said the spot is part of an expanding universe being built around the Paramount Mountain marketing, which will include a replica in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl as well as an activation modeled after a mountain lodge that will appear in ski towns and conventions such as SXSW and San Diego Comic-Con in the coming months. 

“I don't know that I would have said we would have been on No. 15 a few years ago if you’d asked me when we were coming out in that first Super Bowl,” said DiMeglio. “But I can say I feel like we’ve got several more years at least of runway in these, especially if we continue to push ourselves creatively.”