After a rough 2016, H&R Block pulled out all the stops to win the 2017 tax season.
In addition to dealing with competitors Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax, 62-year-old H&R Block had been contending with more pressure from TurboTax and the increasingly popular strategy of do-it-yourself taxes. In 2016, the $3 billion company saw its share price drop 30%. Its stock hit a three-year-low of $19.18 in May.
So in December, the tax-service provider debuted a campaign with new spokesman Jon Hamm. Then it returned to the Super Bowl after an eight-year hiatus (see "Murray," 2009) to pitch a first-time partnership with IBM Watson.
In this spot by Fallon, H&R Block announces that it will use the tech of Watson to improve services at its 12,000 retail locations.
The Super Bowl is advertising's biggest stage for any kind of marketer, but its position early in tax season also makes it particularly suited to tax-prep marketing. Over the years it has hosted commercials from not only H&R Block but TaxAct ("Free to Pee," 2013) and TurboTax ("Love Hurts," 2014, and "Boston Tea Party," 2015).
Earlier H&R Block big-game work includes "Willie Nelson" in 2003 and "Willie Doll" in 2004.
BRAND: H&R Block
QUARTER AIRED: Q1