Jack Ryan, the hero of Tom Clancy’s best-selling spy novels, has saved the world and thwarted U.S. enemies countless times over. Now he has an entirely new mission.
Amazon will run a 60-second commercial just after halftime during NBC’s Sunday broadcast of Super Bowl LII to tout a new series about the celebrated character. With the network seeking more than $5 million for 30-seconds of ad time during the event, it’s no small expenditure, even for the online-retailing giant.
“There’s so much value in being able to reach an audience that is this global and this broad,” says Mike Benson, head of marketing for Amazon Studios, in an interview. “‘Jack Ryan’ is a series that both men and women can and will watch, and the Super Bowl is a big, unique event in which the ads are as important, sometimes more important, than the game itself. This is an important series to us, and we wanted to be there.”
The commercial is designed to make plain to viewers that the series is a new, and represents a starting point for the character, who has been played in past movies by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck. Amazon was eager to show actor John Krasinski in the title role, says Benson, and also “demonstrate the scope and the scale and production quality of the show.”
Amazon has appeared in the Super Bowl in the past, but never for its Prime Video service. The company, says Benson, intends to demonstrate that subscribing to the service gets customers more than a discounted shipping rate – like original video series.
Amazon intends to launch “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” over Labor Day weekend, making the first cycle of the series available on August 31.
Amazon Prime’s appearance during the game is the latest example of a TV network selling some of its most valuable ad time to a competitor who seeks to woo the very people tuning in to such NBC mainstays as “This Is Us” and “Saturday Night Live.” In 2010, for example, CBS sold a 30-second spot in the Big Game to Time Warner-owned TruTV. Netflix last year unveiled a trailer for the fan-favorite series “Stranger Things.”
The company bills the series as having an original storyline while maintaining the fan-favorite characters. The series centers on up-and-coming CIA analyst Ryan, who is thrust into a dangerous field assignment for the first time. The one-hour, eight-episode dramatic series also stars Wendell Pierce as James Greer and Abbie Cornish as Cathy Mueller.
The commercial will seem much like a movie trailer, Benson said, and is set audio from historic political figures, including John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Donald J. Trump, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan. Audiences will also hear a new version of the iconic Bob Dylan song “All Along the Watchtower” performed by Devlin featuring Ed Sheeran.
Carlton Cuse is executive producer and showrunner of the series