Matthew McConaughey Talks Salesforce Super Bowl Ad and Why He Wants to Meet With Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk

Matthew McConaughey
Courtesy: Salesforce

Matthew McConaughey had us fooled for a second.

His new commercial for Salesforce, which he co-created and premiered during the Olympics, opens with the Oscar winner in an astronaut’s suit, making the spot look like it could be a trailer for a sequel to his 2014 film “Interstellar.”

“I wanted this misdirect at the beginning,” McConaughey told me ahead of the ad playing during Super Bowl LVI on Sunday. “I wanted it to open and look very serious and in space because we’re about to pull the rug out from under you. Some people are going to think this is going to be the trailer for ‘Interstellar 2.’”

Instead, McConaughey is floating among the stars in a hot air balloon before waxing philosophically, “It’s not time to escape. It’s time to engage. It’s time to plant more trees. It’s time to build more trust. It’s time to make more space for all of us. So while the others look to the metaverse and Mars, let’s stay here and restore ours. Yeah, it’s time to blaze our trail. ‘Cause the new frontier? It ain’t rocket science. It’s right here.”

In short, McConaughey hopes the “New Frontier” spot will have consumers as well as corporate giants thinking about their value systems. “I hope they go, ‘Look, what McConaughey and Salesforce is saying, is there is a problem in society today. Our relationship with each other, our relationship with the environment is fragile, man. We got a lack of trust, we got a lack of fairness. We got a lack of sustainable innovations. We have a lack of values.

“And you know what, a lot of us are looking to escape and get the hell out of here or maybe look the other way,” he continued. “You know what? They’re right! But we can look around at our earthly challenges and look those in the eye and say, ‘Let’s handle this and restore what we got going here. We’re not ready to quit.’ Hopefully businesses will see this and are urged and nudged to make a commitment to making life here on Earth more fair, equal and sustainable.”

Let’s talk about that line about the metaverse and Mars. Have you heard from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg?

[Laughs] No, but I would love to sit down with the four of us and have a roundtable fun discussion. Look, we did that line on purpose. It’s a wink and nudge. But our campaign is not anti-technology. It’s not anti-pioneering space. It’s saying, “Hey, we have to not be so ready to quit on our home team; our home planet. We got a home field advantage, let’s take care of it. If and when we do get to space — or if the day comes when there is a great migration or immigration or travel to space — I bet Elon, Mark and Jeff would like to export a more valuable society there with people that didn’t take all the problems and angst and fear that we got right now.

I’m sure you’ve gotten offers for a lot of money to endorse different companies and products that you didn’t take. When did you first start looking at companies to make sure their values lined up with yours before agreeing to any deals?

I’ve been approached by quite a few — I won’t give any names — where I was offered a wallop of money. But they were in sectors that I know didn’t reinforce my values, but would just siphon off of my celebrity. I’m looking for restorative companies and products that can help rebuild America and mankind. Especially in the last eight years, I would say I turned away quite a few that maybe 15 years ago I would have done.

I have to ask, what’s the most money you turned down?

You could ask. [Laughs]. Let’s just say I’ve turned away more than I’m making. It’s not like everyone has to be with the Bible of McConaughey, but I want it to align with my values.

You’re talking about values, sustainability and saving the Earth. It sounds like it’s the start of a political platform. (McConaughey announced in November that he would not run for Texas governor after saying he was considering a campaign.)

These traits and their values can be acquired, and I think they should be by politicians, but values go beyond politics. This is not about the left or the right. This is more important than that. These values are an aspiration that we as humans got a capacity to do and we as America has a capacity to achieve.

You sound like you could be one of the good guys in Washington.

Maybe! Maybe! But I also don’t know. There are great constraints. It’s a certain amount of handcuffs that you got to have up there, constituencies, obligations, people fighting solely to preserve their party. Any decision you make, you inherently have 50% that like it and 50% that don’t. It’s constant negotiation. I’m a salesman more than I’m a negotiator.

This interview was edited and condensed.