During this year's Super Bowl, Pfizer's 'Here's to Science' commercial sparked a debate regarding its reception and impact. The advertisement aimed to celebrate the scientific community and the role of science in overcoming challenges. Some lauded Pfizer's efforts to promote and inspire science, while others criticized the commercial as tone-deaf amidst an ongoing pandemic. The discussion continues, making the commercial's effectiveness a topic of interest.
A Celebratory Journey Through Scientific History
Pfizer's 'Here's to Science' Super Bowl commercial was a 60-second ad highlighting the company's role in various scientific breakthroughs, including the fight against cancer. The ad featured historical figures like Isaac Newton, Charles Erhart, Charles Pfizer, Galileo, Albert Einstein, and women scientists like Rosalind Franklin, Mary Somerville, and Marie Maynard Daly. It also emphasized Pfizer's significant contributions like the mass production of penicillin, the creation of COVID-19 vaccines, and their work on mRNA.
With a cheerful tune by Queen playing in the background, the commercial took viewers on a lip-synced journey through scientific history. It ended on an uplifting note with a scene of a young girl being discharged from the hospital, symbolizing the triumph of science over disease.
The Commercial's Aim and Reception
The ad marked Pfizer's first-ever corporate work to feature in the Super Bowl, and the company reportedly paid around $14 million for this slot. Despite laying off hundreds of employees last year, Pfizer continued to invest heavily in the advertisement to push its message.
The commercial aimed to engage the public, employees, and investors and focused on celebrating science in a fun, uplifting manner. Though it didn't mention the COVID-19 vaccine directly, it aimed to resonate with the general public by focusing on the fight against cancer. The ad ended with a toast to science and a promise to take on the next fight against cancer, directing viewers to Pfizer's cancer website, LetsOutdoCancer.com.
However, the ad's success is challenging to measure in the short term, with potential indicators including changes in the stock price, personnel retention, and increased search interest for Pfizer. The Wall Street Journal reported that brands paid roughly $7 million for 30 seconds of ad time at the Super Bowl this year, suggesting Pfizer may have paid around $14 million for the ad. Despite this, Pfizer has laid off hundreds of workers last year and continued to hand out pink slips in 2024.
A Controversial Stance
While some applauded the ad as a winning play, others viewed it as a fumble. Critics suggested that the commercial was tone-deaf given the ongoing pandemic and Pfizer's recent layoffs. They questioned the appropriateness of such a high-cost commercial at a time when the company was downsizing.
However, despite the controversy, Pfizer's Super Bowl commercial undoubtedly served to highlight the importance of science in our lives. It brought focus to the incredible scientific breakthroughs of the past, present, and potential future contributions, particularly in the field of cancer treatment. Whether this would translate into a long-term positive impact for Pfizer remains to be seen.