YouTube’s Super Bowl halftime show focuses on creators and fake ads

The focus is on creators and fake ads.


Rae Votta


Published Feb 1, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 3:43 pm CDT

If you’re only watching the Super Bowl for the ads, YouTube is hoping you’ll double down with their interactive halftime programming centered around the creation of iconic and amusing faux commercials.

This year, YouTube Space L.A. is partnering with AdBlitz and the Collective Digital Studio to produce its own alternative halftime show featuring YouTube stars like Epic Meal Time‘s Harley Morenstein and Rhett of Rhett and Link, among others.

“As a home for creators at YouTube, AdBlitz is something we really appreciate,” Liam Collins, head of YouTube Space L.A., told the Daily Dot. “It’s a celebration of the creative and the people behind that creative. Even before we opened the Space, we helped out the AdBlitz team. This year as it was coming together we wanted to add a little bit more to it. In the Space, we love to experiment around content and do things that haven’t been done before. So they said, let’s try this experiment where we have our own halftime show tied to AdBlitz and celebrate the experience of making promotional videos and advertisements.”

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To achieve that goal, Morenstein has produced several lead-up videos where he learns the playbook of a successful Super Bowl ad, from talking babies to adorable animal friendships to hot women. He’ll enlist YouTube friends during the live experience to take what he’s learned and put it into action with stunts, music, and interactions with a live audience inside the studio or at home using the hashtag #AdBlitz.

It’s a pretty safe bet that YouTube fans are invested in watching ad-based content, even if those ads are jokes. More than 6.3 million hours of Super Bowl ads were viewed last year on YouTube, enough time to fly from Phoenix to the moon and back 87,500 times, or listen to official halftime show performer Katy Perry‘s hit “Roar” 84 million times. For Collins, the YouTube halftime show is not a ploy to drive viewers away from the actual game and its advertisements or counter-programming like the infamous Puppy Bowl. Collins wouldn’t even characterize their show as counter-programming in the traditional sense.

“It’s really meant for that viewer who has that appreciation or curiosity for YouTube, and is probably already watching the game and wants to take a few seconds off,” he explained. “Or is on the second screen; the game is going, and this will be complimentary to what they’re doing already. We’re trying to bring the audience even more experiences, instead of being where they have to choose one or the other programs.”

The idea of complimentary programming is something YouTube Space L.A. supports, and while the team there champions other people’s activities in the space— like the Young Turks’ Game of Thrones live-reaction programming—their ultimate goal is not to be programmers but inspiration for creators. 

“Our goal is to try and create a spark with creators who work here and let them take it and run with it,” explained Collins. “More often when we do an event like this, we hope that others will borrow our idea and do this on our own. I’m sure we’ll try stuff like this in the future, but more often than not we don’t want to be the programmer. We want to show people that something cool can happen and inspire them to do it for themselves.”

Fans can tune in to the live Super Bowl halftime show on the AdBlitz channel. While they’re waiting, they can watch the best of real creative ads and teasers for upcoming ads, as well as the fake ones.

Screengrab via AdBlitz/YouTube

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*First Published: Feb 1, 2015, 12:00 pm CST