It’s hard to find a single event with a bigger audience than the Super Bowl, which has made it one of the hottest pieces of advertising real estate anywhere. Meta went big this year with a 60 second ad spot that served to both promote VR to a national audience and solidify its rebranding from Oculus Quest 2 to Meta Quest 2.

If you were watching the Rams and Bengals duke it out during Super Bowl 56 on Sunday, you will also have been introduced to ‘Questy’s’ in an ad during the first quarter. The 60 second spot, which centered around a personified animatronic band that once played at a restaurant called Questy’s, was likely the single most expensive VR-related ad ever shown on TV to date.

The ad hinges around the tagline “Old friends. New Fun,” and featured the melancholic 1985 track Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds—making the ad seemingly designed to appeal to the Millennial demographic.

Beyond merely putting VR in front of a national audience, the ad clearly served some specific purposes for Meta.

For one, the ad further solidifies the company’s transition away from the Oculus brand and ‘Oculus Quest 2’, now bringing both the headset and the newly renamed parent company directly together under the name ‘Meta Quest 2’. Notably ‘Facebook’ was not part of the ad at all.

Image courtesy Meta

Second, the Meta Super Bowl ad subtly introduced Horizon Worlds, Meta’s social VR platform. Although this point was perhaps underserved beyond those who are already familiar with VR and Horizon Worlds, the plot of that ad was that, after getting split up, the animatronic band was able to reunite in a virtual version of the Questy’s restaurant that was built within Horizon Worlds.

Image courtesy Meta

And Meta actually built a real… virtual version of Questy’s inside of Horizon Worlds that you can visit yourself. It doesn’t really look anything like the restaurant depicted in the ad, but it’s a neat little space filled with mini games and you can even put on costumes to become the animatronic characters from the ad.

Produced in collaboration between Meta and ad agency Anomaly LA, the 60 second version that aired during the Super Bowl was chopped down from the full one minute and 46 second spot that Meta shared a few days ahead of the game (the full version is embedded further above; you can see the 60 second version here).

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And there’s a good reason they opted not to play the full one minute and 46 seconds during the Big Game. With 30 seconds of Super Bowl airtime reportedly costing upward of $6.5 million, Meta likely spent around $13 million for the 60 second ad’s single run during the Super Bowl. Had they booked the full version it may have cost nearly $23 million.

What did you think of Meta’s Super Bowl ad? Did it meet its objectives? Was it effective? Let us know in the comments below.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Lucio Lima

    Very nice! I loved it!

    • JT

      Really? Do you work for the ad agency who did it?

      • Andrew Jakobs

        I too liked it, as I really love the animatronic dog in the ad. I’d rather watch the ad a gazillion times then having to watch the boring superbowl itself.

        • Charles

          I liked it. Clearly a reference to the original Chuck E Cheese band of my childhood. Especially the keyboard – looks exactly the same.

          I strongly dislike Facebook (Meta) as a company, but I’ll admit a decent commercial when I see it.

    • Rob Walker

      As a short 60 second story, I thought it was creative and interesting, so I liked it. If I didn’t know what a Quest headset was, it would probable pique my interest to find out more, but there is clearly a lack of platform factual info. I assume they tested different adverts on a small set of likely buyers, and found this approach was the best, rather than the typical game platform advert that depicts interlaced shots of the platforms gameplay and closeups of a gamer going “Wooooooooo”!

  • Xron

    Looked nice, a bit sad its only quest 2 level, still looks not for mass consumers. Though it works, mass consumers want sleek design and fullbody tracking for 300$… Though phones they buy can be 800$+ and they change 2/3 years O.o

  • NL_VR

    strange ad.
    What they showed doesnt even excist.

  • JT

    The ad was ridiculous. I don’t know who would run out and buy a quest after seeing it. Really lame but typical of most ads these days!

  • VrManic

    WTF… so many great ways to showcase VR and this is what they show???

  • R3ST4RT

    This ad felt like zoomers trying to describe the loneliness of a group of boomers and everything getting lost in translation.

    This ad felt like the cyanide and happiness short where the guy asks for the “sad ending” when at a massage parlor.

    It generally gave the impression that VR isn’t for the masses but rather a niche product that people should use to escape their reality and pretend that their lives are better.

    It could have focused on how it can augment current reality to bring people closer. How it takes the current 3-4 generations of people and smashes them together into a fun and amazing experience.

    I have had my grandparents, parents, and kids in VR. They all love it and see the potential to bring fun and connection to their lives. And that’s without all the weird/sad emotions that this ad exuded.

    • sfmike

      Right keep blaming boomers for everything. When will you wake up to the fact that most boomers are retired now the corporate geniuses around the Meta board room table are in their 30s and 40’s. I admit we f**ked up the world big time but it’s corporate climbers your age that make the marketing decisions now and sadly risk taking is not something that is looked upon in the corporate world as valuable, Value revolves around upward quarterly profits only and nothing else.

      • R3ST4RT

        Wut?! Dude, I wasn’t blaming boomers at all. I said that this felt like zoomers trying to appeal to boomers. This had no blame on boomers what so ever.

        Check yourself lol.

  • Joey

    FFS Billion dollar company and this is the rap they make to advertise the next revolution in computing platforms that we will all be part of?

  • I’m a millenial and I found this ad cringy

  • Ad

    Everything about this was a train-wreck, making it seemingly no better to the average person than all the crypto scam ads.

  • Arturs Gerskovics

    I call it a missed oportunity

  • XRC

    Horribly depressing advertisement, surely a more positive message would actually attract paying customers?

    • T Sheehan

      Maybe a different venue (Facebook pun intended) as well.
      The Superbowl was not the right target audience platform. That’s like asking Jane Fonda to be the spokesperson for Raytheon. Hell, half the ads this year were targeting an actively hostile audience of their message.

  • Slackar

    The ad was clearly aimed at people who don’t know what VR is. The only problem – it was made by people who don’t know what VR is.

  • implicator

    Renaming themselves Meta and sweeping their old name under the rug is suspiciously similar to Blackwater renaming themselves twice. I guess that it’s for the best when it comes to PR.

    • david vincent

      Renaming your brand when you have to much skeletons in your closet is also an old tactic in politics.

  • Tailgun

    “1985 track by Simple Minds—making the ad seemingly designed to appeal to the Millennial demographic.”

    Are you fucking kidding me? You DO know there was a whole other generation between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials — and we hate them both.

    • NL_VR

      Do you mean the generation “millennials parents”?
      Maybe they dont care about themcoz they are the worst generation.

    • NL_VR

      lots of hate there, have someone mistreathed you or have you failed in life and want to blame somone?

  • sfmike

    As with most ads on TV today this all revolved around “feelings” and that’s about it. At the end the discarded furry felt good. Just like all these ads of women just sitting in their luxury cars as it makes them feel good just like the anti-anxiety pill in the next ad will. They should have shown shots of people really going at Population: ONE full of action and violence which would have resonated more with the Super Bowl audience but as usual all the usual subjects, the ad agency and the TV networks all made a fortune off this and that’s all that counts to the corporate world. Did Meta run this past a user group before taking on this big production? I doubt it as it has the fingerprints of a corporate meeting room all over it and not wanting to offend anyone, only to promote VR use to the lucrative furry market.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    I think the ad’s more fun as the boring superbowl..

  • Sven Viking

    The full version of the ad is currently at 3K likes, 7.9K dislikes on YouTube. The Super Bowl cut is more even at 929 likes and only 1.3K dislikes. (Viewable via the Return YouTube Dislike extension.)

  • Shuozhe Nan

    From all the company.. google and facebook knows prolly best what kind of ads gets the most reaction.

    And meta needs to release Horizon world globally. Wanna try the creator tools for quick prototyping

  • James Cobalt

    “The ad hinges around the tagline “Old friends. New Fun,” and featured the melancholic 1985 track Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds—making the ad seemingly designed to appeal to the Millennial demographic.”

    95% of millennials were not born when that song came out. I think you mean Gen Xers.

  • Steve Bold

    I liked the idea of the ad, but it didn’t do it’s job well as an advertisement.

    When it came on I thought “this is Willy’s Wonderland” a Nick Cage movie where the animatronics are haunted and he battles them. Pretty fun B movie.

    The ad was way too depressing. The majority of it was his sad life between the restaurant closing and going into VR. It should have been at least half in VR and more obvious what VR was and how it’s fun.

    I actually forgot the ad was about Quest until I saw this article.

  • Merzcat

    I was having a conversation about the creepy kalergi/satanic commercial they put out recently, I said basically if you were to imagine a breakthrough VR commercial you’d use images of people putting on an HMD and being transported to a fantastical futuristic world and in the commercial it would depict all the possibilities that such a technology could bring. I haven’t even bothered to watch this new commercial but I can guess what it’s about. Fuck Palmer and co for selling out. The VR industry that Oculus wanted to bring is exactly what it should have become, Meta’s vision is dumbed down politically correct truman show horseshit but I’m sure other companies will come around and carry the torch proper.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Super cute but perhaps not a very potent Quest 2 ad.