Microsoft airing commercial with ALS-inflicted former NFL player as first national Super Bowl ad

Microsoft plans to air its first nationally televised Super Bowl commercial when the Denver Broncos take on the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday, an ad that will feature several people using Microsoft products, including former NFL player Steve Gleason, whose career was cut short by ALS – a disease more commonly referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease."

According to a report by The Seattle Times, company representatives said the commercial "would be a 60-second ad featuring people using Microsoft products." Gleason will be one of those people, the news outlet reports, though it didn't say if any other Microsoft product users who will be featured in the commercial have been revealed. Microsoft posted the video above, called "No White Flags," about Gleason's use of a Surface Pro tablet to use eye-tracking software that allows him to communicate with friends and family.

Parts of "No White Flags" will be used in Microsoft's Super Bowl commercial, The Times reports, though it's not clear if Gleason will be the focus or if it will be evenly spread with other Microsoft users.

Luckily for Microsoft's board of directors, they'll be able to see the commercial live, as Re/code reports the board members will meet this weekend to discuss their CEO search, though they'll take a break to watch the Super Bowl. Microsoft is heavily connected with the Seattle Seahawks, as the company's headquarters is located in nearby Redmond, Wash., and company co-founder Paul Allen owns the team. Ryan Asdourian, a communications manager at Microsoft, is also the Seahawks mascot, Blitz.

Update: Microsoft has published its Super Bowl commercial, seen below.

Source: The Seattle Times

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17 Comments

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It was awesome to see Steve Gleason in there. Microsoft just won New Orleans. Steve is considered a hero. There is a bronze statue of him behind the SuperDome.

WHODAT!!

BrainDedd said,
Shouldn't this read afflicted and not inflicted? Inflicted implies that someone did this to him?

That someone is "god". He is quite evil.

tanybeen said,
Is eye-tracking technology accurate enough that can actually allow you to use a keyboard? I'm very impressed!

Did you miss the whole google glass thing or...?

Why? Can you control the user interface with eye movements on Google glass? The one time I tried it (many months ago), you actually had to do gestures with your fingers to control the UI.

Just saw this on Facebook. Can't wait to see people claiming this as a shameless advertisement of the Surface, even though you can clearly see Chrome at one point on the tablet's display.

Gornot said,
Just saw this on Facebook. Can't wait to see people claiming this as a shameless advertisement of the Surface, even though you can clearly see Chrome at one point on the tablet's display.

Yep. At 1:08 Chrome is open with multiple tabs. Apparently, Microsoft marketing wants to sell Surface Pro's and doesn't really care which free browser is featured on the device. Wise move.

also the browser might be free - IE is linked to Bing and Chrome to Google.com... do you think Microsoft likes having other browsers on their system because "they are free"

Honestly, exactly after seeing Chrome, my first thought was that Microsoft was not exactly creating the ad because of the Surface, but the actual technology they offer, as well as their image. The actual name of the tablet is only mentioned once I think, and there are absolutely no details presented on what exactly it offers.

-adrian- said,
also the browser might be free - IE is linked to Bing and Chrome to Google.com... do you think Microsoft likes having other browsers on their system because "they are free"

I have Chrome installed as my secondary browser. The first thing I do is change the search engine to Bing. As long as there's no hard-coded link between browser and search engine, it doesn't matter. Browsers are not revenue generators.