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I asked AI to recreate the best Super Bowl commercials — to hilarious and horrifying effect

AI is showing up in every facet of life in 2023, from AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT to an endless stream of image-generation tools. But I wanted to see what AI’s take would be on something iconic: the best Super Bowl commercials of all time.

The big game, one of the biggest advertising events each year, is mere days away. I pulled prompts from iconic Super Bowl ads and fed them into DreamStudio (an image generation tool powered by Stable Diffusion) and came away with equally hilarious and horrifying results.

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Apple – ‘1984’

AI-generated images for Apple's 1984 Super Bowl commercial.

Before we get to the nightmare fuel, DreamStudio produced some interesting results for Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial, which unveiled the original Macintosh computer in — you guessed it — 1984.

The Apple logo is intact in a couple of the results, but the AI still struggled to create any real words and couldn’t seem to string together “1984,” either. Also, I don’t know where the car came from; that was something the AI dreamt up all on its own.

Old Spice – ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’

AI-generated image of a man sitting on a horse.

I’ll admit, it’s tough getting a single image from Old Spice’s dizzying 2010 ad “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” Instead, I fed the AI with a reference image from the commercial of actor Isaiah Mustafa sitting on a horse.

Enticing as “bot soup” sounds, it’s tough to say the AI did a good job even with some clear reference material. It also couldn’t seem to decide what each person should hold or if they should be wearing a shirt. As the old saying goes, “Bhltty Mb a Man.”

Jeep – ‘Groundhog Day’

AI-generated images of a Jeep Super Bowl ad depicting Groundhog Day.

Assuming you didn’t think Groundhog Day references were outplayed by 2020, Bill Murray reprised his role for a Super Bowl ad with Jeep. It’s the same story you know — Murray’s trapped in an endless time loop, but this time with an orange Jeep Rubicon to spice up his days.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting these results at all. Without prompt, the AI seemed fixated on creating impossible vehicles and having them set up for sure destruction on the road. I don’t know where the Jeep monster truck in the top right image came from, either.

FTX – ‘Don’t Miss Out With Larry David’

AI-generated images of Larry David sitting in an office chair.

Think back — it was 2022, crypto was everywhere, and Sam Bankman-Fried and his company FTX weren’t wrapped up in a series of fraud lawsuits. They were different times, so different that a star as massive as Larry David appeared in a Super Bowl commercial for FTX.

Even with crypto as part of the prompt, the AI seemed much more interested in putting Larry David in an office chair than anything else. At least it was able to capture David’s skepticism in the commercial — well-found skepticism in hindsight.

E-Trade – ‘Baby’

AI-generated images replicating E-Trade's Baby commercial from the Super Bowl.

In other financial advertising, it’s hard to forget E-Trade’s “Baby” commercial, which launched an unlikely mascot for the brand that’s persisted for more than a decade. This is another one I fed with a reference image, mainly because DreamStudio rightfully doesn’t accept prompts that involve children.

They are all extremely unsettling, and I can’t pin down why. The AI create this menacing shadow in each of the images and washed out the background to create a haunting mood. To be clear, the Gordon Ramsay baby didn’t come from this prompt — it came from a different prompt while I still had this reference image plugged in — but it was too good not to include.

Amazon – ‘Alexa Lost Her Voice’

AI-generated scenes from Amazon's Alexa Lost Her Voice Super Bowl commercial.

Amazon’s “Alexa Lost Her Voice” Super Bowl ad imagined a world where Alexa couldn’t speak (a sweet relief, if you ask me) and instead was replaced by Rebel Wilson, Cardi B, Anthony Hopkins, and Gordon Ramsay. You can guess what wires got crossed with the E-Trade ads.

I think the images speak for themselves on this one. The gang’s all here — ultra-buff Gordon Ramsey cooking broccoli, Anthony Hopkins very uncomfortable in a peacock garden, and Cardi B (is that you?) walking through a closet. DreamStudio didn’t take the prompt for Rebel Wilson’s scene in the commercial, but that’s probably a good thing.

State Farm – ‘Drake from State Farm’

AI-generated images of Drake from State Farm.

I don’t know what to say anymore. I fed the AI with an exact image from State Farm’s “Drake From State Farm” ad, and it can’t make up its mind about how many apples there should be.

We go from Drake and off-brand Drake both having an apple, to a phantom hand holding another, to four apples (and a haunted glass?) floating in the air. These all seem fine, but they just get worse and worse the more you look at them.

Esurance – ‘Say My Name’

AI-generated images of Walter White standing at a pharmacy.

Leave it to AI to turn Bryan Cranston as Walter White into one of the most menacing figures I’ve ever seen. Esurance’s “Say My Name” ad showed Walter White behind a pharmacy counter. Cute, I get it.

And sure, Walter White is a menacing character in Breaking Bad, but there’s always that Cranston charm that brings up Malcom in the Middle memories to balance it out. AI doesn’t care. Walter White is definitely not giving you the prescription you came for.

Snickers – ‘Game’

AI-generated images of a Super Bowl commercial staring Betty White.

You want nightmare fuel, here it is. Betty White is an icon, and AI just wanted to throw that all away. It’s impossible to forget Betty White in Snickers’ 2010 Super Bowl commercial, but DreamStudio will make you wish you did.

Why zombies? Sometimes AI doesn’t hit the mark, which is why I generated multiple images for each of these prompts. But every damn one of these shows a team of zombie football players fighting in a field. I even included “Snickers” in my prompt, and the AI seemed much more interested in covering the football players in blood than it did in rendering a candy bar.

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