The Web video hub, a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp., promised to "reveal its secret" in the Super Bowl ad created by agency Crispin Porter & Borgusky, which was running on NBC on Sunday evening. It was an important debut for Hulu, as many television audiences had likely never heard of it. Indeed, when I tried to watch the ad on the Web for the first time, Hulu's servers were overloaded, indicating server demand was high.
But eager nerds who were hoping for a big announcement of new content or a hardware tie-in were probably disappointed: the "secret" was decidedly tongue-in-cheek. We hope.
The ad, called "Alec in Huluwood," stars veteran actor Alec Baldwin, currently in the cast of the NBC show 30 Rock, narrating a 60-second spot that takes place in what appears to be an underground laboratory facility beneath the famed Hollywood sign.
"You know they say TV will rot your brain?" Baldwin asks as he descends in an elevator. "That's absurd. TV only softens the brain like a ripe banana. To take it all the way, we've created Hulu."
The thinking, per Baldwin's monologue, is that if there's loads and loads of TV content available on the Web, you can't possibly escape it ("I mean, what're you going to do? Turn off your TV and your computer?") And Hulu, he says, was created with sordid ulterior motives: "Once your brain is reduced to a cottage cheese-like mush, we'll scoop them out with a melon baller and gobble them right on up."
A tentacle slips out of Baldwin's suit jacket. "Because we're aliens, and that's how we roll."
Guess my "Hulu is people" theory wasn't that far off.