Meta and Salesforce Talk Metaverse in Super Bowl Ads

Real world or virtual world? Take your pick.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, set its Super Bowl ad in the metaverse. In the ad, an animatronic dog and its friend, a pink-tentacled monster, are separated in their physical reality but reunited via the company’s Quest 2 virtual reality headsets.

Last week, Meta shares sank, partly because the company revealed that it spent $10 billion building its vision of the metaverse, a next-generation internet of shared online environments and experiences, causing its profit to drop.

The software giant Salesforce tapped Matthew McConaughey to propose an alternative to the metaverse: supporting the real world. Titled “#TeamEarth,” the company’s second Super Bowl ad shows the actor drifting in a hot-air balloon over the San Francisco Bay Area as he counters, without naming them, the Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and the SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk.

“While the others look to the metaverse and Mars, let’s stay here and restore ours,” Mr. McConaughey says.

Marc Benioff, who runs Salesforce, was deeply involved in the ad, said Sarah Franklin, the chief marketing officer.

“We have enough fluffy razzle-dazzle in the world — we need to get real and focus on saving the planet, helping our society, helping our communities and small business,” she said. “The Super Bowl is an incredible stage to invest in because we have so much attention from people from all walks of life.”

Miller Lite, which is blocked from the Super Bowl broadcast by the N.F.L.’s longstanding exclusivity deal with Anheuser-Busch, instead released its tongue-in-cheek game-time ad in the metaverse, creating an interactive digital tavern serving up virtual pool, virtual beer and realistic expectations.

“We’re not taking ourselves too seriously with this,” said Ari Weiss, the global chief officer of DDB Worldwide, the agency behind the Meta Lite Bar. “The metaverse is not going to save the world, or at least, not yet.”