Domestic violence after the Tubi Super Bowl commercial: what happened?

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We can surely agree on one thing: nobody expected a commercial like the one aired during the 2023 Super Bowl promoting the Tubi streaming platform. In just 15 seconds, the viewers had the impression that something (or someone) took control of their television and switched to Tubi, just when the sportscasters welcomed everyone back to the Super Bowl. The ad was so realistic that people have been reporting on social media episodes of domestic violence caused by it, with the spectators reacting with anger to the vision of their TV switching away from the Super Bowl. Let’s understand what happened.

Were there cases of domestic violence after the Tubi 2023 Super Bowl commercial?

If you were among those passionately following the 2023 Super Bowl on February 12, and you didn’t get distracted during the commercial break, you probably watched the Tubi ad below.

Tubi Interface Interruption | Super Bowl

The ad is very realistic: you have the impression of being back at the Super Bowl when suddenly your smart TV enters the media menu, selects Tubi, and starts a movie. And if you are one of the many people owning a smart TV, you may have had the impression that someone behind you took the remote and pranked you.

This is what happened to many Americans that night. And based on what people started to share on social media the days after, some of them had some angry reactions: several users reported episodes of domestic violence triggered by the Tubi Super Bowl commercial. One of the most viral posts was on Reddit (now removed), where a woman described how her boyfriend started screaming at her violently when he saw that commercial, believing she was changing the program. The post received hundreds of comments and was covered by many articles on the Internet.

That was the most significant case reported on the Internet, and it was likely the one triggering the debate about the aggressive behaviors happening in the domestic space in general. The discussion led many to share their opinion about the topic, eventually revealing other cases (like this viral video on TikTok, where the creator mentions she heard “multiple stories” of violent reactions to that commercial).

As often happens when a topic becomes viral, it’s hard to objectively assess how many cases they were. And surely, there were tons of spectators laughing about it and having normal reactions to the prank. But surely, the Tubi Super Bowl commercial was a successful case of an innovative ad that surprised everyone. And (in case we need to state the obvious), they have no responsibility for how bad people’s reactions can be when something unexpected happens.

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