Super Bowl ads are often loud and flashy, but Verizon took a quieter approach during the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers on February 2. The telecommunications company tapped Harrison Ford to narrate a commercial about its 5G service–not to boast about how it’ll make your life easier–but to highlight the courage and work of police officers, emergency responders, hospital workers, and others. And to soundtrack the message? None other than Pearl Jam.
The ad uses a quiet one-minute snippet of “River Cross,” the last track of the Seattle band’s upcoming album, Gigaton. Frontman Eddie Vedder helped the company obtain the rights to use the new song, Diego Scotti, Verizon’s chief marketing officer, told Variety. He also noted that this is the first time Oscar-winner actor Ford has done a voice-over for a commercial.
After the ad aired, Pearl Jam tweeted the commercial, noting that for every retweet on February 2 and 3, Verizon would donate $1 to the band’s Vitalogy Foundation. The band and their manager founded the non-profit in 2006 to support other non-profits that are working for social change, arts and education, the environment, and community health.
5G is going to change a lot of things. Luckily for us, it will never replace the courage and compassion of those who serve. RT to pledge #OneMoreSunday and @Verizon will *donate $1 to the @PearlJam #VitalogyFoundation: https://t.co/HX8ygvdngO
*Must RT on 2/2 or 2/3 pic.twitter.com/XUqiMrJGI1
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) February 3, 2020
Pearl Jam first hinted that a new album would be coming when they shared an image of the band’s name spelled out in a heart rhythm on their social media accounts on January 10, then sent fans on a scavenger hunt. Days later, they officially announced that Gigaton, their first studio album since 2013’s Lightning Bolt, would drop on March 27, and that a tour was also forthcoming. The first single, they synth-y “Dance of the Clairvoyants,” was released on January 22 to mixed reactions from fans. For those confused about Pearl Jam’s new sound, guitarist Stone Gossard eased concerns in an interview with Zane Lowe.
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“I think that ‘Dance of the Clairvoyants,’ if you’ve heard that track, that’s sort of the outer edge of something that we haven’t tried before, a new way of configuring our sort of collaborative talents,” he said while discussing the new record. “It’s going to be the variety that our fans will be excited about.”
He added: “There’s definitely some really straight ahead rock songs.”
Gigaton arrives March 27.