Microsoft’s sixty-second Super Bowl XLVIII commercial, its first national ad to air during the football season’s grand finale, is more emotional and techno-uptopian in nature than any of its previous campaigns. The ad features former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and focuses on the empowering potential of technology. "Technology has taken us places we've only dreamed. It gives hope to the hopeless," says a digital-sounding voice-over, while a montage of emotional videos shows lives being ostensibly changed by tech-assisted surgery and the launch of a spacecraft, among other things.

The ad draws from a related, recently released Microsoft video in which Gleason is shown using a Surface equipped with Tobii’s Windows 8 eye-tracking hardware to mitigate the effects of ALS, a neuro-muscular disease with which he was diagnosed in 2011. The series includes other videos of people using Microsoft hardware and software to heart-rending effect, clips of which appear in the Super Bowl commercial.  It’s certainly a departure from previous campaigns, in which Microsoft took a no-holds-barred approach to lampooning Google and Apple.

[via The Verge]