Super Bowl 2019: Tom Hanks Narrates First Ever 'Washington Post' Ad

The Washington Post's first ever Super Bowl commercial narrated by Tom Hanks aired during Sunday night's mega event.

The Post said the 60-second spot aired during the fourth quarter, before the two-minute warning. It was produced by Mark Woollen and Associates, which chose to highlight the major news events from World War II to today covered by the Post. Hanks' narration discusses the role of journalists in American society. At the end, the Post's slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" is shown, along with the paper's logo.

"The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy," Fred Ryan, publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, said in a statement. "We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign."

Several slain or missing journalists are featured in the commercial, including freelance journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The CIA determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's death.

Austin Tice, a freelance reporter missing in Syria since 2012, and Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times war corresponded killed in 2012 and the subject of the 2018 film A Private War, are also shown in the commercial.

"This was a chance for a broader message about the role journalists play in our everyday lives and the risks they take to bring us the facts," Ryan added.

The Post bought the spot last week, and it was took a week to make. Although the Post declined to say how much it spent on the ad, CNBC reported on Wednesday that CBS was charging $5.25 million for a 30-second spot during the game between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots. Last year, 30-second spots during the Super Bowl cost $5.2 million.

The decision to enlist Hanks as narrator is a reference to his recent portrayal of the late Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee in Steven Spieblerg's 2017 film The Post, about the paper's decision to publish the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Bradlee was also the editor during the publication of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's Watergate reporting.


The Post's commercial is the latest in a series of spots produced for major media outlets stressing the importance of facts. During the 2017 Academy Awards, the New York Times aired a commercial that ended with the phrase "The truth is more important now than ever." CNN's current ad campaign also uses their slogan "Facts first."

Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images