Horror fans are in for a treat this Super Bowl Sunday. On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Sarah Michelle Gellar's Super Bowl ad for Olay premiered, and it takes the Buffy the Vampire Slayer star back to her '90s scream queen roots. Before Gellar was the slayer, she was a horror movie regular in '90s classics like I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2. And Olay has fun playing with the slasher movie tropes that made those movies so scary (and campy) in their first ever Super Bowl ad.
The 30 second commercial features Gellar's character and her significant other chilling out on the couch watching a movie when lightning flashes revealing a masked killer outside. They scream and head upstairs — breaking one of the horror movie ground rules laid out in the Scream franchise — before trying to call for help. There's just one problem: Gellar's been using Olay, so her phone's facial recognition software no longer recognizes her killer skin.
Hilariously, even the mask-wearing killer appreciates her superior skincare routine. Instead of murdering the couple, he says, "Your skin's glowing. You could be a movie star." The whole ad is a silly, delightful '90s throwback that might just end up being one of your favorite Super Bowl commercials of the year.
Gellar is certain that her fans are going to love the spot. In a recent interview with Ad Week, she explained why she decided to do the ad in the first place. "I thought the concept was really fun and just such a great twist," Gellar told the publication. "All you ever want to do in your life as an actor is have these moments that people remember. When I read this, I thought, 'Oh, my god, this is going to be the kind of commercial that people remember and talk about the next day.'"
The ad definitely looks like it will be memorable, but Olay's commercial is way more than just a clever horror movie spoof. As reported by Ad Week, it marks the company's first Super Bowl spot, and they're proud to help increase the number of ads aimed at women being aired during what's seen as a male-centric sporting event.
"It's no secret that Super Bowl ads are predominantly male-centric," Stephanie Robertson, brand director for Olay, said to Ad Week. "We wanted to change this dynamic by reaching women on TV’s biggest stage with a message that we hope viewers will find entertaining. Olay wants all women to be bold and empowered, and in a way, we're doing just that, as a brand, by showing up in a place that is historically focused on men."
There's no one better suited to help break down those barriers than Gellar, whose stereotype-busting character Buffy helped change how viewers perceived women in the horror genre when the series premiered on The WB in 1997. As an actor, Gellar has been both a horror hero and a scream queen. It's safe to say she knows her way around the genre by now, and adding a spooky Super Bowl commercial to her list of accomplishments seems fitting for one of the original queens of movie and TV horror.