Matthew McConaughey explains controversial Super Bowl ad: ‘No, we’re not against technology … or space travel’

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The beloved star of the 1993 coming-of-age comedy “Dazed and Confused” and the 2014 sci-fi epic “Interstellar” has a message for the wealthy, galaxy-trotting elite: Come back down to Earth.

Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey has teamed up with Salesforce for its new campaign ad which will run during the Olympics and the Super Bowl this month. The “New Frontier” spot is an initiative of the cloud-based software company’s #TeamEarth campaign that seeks to align businesses and individuals with a mind toward environmental sustainability.

As one might expect from the on-the-nose fashion of Hollywood, McConaughey appears in the ad wearing a spacesuit and gazing in awe at the wondrous expanse of the Milky Way before realizing that work is yet to be done on Earth.

“It’s not time to escape,” McConaughey is heard saying in the commercial, complete with Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” as the intro and background music.

(Video: Salesforce/YouTube)

“It’s time to engage. It’s time to plant more trees. It’s time to build more trust. It’s time to make more space for all of us. So while the others look to the metaverse and Mars, let’s stay here and restore ours. Yeah, it’s time to blaze our trail. ‘Cause the new frontier? It ain’t rocket science. It’s right here.”

McConaughey co-authored the spot which tacitly makes good-natured fun of some obscenely wealthy and self-indulgent adventurers like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, and calls upon them to invest more in planet Earth’s future.

McConaughey told FOX Business, “We’re not saying we’re against pioneering space. We had our little fun, and we completely mean that. But what we’re also saying is we’re not ready to quit on our home team, which is us, right here. Our humanity is on our home field — Earth — right now.”

“Let’s talk about what else we’re selling. We’re selling the values among us right here on Earth, which is sustainability. If we don’t fix our values among us here, where the hell are we going to be? If and when we get to outer space, are we going to take the same problems we have now to another planet? That’s not too smart. We need to fix what we’ve got here first. That’s in everyone’s interest,” the 52-year-old actor said.

“No, we’re not against technology … or space travel. But we need to have technology with the right soul,” he continued. “We need to use technology for any exploration the right way. We need to think about restoring the resources we need on our planet. If we don’t fix and restore the best here on Earth between us right now, what product are we going to be exporting when we get to space?”

“I’ve learned that life’s a balance,” McConaughey said. “If reality is not enough for you to turn you on, and you seek the virtual in life, and you seek extra credit … look, that’s why people go to drugs. That’s why people go to pornography online. The reality’s not enough. OK, I’m done here, let’s go off and explore space — sometimes that means reality’s not enough. But if reality’s not enough for us to turn us on, then [we’re going] to be in a pickle.”

He continued, expressing the problems he sees with an unbridled zest for gratification and high adventure:

At the same time, I do also agree with, if you’re not impressed with what’s around you and the life you’re living, create your own impressions,” he shared. “And that’s what an entrepreneurial spirit does. But it’s a balance between the two. If you just settle with what reality gives you all the time, you’re gonna sometimes get trampled on. If you’re just obsessed with, ‘No, there’s not enough here. I only want what’s out there, the unknown,’ — well, you’re gonna be pretty unhappy. We need a balance that benefits us all.

I think the last two years with COVID exposed the truth — that businesses, the private sector, all the way down to individuals — they all have more power to create change and for leadership than ever before,” he said. “We have to be responsible and we gotta be agile. You know, oil, carbon, wildlife, water, air — we gotta regulate, but we gotta anticipate. We’ve got the means to measure our resources, so we can anticipate, so we don’t go barren before we need to restore.

I look at our human values in the same way we’ve got to measure,” he shared. “Our trust level is so low, especially in America right now. The trust in our leaders, the trust in the media and the trust in politicians. It’s so low, [which is] another reason why businesses have such an opportunity with responsibility right now. People are looking over and going, ‘Who do I listen to for leadership?’ And a lot of businesses have stepped over and said, ‘Follow me. We’re going to pave the way.’ That’s a huge responsibility. How can we trust businesses to lead us in the right way? That’s part of the rally, to say, ‘You’re on a platform to lead change. Let’s do it responsibly. Let’s invest in ourselves and each other.


McConaughey, who just last November mulled over running for Governor of Texas then thought better of it, stressed that he isn’t ready to abandon his dreams of a better Earth, and he vows to make sure his message is clear in front of the camera as well as behind it.

“Any work I take on now is kind of a partnership really,” he said. “I have to be behind the scenes. In some ways, yes, I am still an actor for hire when I want to be. But if I’m going to be part of something, I need to be behind it. It’s not just about selling a product. It’s also selling brand values, ones that I align with. And I need to be behind the camera because I need to trust that others will follow through. … We can all take responsibility in not just creating success, but also a movement.”


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