‘Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham Goes All In A High Stakes Poker Game For Rakuten’s Super Bowl Ad

Sometimes, you need to know when to hold them and when to fold them. And, as Hannah Waddingham learns in Rakuten's Super Bowl commercial, when to save money while shopping online!

“Leonardo says it’s time to finish this,” says Hannah Waddingham, after consulting with her exotic hairless cat at the start of Rakuten’s commercial for Super Bowl LVI. In the spot, the Ted Lasso star is an evil aristocrat, one that you don’t mess with and one who doesn’t lose. Unfortunately, in this high-stakes poker game, Hannah isn’t just competing against her fellow 1%-ers, but…a quirky woman who saved when buying from Rakuten. After Hannah threw in a pair of pumps, a robot vacuum, and a 4k flatscreen, her opponent added the cash she earned back by making those purchases through the shopping platform. A furious Hannah stormed off. “GET THE CAT!” she shouts.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go for Hannah. In the teaser for the ad that’ll air during the Feb. 13 football extravaganza, the Ted Lasso star sat in front of a mirrored vanity dressed in a black gown and elegant jewels. From there, she let loose the scariest evil laugh this side of your Wicked Stepmother. And then, another. She tries for a third but goes too far into “cackle” territory before pulling back.

Rakuten had the last laugh. For those who don’t know, it’s the leading cash back shopping platform that allows you to “earn on everything from clothes and electronics to restaurants and ride-sharing,” per its website. While her character winds up busting out, Hannah had a ball with this shoot. “I’m so excited to share that I’ve partnered with Rakuten for their first-ever Super Bowl ad. How cool is that??” says Hanna in a press release announcing the Big Game spot. “Can’t wait for everyone to meet my boss Leonardo…. he’s to die for. Watch out for the full commercial on Feb. 13!”

(Rakuten)

Rakuten’s in-house creative team developed the ad, and Hannah was the perfect star for the spot. “We were really looking for somebody that was going to be a strong female lead … and that she would have this intimidating element to her, which she does,” Vicki McRae, vice president of brand and creative for Rakuten, told Adweek. “She’s statuesque, she’s strong, she’s a force—we wanted somebody that could have that coupled with really strong comedic chops, and she was the person that rose to the occasion.”

The commercial was shot “in a very famous location outside of London that’s been in a ton of movies, so I think people might recognize it. It’s this very lavish party, and she is the host,” said McRae. While the VP didn’t elaborate on the plot of the commercial, they added that there would be some fun cameos for this Game Day commercial.

(Rakuten)

Hannah’s role of Rebecca Welton on Ted Lasso has earned some major love from critics and fans alike, to the point that she’s become as essential to the show as Jason Sudekis’s titular character. “The arc of Rebecca literally from episode one is something that… it’s a cliche to say it’s a gift of a role, but it totally is, especially as a woman,” Rebecca said when discussing Rebecca’s development in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “I’m happy to admit in my mid-40s and six foot two in high heels, you don’t get these parts where you’re one-minute playing comedy, the next minute playing absolute heartbreak, and I would hope that any woman or man watching it, because I know I’ve had the heartbreak in my life, I hope that people will see that I have taken her very seriously even though she is in a comedy.”

Many have taken Rebecca – and Hannah – seriously. She won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2021. And now, she might score big on Super Bowl Sunday with Rakuten.

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