Geoffrey Rush plays Albert Einstein in National Geographic's upcoming miniseries "Genius." 
(Dusan Martincek/National Geographic)

Nat Geo debuts ‘Genius’ Super Bowl ad

Albert Einstein loved football, right? Well, he loved Lady Gaga—maybe? For its first-ever Super Bowl ad, National Geographic Channel cleverly taps into the popularity of the half-time performer to promote its upcoming Genius.

The limited series stars Geoffrey Rush as the brilliant physicist and, apparently, violin-playing Lothario. In the clip above, Einstein segues from playing Bach and Mozart to his own spin on Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” It will air right after the half-time show.

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Fox broadcasts Super Bowl LI beginning at 5:30 Feb. 5 with pre-game shows all day and the premiere of “24: Legacy” right after the game.

“Genius,” from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, debuts April 25 on Nat Geo. Howard makes his prime-time TV drama directorial debut with the series premiere.

While Rush stars as the elder Einstein, Johnny Flynn plays him a a young man. Emily Watson also stars as the scientist’s second wife, Elsa Einstein. Watch the full trailer below.

According to the network, the anthology series will focus on a different innovator each season. The 10-episode first season is based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe.”

It shows how Einstein went from a rebellious patent clerk who struggled to land an academic post to one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century. The series also explores his little known Lothario ways that resulted in volatile and complex personal relationships.

“Lasting harmony with a woman [was] an undertaking in which I twice failed rather disgracefully,” Einstein once said, referring to his two troubled marriages.

Ad agency McCann New York teases his penchant for womanizing in the Super Bowl ad it created. Acclaimed commercial director Ivan Zachariáš filmed the spot with Rush in Prague a week before the big game.

“We wanted to create a beautiful commercial that was true to the character of Albert Einstein,” said Eric Silver, McCann’s chief creative officer in North America. “We knew Einstein frequently played violin as a brainstorming technique. The timing of our placement immediately after Lady Gaga’s halftime performance felt like serendipity, giving us the perfect platform to bring the adored physicist to life in a memorable way.”

“Genius” is one of four spots for Fox series that will air during the Super Bowl. Promos for “Empire,” “Shots Fired” and “24: Legacy” also are planned.

“We are excited to take this opportunity to promote our first-ever global scripted series … during one of America’s most-watched television events,” said Courteney Monroe, CEO of National Geographic Global Networks.

Genius extended trailer