Super Bowl ads have historically been funny and clever, focused more on selling beer, junk food and cars than creating serious dialogue about societal issues. However, many of this year’s Super Bowl ads varied from that course and instead focused on a wide range of serious issues, starting with a highly controversial commercial by Nationwide looking at accidental deaths among children, and also including ads discussing cyberbullying, domestic violence and gender stereotypes.
Tomorrow we will look at some of the more humorous ads from this year’s Super Bowl, but today a few RLF employees will share their insights into some of the more serious ads from yesterday’s big game.
Jennie Klahre, senior communications manager
Favorite commercial: PSA for domestic violence by NoMore.org
Thoughts: Apparently gone are the days of watching cute polar bears frolic through the snow and talking M&M’s embark on hilarious adventures. The spots this year were much more serious, broaching sensitive topics.
For me, the most chilling ad was NoMore.org’s PSA for domestic violence. It took me a few moments to catch on that the woman calling 911 was placing a fake pizza order because she couldn’t explain her real reason for distress. By the end of the commercial, I was in awe of the extremely effective and well-executed spot. The images alone were enough to turn my stomach.
Although I suspect one of the main reasons the NFL backed this ad has to do with recent domestic violence accusations against numerous players and the crisis that has created for the league, I still praise the commercial itself. If nothing else, it’s a conversation starter. And one that definitely needs to be had.
Alyssa Bedrosian, communications manager
Favorite commercial: #LikeAGirl by Always
Thoughts: This year’s Super Bowl ads were all about tugging on our heartstrings, and the Always #LikeAGirl ad was one that topped the list for me. In the ad, a producer asked men and women to do various activities “like a girl.” The adults responded by running or fighting in ways that demonstrate the often-insulting stereotypes associated with the phrase “like a girl.” However, when young girls were asked the same questions, their responses were completely void of the negative connotations associated with the phrase; for example, when a young girl was asked to run like a girl, she ran as fast as she could. The ad went on to say that girls’ confidence plummets during puberty, and invited viewers to make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.
I was watching the Super Bowl with 10 other people, both men and women, and everyone fell silent during this commercial. The ad was so powerful because it highlighted a stereotype that everyone can relate to, using a phrase that most of us have heard and/or used in our lifetime. The ad was also extremely relevant, coming at a time when many high-profile feminists have been speaking out for gender equality (think Emma Watson and Taylor Swift). Always also took full advantage of social media throughout the Super Bowl, retweeting and responding to Julianne Hough, Sara Bareilles, Demi Lovato and a slew of female celebrities who expressed their support on Twitter. While the ad stirred up some controversy (as most equality issues do), I think the brand did a great job of reaching its target audience by using an inspiring, memorable ad to take a strong stance on an issue that is near and dear to its consumers.