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A Multicultural Perspective on Super Bowl XLVIII Ads

Monday, Feb 03, 2014
Super Bowl Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective


The highly anticipated ads of Super Bowl XLVIII have, once again, provoked commentary from marketing experts who target Hispanic, Asian American, African American, LGBT, People with Disabilities and other ethnic/niche consumers. MMR asked top experts,from among those listed in our annual directory, The Source Book of Multicultural Experts, to provide their analysis of the Super Bowl ads from a multicultural perspective.
  • The Big G Cereal maker puts up points and affirms its place at the head of the table with continuation of its multiracial family mini-novella: diego osuna, global sojourn
  • Continuing the trend with multicultural themes: Eduardo Perez, PM Publicidad
  • Not your typical Super Bowl commercial?  That’s great: Fernando Poblete, Casanova Pendrill
  • Bravo! Encore! Congratulations to Coca-Cola for taking the high road: Yuriy Boykiv, Gravity Media
  • Advertising  is now noticing disability purchasing power: Tari Hartman Squire, EIN SOF Communications

The Big G cereal maker puts up points and affirms its place at the head of the table with continuation of its multiracial family mini-novella


America came to know the adorable Gracie through her first Cheerios commercial in 2013.  Although intended as a heart healthy message, the conversation became dominated by the fact it was the first time a major “All-American” brand featured an interracial family.  This new installment is sure to keep America talking, both by the story it tells, and by the cereal maker coming back with the same family despite the earlier controversy.  In an unusually strong display of brand leadership, Cheerios delivers a case study in how a mature brand can add a new level of relevancy by reflecting America’s changing demographic trends.  Cheerios has always positioned itself at the center of the American family.  With this ad they s imultaneously affirm their place at the head of the kitchen table and also manage to reposition every other competitive heritage brand as out of touch.  Both memorable and brandable, we suspect the ad will spur many a marketing manager placing calls to their agencies in the wake of its success. diego osuna, chief sojourner, globalsojourn,, 415-496-6276

Continuing the trend with multicultural themes


Who ever thought the Super Bowl would become as anticipated for its commercials as for the clash between to two teams? This year, unfortunately, the commercials were more interesting than the game. However this year did reward us with the continued trend toward introducing creative with multicultural themes, as the Super Bowl expands its appeal to a broader spectrum of Americans. In my opinion, the best example of this was Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” spot which I believe expresses the reality of America. And not just today’s America, but that of our history. Our history of immigration and as being a nation blessed with cultural diversity. Some have found it controversial but I see none there. Kudos to Coca-Cola and Weiden & Kennedy for a beautiful execution of a complex concept. Cheerios’ spot featuring an interracial family is another example of a marketer recognizing the reality of the diversity of their consumers’ lives and reflecting it in their creative. It does a great job of expanding (literally and figuratively) on the previous spot based on the same concept and fictional family. Eduardo Perez, President, PM Publicidad,, 404-870-0099 ext. 205

Not your typical Super Bowl commercial? That’s great.


Cheerios returned to the Super Bowl with “Gracie” a sequel of last year’s spot, the interracial family from “Just Checking” is back with a big announcement; the family is getting bigger. Just like the multicultural landscape of the US.  After the dumb controversy caused by the first spot (the ad sparked racial comments on youtube), the brand could’ve taken this opportunity to address the “issue”, but luckily they chose to tell a great simple family story, with a clever use of the product. For that, I applaud General Mills and the agency. The fact that there’s an African American dad, a white mom and their daughter, has nothing to do with the plot of the spot. They didn’t have to force the idea of diversity or anything like that. Of course, if they would have produced these spots with a conventional cereal ad family they wouldn’t have gotten so much buzz, after all, that’s what we are used to seeing in commercial breaks. And that’s what Cheerios chose not to show; they chose to make a stand by portraying the reality of a growing number of American families, a reality that incredibly kept raising controversy in 2013. Let’s wait after the spot airs, and see if we have evolved this year. Fernando Poblete, Creative Director, Casanova Pendrill,, 714-918-8271

Bravo!  Encore! Congratulations to Coca-Cola for taking the high road


Bravo!  Encore! Congratulations to Coca-Cola for taking the high road and bridging a multicultural American together through a simple idea: various cultures in America represented and singing parts of “America the Beautiful.” This “It’s Beautiful” spot is poignant, intelligent and beautiful. For many of us, the spot is a modern day twist to Coca-Cola’s iconic mountaintop spot “Teach the World to Sing (Perfect Harmony)” of the 1970s (

In “Perfect Harmony” (1971), the spot depicted a hill filled with various people of many cultures singing together. At that time, Coca-Cola was promoting their global reach during the cold war era. Today, forty years later, the global community is here and it’s a very beautiful America. People of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African cultures will undoubtedly appreciate the efforts of Coca-Cola. Building brand preference among recent immigrants is a bold, but acceptable, move by the global drink maker.  As per MRI, the Super Bowl and more specifically NFL, attracts the most TV viewers among the four core audiences segments. NFL is the most popularly viewed sports program by African-Americans (10.8 million) and Hispanic-Americans (9.8 million). It’s the second most popularly viewed sports on TV by Asian-Americans (1.3 million) after NBA. Therefore, creating and delivering this spot for the Super Bowl was on target.

Coincidence or not, the arrival of this “It’s Beautiful” spot coincides with a time when more health-conscious natives are moving to better-for-you options. As Beverage Marketing Group reported in May 2013, Coca-Cola Classic experienced an accelerated decline, down 1.2% year over year, while sub-brands like Coke Zero grew, but not enough to fill the gap of Classic. We can expect more of the same declines for Classic Coke when 2013 results are reported later this year.  Sadly, some people felt that the Coca-Cola spot was out of bounds.  The “It’s Beautiful” spot has sparked outrage on Twitter and other social media platforms.  #SpeakAmerican instantly started trending on Twitter as were blogs sharing the awkward notion that being American is exclusive and elitist. Sadly, those people missed the part that the spot celebrated cultures in America today. Social media enables people to say whatever they want and ignite others to do the same. Surely this storm of ignorance will be gone by Wednesday.  With all the excitement, viewers may have missed another historic moment. The Coke commercial is the first time that a gay family has been included in a Super Bowl ad.  Yuriy Boykiv, CEO, Gravity Media, 646-486-0000 x105,

Advertising is now noticing disability purchasing power

Even before Super Bowl XLVIII kickoff, disability-inclusive diversity commercials were racking up points with the $220 billion disability market.  The big winner is P&G with two – Swiffer (dad with one arm using product with ease) and Duracell hearing aid battery spot with Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman. Both spots were spot-on. Duracell scored a touchdown with “Trust Your Power” – it reflects true-life experiences of Coleman pushing back, as people with disabilities do when pushed into the end zone: picked last… bullied… but never stopped believing… in himself.  “I have been deaf since I was three, so I didn’t listen…”  That is the disability rights anthem.  Speaking of anthem, it was signed by Amber Zion, thanks to PepsiCo and National Association of the Deaf for bringing artistry of American Sign Language (ASL) to the Super Bowl.  Microsoft proved technology the great equalizer by featuring Steve Gleason former NFL player and dad with ALS using eye-tracking technology that really levels the playing field.  From these, to Citi’s Paralympic spot and Ernst & Young launching its new branding campaign with people with disabilities as the “face of the firm” on a Times Square billboard…Advertising is now noticing disability purchasing power, part of the $8 trillion diversity-allies marketplace potential. That’s why EIN SOF Communications, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, Inclusion in the Arts and Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities are teaming to present Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 as ramp up to the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2015. For information, visit   Tari Hartman Squire, CEO,, 310-473-5954