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Multicultural Marketing News – Super Bowl LI Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective

Tuesday, Feb 07, 2017

Multicultural Marketing News – Feb 2017
Super Bowl LI Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective
In this issue Super Bowl Ads Multicultural Commentary from:
  • Ethnic Technologies – Super Bold: The Politically Responsive Ads of Super Bowl 51
  • ISA – The Whole Market Approach is Tested at Super Bowl LI
  • Interlex Communications – Much to Learn from Super Bowl LI’s Controversial Ads
Super Bowl Ads Multicultural Commentary
Super Bowl ads have, once again, provoked commentary from marketing experts who target Hispanic, Asian American, African American and other Multicultural markets. MMR asked top experts, from among those featured in our Source Book of Multicultural Experts Online, to provide their analysis of the Super Bowl ads from a multicultural perspective.

Super Bold: The Politically Responsive Ads of Super Bowl 51
The commercials of Super Bowl 51 had one major theme: our cultural differences make us beautiful. To express this theme of diversity, some advertisers opted to tell a story. Others showcased the corporations’ beliefs directly – and perhaps more boldly. Story-wise, Anheuser-Busch’s 60-second Budweiser spot had been making waves since last week. The commercial presents the story of the company’s young German founder immigrating to America in the 1850s, and has been praised by some yet criticized as too political by others. 84 Lumber’s 90-second spot about a Mexican mother and young daughter traveling to immigrate to the U.S. has received similar mixed feedback from the public. By contrast to the buzzworthy stories told by Anheuser-Busch and 84 Lumber, Airbnb placed a fairly straightforward 30-second ad with the message and hashtag #weaccept. Over a series of facial images of ethnically diverse women and men read the words: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong.” While Airbnb didn’t tell one human story, their confident declaration could end up being the event’s most provocative – while also incidentally setting the overall tone of the evening’s advertisements as a whole. By Tracy Fey. For more information, contact Karen Sinisi, Director of Sales, Ethnic Technologies, 866-333-8324 ext.117 or
Superbowl 51 had brands celebrating diversity, the immigrant journey, women’s equality, and environmental stewardship, with aspirational spots that entertained, empowered, and spoke to all that embodies the American experience – in stark contrast to the rhetoric from Washington. Coca-Cola set the tone with ‘It’s Beautiful’ spot personifying America’s mosaic of nationalities and races, even if a re-run. Anheuser-Busch’s powerful cinematography of the pursuit of the American dream spotlighted Adolphus Busch’s journey to create Budweiser, a most red state beverage indeed. ‘It’s a 10 hair care, four more years’ was also inclusive and compelling while playing the Trump card. And then 84 Lumber hit you with a 2×4 with the determination, grit and heart of Mexican immigrants making ‘The Journey’ north, topped by the online finale ‘The Will to Succeed Is Always Welcome Here’ – powerful stuff (even without the wall). The ‘Avocados From Mexico’ spot promoting ‘good fat’ kept our friends to the South top of mind, almost as hilarious as T-Mobile’s competitive ad with a protagonist that appeals across the board, turned on by the punishing pain of cell overages. And ‘Michelob’s Ultra’ ad brings all ethnicities together via fitness followed by ‘Our Bar’ cleverly juxtaposed to the Cheers soundtrack. Ethnic-neutral ads with solid American values were also prominent. Audi’s sweet father and daughter tale promoted gender pay equality; Ford touted eco-friendly electric vehicles and everything-sharing; and Lexus new 500 LC had Lil Buck jookn’ to a tragically hip Sia soundtrack. Yet other ads portraying an ethnic spectrum missed Hispanics altogether, like Honda’s ‘Talking Yearbook’ about our dreams being within reach, and Google Home’s families engaging with technology. And unfortunately Bud Light only ran its insightful Hispanic ad in Fox Deportes’ Spanish Superbowl coverage, a cultural twist on their ‘Famous Among Friends’ theme – where friends are not just friends, but have the status of family. The spot done in Spanglish or English would have resonated across the US. More ads championed diversity, but it still lacked the Hispanic representation expected today, and certainly paled to the actual excitement of one of the best games on record. For more information, contact Liz Castells-Heard, President, Castells Advertising,, 213-688-7217.
The Whole Market Approach is Tested at Super Bowl LI 
Two years ago, we pointed out that the commercials aired during Super Bowl XLIX were proof that marketers were beginning to embrace the whole market approach to advertising. Rather than focusing on particular segments of the population, advertisers were starting to showcase the shared values of all Americans. We championed the whole market approach as more efficient and more effective than segmented advertising. What we didn’t mention in our 2015 article was the possibility that ads depicting certain values could be controversial. That’s because we didn’t see it coming. Before the 2016 Presidential Election, we would not have guessed that ads promoting the concepts of diversity and inclusiveness would be so divisive that they would draw a call for boycotting. This year’s Super Bowl advertising featured more ads with social messages than ever before, and also more controversy. Are marketers replacing traditional product marketing strategies with social and political commentary? And if so, will these gambles pay off? Companies are making big bets, and laying down potential market share as the wager. All in the hopes that what they gain in publicity will be greater than what they might lose in the form of associating themselves with a controversial subject. Who could have predicted that the whole market approach to marketing would be put to the test so quickly? By Adriana Hemans, Director of Marketing, SoapBoxSample,, (818) 756-7429, Michael Halberstam, Chairman, Interviewing Service of America, 989-1044

Much to Learn from Super Bowl LI’s Controversial Ads
This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads reflected our tensely
politicized times. Most notably, ads from Anheuser-Busch, 84 Lumber and Coke, which tried to speak to the current environment in a way which could be interpreted as pro-immigrant or pro-diversity, drew the ire of anti-immigrant forces on social media. The difficulty of addressing issues of race and ethnicity in this deeply divided nation, however, should not deter socially conscientious corporations and marketers from championing progress and inclusion. Here are three key multicultural takeaways from watching the Super Bowl ads: 1-If a marketer is going to tackle a complex issue, its message should be clear and also relate back to its brand values. Sometimes, the message can become muddled when the marketer is trying to please everybody or make a statement without offending part of the audience. It’s better to take a clear stand and take the heat, than to muck things up and leave everyone angry or confused. 2-If a corporation is going to celebrate the lives and experiences of immigrants and diverse cultures, it should ensure its marketing team and ad agency truly understand these individuals, families and communities in order to be able to accurately represent their situation and their aspirations. Otherwise, it’s too easy for agencies to produce beautiful creative that overly romanticizes the immigrant or multicultural experience while glossing over the harrowing depth of human rights violations to which immigrants are subjected and the difficult challenges multicultural communities are striving to overcome. 3-Marketers should do more than advertise their values and positions; they should undergird these with strategic, culturally relevant initiatives and programs that align actions and results with images and words. That’s where in-depth multicultural advocacy marketing can come in and make a world of difference in both the lives of immigrant and multicultural communities as well in the authenticity of the brand and the veracity of its promises. -Rudy Ruiz, Interlex CEO,
If you are interested in including your company profile/news in our next issue of Multicultural Marketing News/MMRNews ($425), please visit: or contact Lisa Skriloff at 212-242-3351 or
Next Issue: March/April 2017
Deadline: February 27th, 2017
Themes: Women’s History Month
                Multicultural Communications Month
To see upcoming newsletters view our 2017 Editorial Calendar
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Multicultural Marketing News (MMRNews), is published by Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. (MMR). For a free subscription, sign up here.