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

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2019


Multicultural Marketing News February 2019
Super Bowl LIII Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective
  • Super Bowl LIII Ads, Much Like the Game’s Punts, Are a Big Blur
  • Super Bowl LIII’s Ads Sidestep the Serious Stuff
  • The Biggest Day in American Sports Was a Giant Bore: Both the Game and the Ads (from a Multicultural Standpoint)
  • Connecting the Global Audience Through Intentional Casting and Messaging
  • Super Bowl LIII – New Tech Age of Advertising?
Super Bowl Ads Multicultural Commentary 
Super Bowl ads have, once again, provoked commentary from advertising experts in marketing to 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 Bowl LIII Ads, Much Like the Game’s Punts, Are a Big Blur 
Yawn. Pet dogs. Pop a chicken wing. Sip again. Snooze. That was my impression of the Super Bowl from a Multicultural or any perspective, albeit opinions seem polarized about both the commercials and the game among our industry and amigos. Pause. Step back. On the Multicultural front, I witnessed little progress if not regress with the exceptions of Microsoft’s emotional ‘When everybody plays, we all win’ ads with children of all colors, Google’s inspirational ‘100 Billion Words’ ad bringing the world together with Thank you and I love you, and Bumble’s empowering ‘The Ball is in her court’ with Serena Williams. And yes, there were countless other Multicultural celebrity ads, or better said, ubiquitous artists and athletes who happen to be Multicultural, whether for Milk (Dwayne Johnson), Pampers (John Legend), Pepsi (Lil John, Cardi B.), Twilight (Cardi B. again), Michelob Ultra (Zoey Kravitz), Amazon’s Alexa inserting herself (Whitaker, Harrison Ford, Ilana Glazer), or Flaming Hot Doritos Nacho Chips (Chance the Rapper, Back Street Boys). Rewind. Re-calibrate. Doritos was a pretty flaming hot rap dance number and strategically on target, Zen-inspired Michelob Ultra pitch with ASMR spread like wildfire on YouTube, Verizon’s First Responders ad ‘The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here’ trumped T-Mobile and Sprint’s robot, and Anheuser-Busch’s environmental stewardship with ‘100% renewable electricity’ is important to all, including 80% of Hispanics and African-Americans. M&M’s ‘Bad passengers’ with Christina Applegate and Bud Light’s ad with HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ appealed regardless of ethnicity. And NFL’s ‘Inspire Change’ reminded us of the importance of education to our polycultural youth’s future, a cause that’s dear to my heart – and perhaps helped compensate for not only a year of turmoil but a mediocre punting Super Bowl proven out by low Nielsen numbers that trended down as the night went on. Rack brain. Recall. As I started writing this the day after Super Bowl, I had to unfortunately re-view and re-review the commercials as all the pop culture celebrities, AI robots, and odes to youth and nostalgia seemed to merge together in an indistinct blur, irregardless of Multiculturals – and irrespective of the brands. As Bill Bernbach once preached to me long ago, ‘If you cannot remember the brand, then it is not effective advertising’.  Thus, as the head of a multicultural agency today, I must concur. By Liz Castells, President, Infusion by Castells Advertising, www.adcastells.comView company profile here.
Super Bowl LIII’s Ads Sidestep the Serious Stuff
It’s no secret that those of us who aren’t as interested as others in the biggest sporting event of the year still tune in to the Super Bowl for, if nothing else, the (hopefully) amazing commercials. A lot of these commercials are high-budget, water cooler convo-bait, and others, like much of pop culture in general, are a reaction to the world and its current collection of turmoils. Not that too many of us need a refresher, but last year wasn’t great, and most, if not all, of the socio-political issues that plagued us then still plague us now (not very surprising since “last year” was all of a month ago). And while last year’s game stole the spotlight excitement-wise, leaving the hype of the annual advertisements to come in second, 2019’s been a different story. A lackluster game (at best) left many an eye trained on an onslaught of ads from the usual beer and automotive suspects, and while I wanted to come away feeling like advertisers “got it,” so to speak, I got a much stronger impression that we were issue-dodging. Representation-wise, it was a mess. Maybe it didn’t feel like it to some — I don’t know — but I barely remember a handful of commercials starring people of color, and I’m including the one with the M&Ms (they are brown, on the inside at least). Point being, besides Cardi B and Lil Jon’s Pepsi commercial with Steve Carell, that 2 Chainz and Adam Scott Expensify commercial and that Doritos commercial starring Chance the Rapper and the Backstreet Boys, what else was there, really? Craig Robinson? Sure, that might sound like a lot, but remember these are literally the only three or four commercials starring high-profile people of color that I can even remember. There were at least fifty “Official Big Game Ads” this year. At least. By Ainsley Andrade, MediaVillage. For more information, contact insites@mediavillage.comView company profile here.
The Biggest Day in American Sports Was a Giant Bore: Both the Game and the Ads (from a Multicultural Standpoint)
The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions for the sixth time and The Great Tom Brady once again proved to the world that he truly is the best quarterback in the history of the NFL. And that’s how Super Bowl LIII can be summarized. Throughout the years, if the game itself was boring, Americans found excitement through commercials. This year, Pepsi didn’t disappoint us this year with “Is Pepsi OK?” and Hyundai’s descending elevator wasn’t too bad either. Just as last year, the companies played it safe and stayed away from any politically or socially hot issues, and focused on social responsibility. Viewers witnessed commercials like Budweiser using wind power to brew beer, Audi committing to 33% of their vehicle going electric by 2025, Google helping the world communicate better by translating over 100 billion words per day, and Microsoft developing the Adaptive Controllers for video games designed for kids with special needs, as setting the stage for social responsibility. Unfortunately, from the multicultural standpoint, it was another disappointing year. While the Super Bowl itself started with many well-known African Americans figures standing on the field, in the commercials, the Avocados from Mexico was about the only one that was multicultural. Many companies are mistaken in thinking that multicultural marketing is just about reaching certain demographics, but the ultimate goal should include elements that can reach the hearts of all people including those with multicultural backgrounds. We at Ethnic Technologies hope and believe that in coming years, this goal will be reached. By Bryan Lee, Sales Manager, Ethnic Technologies,
View company profile here.
Connecting the Global Audience Through Intentional Casting and Messaging 
In the wake of Gillette’s polarizing call to action with their “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” ad (watch here), Super Bowl advertisers took a softer yet more inclusive approach to ad messaging during last night’s game. A new trend of social responsibility and cultural tolerance targeting a wider, more representative world audience was notable, especially visually, in the marketing approach from many big players like Coke, McDonalds, Google and Bumble. While Gillette’s ad tapped into two important goals for any brand – gaining attention and building brand loyalty – many viewers found the direct messaging calling out toxic masculinity as accusatory in nature and thusly isolating men who felt attacked. What is obvious from this round of Super Bowl ads is the visual representation of races and cultures from across the globe; a 2010 study found 92% of creative directors managing Super Bowl ads were white men and the ads certainly mirrored this demographic. A welcome sea change of diversity flooded this year’s ads with an obvious nod to multicultural casting and dialogue supporting inclusivity. Coke’s ad championed the most outstanding message of cultural acceptance, featuring cartoon characters of all walks of life sharing and bonding over their love of Coca Cola. The closing tagline “Different is beautiful. And together is beautiful too” drives the heart of its message home with an image of an interracial couple holding hands, grasping the same red heart. Google’s ad focuses on the power of their service, Google Translate, and how people across cultures use it to connect in every day moments, closing with the most commonly translated phrases – “How are you? Thank you. I love you.” Bumble also takes a soft approach to technology connecting different people, using Serena Williams and her husband as an example of interracial couples visible for the world stage. When these companies employ visual stories alongside intentional brand messaging, they are leading by example with inclusivity and putting a mirror up to society to challenge stereotypes and disrupt intolerance. The subtlety of their visual messaging is not lost on the viewer and gives pause to the intolerant eye; these ads dig deeper than previous years where selling a product was the final goal. Now, social responsibility and personal accountability are driving forces in market messaging as brands look to build loyalty through cultivating a following based on shared belief systems. By Sally Sweet DeLuca, 
Soapbox Sample, www.isacorp.comView company profile here.
Super Bowl LIII – New Tech Age of Advertising? 
The 2019 Super Bowl LIII commercials featured diversity in an obvious way. Remember how a couple of Super Bowls ago, it seemed as though most commercials aired were PETA-approved? Warm and fuzzy stories of animals carried the brands and their messages directly to the viewers’ heart? This year’s Super Bowl Commercials took brand-storytelling to a different and much higher elevations via the tech route.  Whether it was the Amazon Alexa commercial with its humorous spin embracing the potential flaws of the voice-activated AI devices or the Michelob ad where the robot takes on the humans in spinning, running, boxing and emerges triumphant but when it comes to enjoying a cool-frosted beer! The humans have it figured. Then there was the Sprint commercial with Bo Jackson brainstorming with robots. Interspersed with technology was humor. Some of it smile-worthy (Doritos commercial featuring Chance the Rapper and The Backstreet Boys), some barely. When the 2019 Super Bowl commercials are viewed through a multicultural lens, on the surface, they all pass the test. The Alexa/Pringles commercial with a young black male, the Bumble commercial featuring Serena Williams, Planter’s spot with Retired Yankee Alex Rodriguez, etc. Yet there’s a subtle pattern underneath.  For instance, commercials featuring luxury cars (Mercedes Benz’s ad for their A Class or Audi), Beer (Stella Artois), Home Security (SimpliSafe) all have white males as lead actors with a supporting cast comprised of people of various ethnicities. Not sure why multiculturalism has to become obvious only when depicting athletes or rap artists who in turn are picked for promoting shoes, drinks and snacks but are rarely seen behind sleek cars or jet-setting places, camping, rock-climbing, bungee-jumping, etc. The slickly produced Toyota RAV 4 commercial featuring Antoinette Harris, the first female football player to receive a college scholarship for a non-kicking position is a clear winner. The crown however goes to Microsoft’s We all Win commercial featuring children with disabilities sharing their experience of using the Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller. The genuine smiles on the children’s faces made this commercial real. Thank you to Microsoft for featuring disability in a positive and uplifting way. By Timothy Yip/Radhika Panjwani, Èthnico Advertising, View company profile here.
Next Issues:
February 2019

Deadline for copy: February 7th

Theme: Meet the Multicultural Marketing Experts Featured on
March 2019
Deadline for copy: February 26th
Theme: Save the Dates for Key 2019 Multicultural & Diversity Conferences + events
Deadline for copy: February 25th
Theme: Meet the Multicultural Marketing Experts Featured on
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Multicultural Marketing News (MMRNews), is published by Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. (MMR). For a free subscription, sign up here.