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

Tuesday, Feb 04, 2020

Multicultural Marketing News February 2020
Super Bowl LIV Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective
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.
  • With Few Exceptions, Super Bowl Advertisers Miss the Multiculturalism Goalpost (C+R Research)
  • Superbowl Commercials: FUN AGAIN and Relevant! (MediaVillage)
  • A Tale of Two Targeted Ads (Vision Strategy and Insights)
  • Budweiser’s Well-intended Beer-Goggled “Typical American” Ad Hits a Nerve (C+R Research)
  • LGBTQ Super Bowl 2020 Diversity Score 10, Authenticity -10 (Rivendell Media)
  • Football Meets Fútbol (Ethnic Technologies)
  • Super Bowl LIV: Inspiring Firsts. Diversity with Restraint. Disappointing Many. (INFUSION)
  • Super Bowl LIV Advertising: A Touchdown but No Conversion (d expósito & Partners)
With Few Exceptions, Super Bowl Advertisers Miss the Multiculturalism Goalpost
It is entertainment in the end, but the Super Bowl could be so much more for advertisers willing to put some skin in the game of multiculturalism. We are left with little to nothing worthy of praise from the commercials in a time when consumers are thirsty for messages that are not only engaging but culturally relevant. Sure, most advertisers and their ad agencies have become wiser, and multi-ethnic casting was clearly up to snuff… but casting alone is not enough.  Keeping with tradition, most ads bet on humor and wit to deliver their message and keep viewers entertained. In the end, entertainment is what it’s supposed to be; so maybe I should be fair and think of it from just that perspective. Yet, the multicultural marketer in me sees a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, in a sea of witty ads, two stood out to me; although only one is getting my multicultural “thumbs-up”: Olay’s ‘Make Space for Women’ not only brilliantly and humorously addressed the issue of gender equality and empowerment, but it went beyond by astutely putting out a call to action in benefit of Girls Who Code. NFL’s ‘Inspire change’ is also noteworthy in that it used the game’s platform to bring to light social injustice and the need for reform. Sadly, I can’t help but think it feels a bit self-serving in the aftermath of the reckoning brought onto the league by Collin Kaepernick, especially after the controversial decision not to air PETA’s ad. As far as multiculturalism goes, it is clear there’s a long way to go for Super Bowl advertisers. By Jorge Martínez-Bonilla, Vice President, CultureBeat & LatinoEyes,
View company profiles here and here.
Superbowl Commercials: FUN AGAIN and Relevant!
The advertisements surrounding the Superbowl of yesteryear were about as exciting as the big game itself– which, to be clear, isn’t saying much. However, as if the ad gods themselves heard my unamused cries, the commercials this year have been exponentially better in every way possible. In 2019, they felt boring and tone-deaf, but this year they are clever, sincere, inspirational, and hilarious (not to mention, all around inclusive for once). That’s right. Superbowl commercials are fun, again! Everyone from Queer Eye‘s Jonathan Van Ness, to MC Hammer and Missy Elliot (w/ Grammy Award Winner H.E.R.) did over-the-top ads for companies like Poptarts, Cheetos, and Pepsi, respectively. Post Malone’s spots for Budweiser Seltzer were especially dope, and shared the same light and ridiculous tone as one of my favorite adverts ever, Starburst’s “Mariachi” spotRick and Morty also did a great bit for Pringles, and the Mtn Dew commercial where Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross spoof The Shining had me literally laughing out loud. Jokes aside, I was happy to see that issues like women’s equality, homelessness, and police shootings were all tackled as well, and unlike 2019’s tip toe fest, companies like Olay and Microsoft, Kia, and the NFL (among others) are finally giving them the attention they deserve. By Ainsley Andrade, MediaVillage.
View company profile here.
A Tale of Two Targeted Ads
For the most part, the Super Bowl LIV advertisements stuck to a safe formula. Functional benefits and/or humor were used to anchor targetless messaging. Diverse casting was effectively used to punctuate inclusion. However, few ads made any attempt to appeal to the heart of consumers by leveraging a segment or cultural insight. The ads were appealing, but not compelling. No one was offended, but no one was moved. However, two ads did go out on limb in specifically targeting their messages — one successfully and one not so successfully. Olay targeted women with a message of empowerment and the impact potential of women across a variety of fields. The brilliance of the ad is that it drove this message straight through to an opportunity for action by allowing viewers to participate in funding Girls Who Code. This is an excellent example of targeted advertising and promotion. Now to our second example. An ad can amplify a brand’s personality but it can’t “trump” a viewer’s experience with the brand. This brings us to the Trump ad featuring the Alice Johnson case. Trump targeting African Americans with a message touting his criminal justice reform policies would have required the collective African American community to succumb to a swift bout of amnesia about his historical attacks on our community in order to be believable. As opposed to a skillfully targeted ad, this is an example of expertly executed “gaslighting”. By Brenda P. Lee, Founding Director, Vision Strategy and Insights, 410-521-2147, 
View company profile here.
Budweiser’s Well-intended Beer-Goggled “Typical American” Ad Hits a Nerve

Budweiser’s “Typical American” ad that aired in Super Bowl LIV approached inclusiveness not by focusing on a specific ethnic or national group, but by turning the label “Typical American” on its head and depicting Americans of all walks of life doing atypical and noble things (such as clothing a homeless man, putting out a raging California fire, helping a stranger push his vehicle during a snowstorm, and an African American male offering “Free Hugs” to a line of armored police officers during a protest while a narrator describes stereotypes of the “Typical Americans” in a manner intended to convey irony. While perfectly well-intended on the surface to convey patriotism and showcase the American spirit, I can see the beer-goggled ad hitting a nerve among some that believe that America has room to improve and is not helped by companies commercializing the very real social issues that they are fighting. By Erika Patino, Senior Research Analyst, CultureBeat & LatinoEyes.

View company profiles here and here.
LGBTQ Super Bowl 2020 Diversity Score 10, Authenticity -10
As I watched the Super Bowl 2020 ads I marveled in the inclusion of Diversity!  It was nice to see a celebrity same sex couple (Ellen and Portia for Amazon/Alexa) and celebrity LGBTQs included (Kim Chi and Miz Cracker for Sabra and Jonathan Van Ness for PopTarts) among the wide array of commercials. Once you get over the off putting sting of the Trump ad you can marvel in the fact that business in America is trying its best to be inclusive in a time of a virtual war on women, people of color and of course my own LGBTQs. Still, it makes no sense to me that Amazon, PopTarts and Sabra have never reached out directly to the LGBTQ audience in their own media.  So to me, while I like to be invited to the party, I would really have liked it if someone asked me to dance specifically.  Still, this is progress and when compared to our current Administration and it gives me some hope that business will move us forward -politics be damned. The point really that speaks to all true Americans is who side are these companies on? Are they on the side of inclusion and diversity or exclusion and hate?  Fortunately, I think most mean well and are doing their best to shine some light in dark times. I still wonder about all companies that think the LGBTQ market is good for them either because of the general demographics or for its known brand loyalty and trendsetting characteristics- the cost of just 5 seconds of a Super Bowl ad would deliver a complete saturation of LGBTQ Media and imagine the positive ripple that would bring any one of these companies services or products. By Todd Evans, President and CEO, Rivendell Media. For more information, please contact, 908-232-2021 ext 210.
View company profile here.
Football Meets Fútbol 
A brave new world… Nothing says Americana like the Super Bowl. A feast for ears and eyes, from the pregame, opening ceremony,  to the much anticipated Pepsi Half Time Show all of it screams USA- a USA that knows how to put on a show. While the Super Bowl may be 100% Americana it also reflects the changing faces of America. The NFL Super Bowl is the only championship game where the emphasis is not on the game but rather on the TV commercial spots and the half-time Show.  You don’t hear people talking about MLB World Series Commercials or NBA Finals Half Time Show; even the FIFA World Cup Final, the world’s most watched championship game, the half-time show pales in comparison, and among fans there’s no buzz generated about who will perform in the half-time show or who will have the best TV commercials; simply put, it’s just not a thing.  However, the NFL has succeeded (perhaps out of necessity) in making the Super Bowl more than just about the game. The Pepsi 2020 Half Time Show features two powerful Latina performers, Jennifer Lopez & Shakira. The choice of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira represent the NFL’s acknowledgement that the future of the NFL brand and the game of football lies not only in broadening their appeal to a more culturally diverse U.S. audience but also to fans outside our borders. Jennifer Lopez appeals to the U.S. Latino market while Shakira will have her international following. This is not the first time Latinas have been part of the Half-Time Show. Gloria Estefan has twice performed at the Super Bowl, 1992 in Minnesota and 1999 with Stevie Wonder in Miami. The 1999 performance featured Ms. Estefan singing a song in Spanish, but that seemed more of a domestic appeal; after all, how could Gloria not sing at least one song in Spanish her hometown of Miami; a city long acknowledged as bilingual-America’s Quebec. The halftime show did not disappoint, courtesy of both JLo and Shakira as it was most likely the most danced-to-at-home halftime show. They belted out their collection if hit songs and both women know how to put on a performance.  No doubt that Gloria Estefan lead the way, but JLo and Shakira’s Half-time show had more of a decidedly international and Latin emphasis. It embraced the multicultural face of America. The Budweiser commercial, Typical American, continued the multicultural theme. The commercial’s “show them what a typical American can do” while showing a montage of all different  faces of America was brilliant. Other American sports leagues have had international success such MLB baseball and NBA basketball. The most popular sport in Japan is baseball, and many Japanese players dream of playing baseball in the USA. The NFL has not been so successful. A half-time show with JLo and Shakira is a good way for the NFL to draw attention to their sport and say to the U.S. and the world, we got the memo, the future is multicultural, the world is getting smaller and nothing, no matter what your race, nationality or language brings people together like sports and there is no sport like football. By Anthony Matos, Senior Strategist, Multicultural Markets, Ethnic Technologies, 
View company profile here.
Super Bowl LIV: Inspiring Firsts. Diversity with Restraint. Disappointing Many.
Two diverse superbly matched teams played, with the youngest quarterback ever Patrick Mahomes winning for the long-overdue KC Chiefs. Two superb coaches led the field, with the beloved Andy Reed winning after a long career with 222 wins. And two superb powerhouses, JLo and Shakira, did a dual act as the first ever Hispanic headliners, and for the longest awe inspiring, hip shaking, energy boosting half-time performance ever. They brought Latino culture to the forefront and underscored what a relevant, important force the Hispanic community is in the U.S. At this most American of all events that brings people together to celebrate what unites us, they represented the true heritage of America, which is one of diversity, redefining paradigms of race/ethnicity and age. To me, this was the most effective and authentic display of Multiculturals’ influence, surpassing the slew of ads covering women, LGBTQ and nearly every ethnicity. Why? Because many ads became ineffective in their caution to not offend anyone, or too purposely ‘inclusive’ in casting or message that it seemed fake or forced, and including political ads inappropriately using people of color to sell their message on this grand stage. Yes, some ads did feel authentic. They included NFL’s tribute to the past and next 100 stars; Secret’s ‘Let’s kick inequality’, Olay’s all-female ‘Make space for women’; Pepsi’s bold ad for Zero Sugar set to ‘Paint it black’ with Missy Elliot and H.E.R.; Microsoft’s ‘It only takes one’ withKatie Sowers’ inspiring first as a female Super Bowl coach; TurboTax’s ad ‘All People Are Tax People Remix’, T-Mobile’s 5G coverage ad with Anthony Anderson and his real-life Mom; the hilarious Doritos’ ‘The Cool Ranch’ with Lil Nas X, Sam Elliott and Billy Ray Cirus; and P&G’s ‘When we come together’ ad (because we know they practice what they preach.) The universal ads fared well, as regardless of race or ethnicity, there are common human truths, humor or references that we can all relate to, like New York Life’s ‘Agape’ kind of love on the courageous actions people take to protect their loved ones; Budweiser’s ‘Typical American’ juxtaposing extraordinary uplifting moments with the common labels placed on Americans; Verizon’s ad about the ‘amazing things 5G won’t do’ focused on First responders; Facebook’s ‘Get Ready to Rock’; Jeep’s ‘Today isn’t just Game Day. It’s Groundhog Day’; the next installment of Bud Light’s Post Malone- and my personal favorite, Google’s ‘Loretta’ where technology helps a man recall loving moments with his late wife including how ‘she snorted when she laughed’. And being a dog fanatic, I related to Dignity Health’s ad with a German Shepard leading a wheelchair-bound woman, and WeatherTech CEO’s ‘Scout’ ad. But many ads felt forced in their attempted display of diversity or lacked context.  And the rest of the ads were so overburdened with celebrities or trying too hard to be clever. Or they simply did not resonate with me as either a spectator or a seasoned ad executive critic. Or maybe… I just didn’t get the point because I am one of the ‘Multiculturals’ who make up America, and the joke was lost in translation. By Liz Castells-Heard, CEO/Chief Strategy Officer, INFUSION.
View company profile here.
Super Bowl LIV Advertising: A Touchdown but No Conversion
Super Bowl advertising has come a long way. This year’s commercials were no longer limited to male targets with creative using guy humor to get a good laugh and be memorable. The categories represented were no longer dominated by the more traditional ones, like beer, soft drinks, snacks and automobiles, but included technology, beauty and, of course, politics. Female-targeted spots were in full force, with empowering, #FutureIsFemale-themed creative including Secret, Olay and Genesis; as were messages of sustainability from Saucony and SodaStream. The casting selection made major strides in terms of diversity, with spots featuring protagonists representing the Black, Asian, Hispanic, 50-plus and LGBTQ+ communities. While Super Bowl advertising has made major strides at reflecting the new American reality, my overall assessment is that this year’s portfolio scored a touchdown without achieving the extra point conversion. That’s because no brand truly seized the opportunity to connect with the Latino consumer during a Super Bowl that was deeply infused with Latino culture and energy. The backdrop was Miami, a city that bridges the U.S. and Latin America. Demi Lovato, who is of Mexican and Portuguese heritage, opened the show by singing the National Anthem. The halftime show entertainment came courtesy of Puerto Rico and Colombia, headlined by none other than Jennifer López and Shakira, two Latina global superstars whose fandom knows no boundaries. Together with Bad Bunny and J. Balvin, two of today’s hottest and most trending artists, they gave us a sensational celebration of Latino culture that was fit for the global stage and indicative of our influence on American mainstream culture. I asked my fellow partner and CCO at our agency, Paco Olavarrieta, for his thoughts, who said, “The halftime show was an epic ad for our brand as a Latino community and a fantastic showcase of our vibrant culture with zest for life. It’s now forever part of this quintessential American sport, and it made me proud of being Latino in this country; not to mention it made me want to move my hips!” Despite all of this, the advertising shown largely ignored America’s largest minority group. Sure, Hyundai tapped Dominican MLB player, Big Papi, with some good-natured ribbing over his accent, and P&G tapped Sofia Vergara and her one-of-a-kind personality for a spot that featured multiple brands. But overall, advertisers fell short of connecting with Latinos in a way that matched our contributions to and viewership of this iconic festivity. Where were the brands like Modelo Especial, that pay tribute to the immigrant, working-class families that help build this country? Why didn’t we see Spanish-language ads with English subtitles, like we did for Buchanan’s Whiskey during the World Series? While true there was a commercial for Presidente Beer that featured Alex Rodriguez sharing his prideful story as a son of Dominican immigrants, that creative only aired in Miami and New York. Granted, at approximately $6 million for a :30 national spot, we can’t expect all brands to make that investment. However, given the expanded and evolved level of storytelling in this year’s Super Bowl advertising, and since many brands that did invest have had Hispanic-targeted programs for decades, I would have hoped to see at least one commercial that features a Latino-centric story that transcends culture and speaks to the masses. Making such a statement would go a long way towards courting the Latino consumer by reflecting the brand’s understanding of today’s new America; one where the Latino community has no doubt helped build this country, both figuratively and literally, yet hasn’t felt much love given the socio-political environment. Instead, advertisers fumbled the ball and left Hispanic consumers singing J-Lo’s song, asking themselves, “¿y el anillo pa’ cuándo?” (where’s the ring?). Perhaps the long held assumption that we Latinos only watch soccer prevailed, yet again, despite the fact that the Super Bowl consistently ranks as the #1 TV program viewed among Hispanics regardless of language, year over year. Perhaps we in the advertising industry need to do a better job at informing and even challenging our clients to get with the times so they do not miss out on these types of opportunities to make a profound statement on a global stage. Perhaps I should be content with the fact that the portfolio of advertising shown has evolved to be much more diverse and inclusive, with creative that addresses timely topics that really matter. While I do commend the progress made by the advertising community, we still have room for improvement. Next year, let’s convert every point at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, another Latino-oriented city where the industry can really score big by truly reflecting today’s New America. By Louis Maldonado, Partner and Managing Director, d expósito & Partners.
View company profile here.
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