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Super Bowl LV Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective (Multicultural Marketing News) #2

Wednesday, Feb 10, 2021
Multicultural Marketing News February 2021

Super Bowl LV Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective

Super Bowl Ads Multicultural Commentary Issue #2

Super Bowl ads have, once again, provoked commentary from advertising experts in marketing to Hispanic, Asian American, African American, LGBTQ consumers 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. Enjoy our 9th annual edition of this newsletter published since 2013. View past issues.

  • Let’s Be Real. A Quick Look at 2021’s Super Bowl Spots. (EMCAY)
  • Logitech’s Queer Ad Defies Tradition (C+R Research)
  • Brands Are Ready to Forget 2020. But is it Too Soon? (fluent360)
  • Humor + Inclusion + Michael B. Jordan  – Showing the Lighter Side to the Black Experience (C+R Research)
  • Super Bowl Ads: Still Not Enough Multiculturalism (and for many, still missing the Goalpost) (C+R Research)

Let’s Be Real. A Quick Look at 2021’s Super Bowl Spots.
If you want to understand how people of color tick, look no further than the latest proliferation of Mom and Pop shops on the internet selling “My Vice President Looks Like Me” T-shirts and onesies. When people of color, find a hero or a cause that reflects who they are, they go all out. Authenticity matters. As far as Super Bowl XV goes, it’s probably safe to say that Michael B. Jordan for Amazon, Maya Rudolf for KLARN, Don Cheadle for Michelob Ultra, Cardi B. in a cameo for UberEats and a very funny Tracy Morgan for Rocket Mortgage were effective in speaking to all people and specifically to ethnic viewers who might appreciate the fact that these people are “getting paid.” Sure. Casting a popular celebrity in a well written, well-produced Super Bowl spot can appeal to a lot of people. But can we go deeper? Where are the insights that will resonate authentically? Last night, two spots stood out. The first is Logitech with L’il Nas X, the proud gay rapper from last year’s Doritos Cool Ranch spot. This year, in a more serious tone he tells us “ …to create the future, you must defy the logic of the past. We must defy logic.” This rally cry is a clever way of saying discrimination is an old idea that you don’t have to accept anymore. Simple and to the point. The second spot is a mere 4 second vignette from the :30 “Come Together” spot from M&MMars. “Sorry I called you a Karen.” to which the other woman responds, “That’s my name.” And without missing a beat, she says “I’m sorry your name is Karen.” Mars advertising has always successfully leveraged humor in their advertising, but here they’ve upped the ante. Showing solidarity with the people who are on intimate terms with the Karen phenomenon is a savvy move, one that will no doubt impact affinity for the brand. By Lisa Llewellyn, Creative Director, EMCAY,
View company profile here.

Logitech’s Queer Ad Defies Tradition
Logitech’s Super Bowl spot was all about defiance, so it is fitting it was most successful in defying the tradition of ignoring the LGBTQ+ community in the Super Bowl. The ad heavily featured Lil Nas X, a gay rapper and country music star. Unlike others, the ad does not just rely on casting a well-known queer person; there are also queer themes throughout the ad. Rainbows, drag performers, Lil Nas X wearing a sparkly cowboy suit and nail polish, and references to how Lil Nas X has defied expectations of the rap and country music scenes  make the ad queer through and through. Plus, the ad features the first snippet of his upcoming single “Montereo (Call Me By Your Name),” which references the popular book and 2017 movie about two gay men. There were several other Super Bowl ads this year that also featured well-known LGBTQ+ people, including M&M’s ad with Dan Levy, Michelob Ultra’s with Billie Jean King, and RuPaul in one of many ads for Paramount+ (the new streaming service does have more than just one show with LGBTQ+ people, right?), but overall, there were fewer LGBTQ+ celebrity appearances than last year’s Super Bowl ads. By Anna Rossi, Senior Research Analyst, C+R Research.
View company profiles here and here.

Brands Are Ready to Forget 2020. But is it Too Soon?
If you watched this year’s Super Bowl ads, you’d never know the big game is being held in a country reeling from a raging pandemic, a government coup attempt, and the biggest struggle for racial justice since the Civil Rights Movement. For 3 blissful hours, viewers may feel like we’ve finally pushed past the pain of 2020, and that the new dawn Amanda Gorman spoke about during the inauguration is finally on the horizon. But are we ready to move on? To be fair, one might argue that’s exactly what we need right now. A break from the trauma marathon to laugh at a rap about stolen snacks (Cheetos), blush at a shirtless male Alexa (Amazon), and make lemonade out of lemon-filled year (Bud Light). This feels a bit too soon. While most brands shared heartfelt responses to the racial injustices of last year, did those eloquent social media statements truly shift behavior, awareness and consciousness of our country? Were those generous donations and brand videos from June the last time we’ll hear companies speak about the country’s inequity issues? With fewer Super Bowl gatherings, 2021 presents a rare opportunity of a more captive and attentive audience during this year’s commercials. People are looking for a message of unity, of reflection, of recognizing the reality we are all living as a country. While the humor is appreciated, the ad industry may have missed a unique opportunity to acknowledge our progress through struggle, and remind us all that the journey towards change continues despite a historic election year. Time will tell how committed companies truly are to the communities they stand for throughout the year. For now, enjoy a break from ‘unprecedented times’ and a few good laughs we all deserve. By Tracey Coleman, Creative Director, fluent360, & Héctor Arellano, Associate Creative Director, fluent360,

View company profile here.

Humor + Inclusion + Michael B. Jordan  – Showing the Lighter Side to the Black Experience
This year, like many previous years, viewers were excited to get a glimpse at the commercial spectacles during the Super Bowl. Some might say that viewers were paying even more attention this year due to a desire for some levity and escapism from the divisiveness and pandemic that continues to linger throughout the country. This year, one of the breakout stars was notably Amazon’s “Alexa Body” commercial. Featuring the Sexiest Man Alive,Michael B. Jordan, who is definitely not a sight for sore eyes, it’s not a surprise that women far and wide were amused by his appearance in this commercial. The script and how it was shot brought a sense of humor and cleverness that has been lacking from what we typically see with commercials. However, what was most notable and welcomed by those with a multicultural marketing trained eye was the steering away from stereotypes. The lead character in the commercial is an educated dark-skinned Black woman (who notably wears her hair in a beautiful, braided hair style). She holds a job at Amazon, a mega company, in their design or engineering department. She’s married to a successful Black man, depicting a stable loving relationship the community often lacks in seeing. She lives in a luxurious upper-class home. She has girls’ night out with a multicultural group of friends, who might I add are also in awe of Michael B. Jordan. Her husband’s friends are also diverse. And the final scenes show her practicing self-care rituals including working out, and taking a moment to relax for a hot bath. With Black History Month here and upon us, it doesn’t escape us that the usual depictions of the Black Community are associated with struggle, hustle, and racial trauma. The statement “The Struggle Is Real” often used in the Black community is a testament to this. This ad breaks free from these associations, allowing us the joy of seeing a Black woman thriving in her workplace with the room to daydream about having Michael B. Jordan in her house. To top it off, the commercial makes no big deal about the fact that she’s in the position she is in. It’s shown as natural and to be expected. The takeaway is that maybe there is hope. Maybe we, as marketers, are moving into a world where struggle isn’t the only thing synonymous with the Black experience. By Ashleigh Williams, Senior Research Director​, C+R Research,
View company profiles here and here.

Super Bowl Ads: Still Not Enough Multiculturalism (and for many, still missing the Goalpost)
Of all years -this one in particular- we all need a little distraction, a little something to take our minds off the stress and plain heartbreaking effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and so many other ailments that afflict us. The Super Bowl did well in serving us with a healthy dose of distraction and levity (except for the losing team, of course). Whether you looked to the event because you love the sport or simply wanted to get a laugh out of the creative ads, you likely got in a laugh or two. But this year’s event also delivered  heartache and disappointment, because as far as representation goes and serving a greater purpose, the event and many of the advertisers could have done so much more. The Super Bowl gives brands an opportunity to not only wink at their audiences through witty and engaging ads, but also to drive a meaningful and profound message. The biggest sporting event of the year and the messages delivered by those spending millions, once again, left multicultural marketing practitioners wishing for more, especially to elevate the realities and dreams of multiculturals and people of color. With so many events to dive into and build upon to drive social change, advertisers missed a unique opportunity: sure, there was a little bit more diversity in many commercials, but it felt dull in light of the enormous responsibilities that brands and companies have as social actors. More than criticism, however, we should think of this experience as a call to action, because the dollars invested by all these brands are capable of doing so much more!  It is certainly hard to please everyone and more importantly, to create a masterpiece in the midst of a pandemic, but I choose to believe that brands, marketers, creative agencies and the entire branding and marketing communities can drive change through creativity. I applaud the efforts made by many of the advertisers: kudos, Amazon! Your Alexa commercial is a welcome effort to demystifying the Black consumer and give the Black community the spotlight it deserves, without the negative stereotypes. Anheuser-Busch’s subtle call to unity and support for each other touches a chord and inspires across ethnicities and cultures. Indeed’s “The Rising” inspires and gives hope, regardless of color. But among all, my favorite was Jeep’s “The Middle”… we all need to hear what it says and work towards that ideal: the middle has indeed been a hard place to get to lately. And that is true when it comes to multiculturalism. I only wish The Middle had touched a little bit more on that because, after all, all cultures and all races have dreams worth dreaming, and they’re easier to achieve when we all work together. By Jorge Martínez-Bonilla, Vice President, C+R Research,
View company profiles here and here.

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February 2021 Newsletters

Black History Month Issue
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