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Super Bowl LVII Ads Analysis: A Multicultural Perspective (Multicultural Marketing News)

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2023
Multicultural Marketing News February 2023

Super Bowl LVII 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, 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 10th annual edition of this newsletter published since 2013. View past issues.

  • Super Bowl Raises Hispanic Fan & Athlete Visibility (Quantasy + Associates)
  • Pat Tillman Foundation Scholars – Making an Impact on Super Bowl Viewers (Ethnic Technologies)
  • Two Super Bowl Ads that Emotionally Manipulated Viewers (Horowitz Research)
  • Super Bowl 2023: Multicultural Representation Notably Wanes for Hispanics & Asian Americans (INFUSION)
  • Paramount Plus Ad Demonstrates the Broad Appeal of Representation (Collage Group)
  • Boring is NICE! (Rivendell Media)
  • Though Representation Increased, Super Bowl Ads Fall Flat in Making Cultural Connections (C+R Research)
  • Select Super Bowl Ads Make Multiculturalism and Diversity a Priority (C+R Research)
Super Bowl Raises Hispanic Fan & Athlete Visibility
According to a recent ThinkNow report, 36% of Hispanics follow the NFL. Football is our most beloved sport, beating out both soccer (12%) and boxing (13%). As a fan, creative and strategist, I was eager to see how Hispanics might be represented, if at all. I wasn’t disappointed. The theme art for Super Bowl LVII, held in Phoenix and only a stones throw from Mexico, was created by a Chicana, Native American artist, Lucinda “La Morena” Hinojos and communicated the vibrancy and interconnectedness of our communities. The design was marquee, not only appearing on tickets but on OOH displays (including the exterior of State Farm Stadium). A hat with the design, worn by Jalen Hurts during promotional hits, was sold out online. Equally compelling was the NFL’s “Run WIth It” ad featuring Diana Flores that placed her at the center of the action, running across and away from other contributors to pop culture (e.g, Mr. Beast) and onto the next chapter of the sport. Its bilingual, multigenerational and comedic approach was inspiring. By halftime, my party-goers took to playing a game where we’d guess the category and/or brand before it was disclosed in the ad. What cues were available and how did this map onto our perception of brands’ self perception? You should try this at home. As irresistible as the ads were this year, my party-goers couldn’t resist the pull of their phones. Not because we scanned QR codes (no one at my party did) but because we wanted to contextualize the ads, share our opinions and compare those opinions to others. Brands that leverage this behavior will help push the next generation of Super Bowl advertising campaigns. By Carlos Aguilar, Editorial Director, Quantasy and Associates,
View company profile here.
Pat Tillman Foundation Scholars – Making an Impact on Super Bowl Viewers
As I watched the Super Bowl coverage this year, I was struck by so many of the personal stories that were highlighted. As I prepared to watch the commercials closely so I could weigh in today, I could not stop thinking about some of those stories. Then, the game ended and I had barely taken any notes on the ads, as I have always done in previous years. I was entertained but underwhelmed at the same time. I thought to myself, the human stories I saw during the pre-game were so much more riveting. So I decided to pick one out to highlight this year, instead of a write up about a commercial. Four Pat Tillman Foundation (PTF) Tillman Scholars, each making an impact in their respective industries, represented the enduring legacy of service that Pat Tillman left behind and served as the honorary coin toss captains at Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium. All four are true inspirations and heroes, and here is one of their stories: HYEJUNG PARK, Ph.D. (U.S. Army Reservist – Ph.D., Developmental Psychology): As a beneficiary of the California Dream Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Dr. HyeJung Park has first-hand experience of the value of American democracy and the impact of American voters who exercise their right to promote equality, equity and justice. These experiences inspired her to pursue both military service and academic research to contribute to our community’s promotion of equitable opportunities for the next generation of young people. HyeJung completed her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at ASU in 2022, examining the promotive and protective factors that buffer life stressors while fostering growth among marginalized youth. HyeJung aspires to be a collaborator/developer of empirically-supported legislation to promote resilient development for at-risk and marginalized youth. She hopes to be an effective liaison between the developmental research community and Congress, to inform public policy development, implementation and evaluation. (Source: Dr. Park is an example of an immigrant who not only lives the American dream, but lives to serve. She should be held up as a role model to all young people, and in particular young female immigrants. Her service speaks for itself, and it’s no surprise she received this honor from the Pat Tillman Foundation. There were so many other inspirational and aspirational human stories this year, too many to include. I will end by mentioning two more historic moments: our nation’s first all-female flyover, and our first Super Bowl with two Black quarterbacks. This year’s broadcast was in my opinion more about the real people who we should celebrate, and less about the commercials. By Karen Sinisi, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ethnic Technologies,
View company profile here.
Two Super Bowl Ads that Emotionally Manipulated Viewers
As conversations around brand and advertising resonance center increasingly around one’s corporate ethos and how a company’s values align with the messages advertising sends, two ads from the Super Bowl this year are worth comparing and contrasting. Both ads were not-very-veiled attempts at emotionally manipulating the audience. One is the ad by Farmer’s Dog food, a company that makes human-grade dog food delivered on a subscription basis. The brand has built a cult following among dog lovers for the quality of their food and the transparency of their sourcing and business practices. Their ad, titled Ava and Bear, was the clear winner of the Super Bowl ad contest this year. Was I emotionally manipulated? Yes. As a dog lover, this ad did more than just tell the simple, pure story of the love between a girl and her dog. It touched on the one painful truth that all of us who love dogs know: That one day, our beloved best friend will inevitably cross that rainbow bridge. We are, in all likelihood, going to outlive our fur babies, and that thought is utterly heartbreaking. The promise Farmer’s Dog makes in this ad— that their high quality dog food from a company you can trust can help extend your dog’s life— is communicated succinctly in the closing message “nothing matters more than more years together.” As a dog lover, there’s nothing that I could possibly want more from a dog food company, so after sobbing big, wet tears into my sweet pup Bella’s fur for a good five minutes, I placed my first order for Farmer’s Dog. And then came the ads for Jesus. This campaign is emotional manipulation of a very different— and sinister— sort. The ad titled Love you Enemies seems to have a simple, pure message about tolerance, as aligned with Jesus’ teachings. On the surface, it is easy to see why so many liked this campaign, especially Americans who are religious. This ad features images of confrontational Americans enraged with each other and reminds that Jesus “loved the people we hate.” The ad opens with a Black Lives Matter protester engaged in confrontation with a police officer, and continues with various other images of angry people engaged in conflict. Another Jesus ad, Refugee, draws a direct parallel between the story of Jesus’s family fleeing to Egypt and today’s immigrants and refugees, especially from Latin America. Each in the series of ads seems to hint that Jesus would have fallen on the more “progressive” side of the divisiveness today. But, buyer beware. The funders of these ads are nothing like the Farmer’s Dog, whose value proposition of quality and transparency is directly aligned with the spirit of their ad. These ads are part of a broader agenda underwritten by the same billionaires who are funding ultra-conservative right wing politicians all the way from school boards and local courthouses to senators, representatives, governors, and even presidential candidates (and ex-presidents). While sending this message of tolerance through their $20 million dollar campaign, they are pushing anti-LGBTQIA+ and anti-trans legislation; fighting tooth and nail against more humane immigrant policies; stripping schools of books that teach Black History, about the Holocaust, about gender diversity, and about diversity overall; criminalizing teachers in an attempt to control what’s taught in public schools; have criminalized abortion in many states; and are actively focused on taking women’s rights, civil rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights back fifty years. Their ads preach tolerance, but their actions, and their agenda, prove otherwise. I have a strong feeling most of the American public—and especially America’s young people— will see right through this performative campaign. By Adriana Waterston, Chief Revenue Officer and Insights and Strategy Lead, Horowitz Research, 914-834-5999,
View company profile here.
Super Bowl 2023: Multicultural Representation Notably Wanes for Hispanics & Asian Americans
The Super Bowl 2023 commercials brought us the expected mix of high-profile brand celebrities, even multiples in one spot (why just have Pete Davidson when you can also have Jon Hamm and Brie Larson too, as Hellmann’s did?). But while advertisers claim they are portraying diversity and Black talent featured has seen major gains, the same cannot be said for Hispanic and Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI). And the most diverse ads were not by major Corporate brands, but the Jesus rebranding campaign, “He Gets Us.” Nearly one-third of the 74 Super Bowl celebrities featured in ads were African-American, many the same as years past like Kevin Hart for Draft Kings, Snoop Dogg for Skechers, Sean “Diddy” Combs for Uber, Maya Rudolph for M&M and Serena Williams for Rémy Martin. However, progress is painfully slow in Hispanic leading roles with only 4 in leading roles and none for AAPI. Representation improved with background character casting so that brands can purport “inclusive” campaigns, and this unfortunately mirrors DEI improvements where gains are most often in lower positions while lacking in the C-Suite. Low Hispanic representation is particularly glaring given they are the largest minority, 1 in 5 Americans, and 69% being NFL fans, now higher than Whites (66%). Again unfortunately, this parallels low Hispanic representation in the general media and Hollywood where they are under 5% of lead/ensemble actors in TV or films. This also noted a step backwards from 2020 that both featured more Hispanics in ads and a halftime performance with Hispanic royalty JLo, Shakira, Bad Bunny and J. Balvin. No offense to Rihanna, whose talent and appeal transcends ethnicity and was a powerhouse extravaganza. The one Hispanic ad that stood out was the NFL’s women-focused Super Bowl Ad “Run With It” featuring Mexican flag-football quarterback Diana Flores running her moves ahead of an entourage of players, sports legends and influencers. Now to be fair, many of the big Super Bowl brands do have Spanish-language campaigns, but Spanish alone is not Hispanic marketing—no offense to Univision, Telemundo, Entravision and all the very important Hispanic media. Hispanic representation needs to go more mainstream, given Hispanics’ importance and that 63% of all Hispanic viewing goes to English media. The portrayals, or lack thereof, of Hispanics and AAPI deeply impact how fellow Americans view them and diminish their impact and contributions—and how the whole world sees our country which in reality is much richer in its diversity than represented by major brands this Super Bowl. I think as an industry, we can do so much better. By Liliana Ramirez, Sr. Director of Strategy & Insights, INFUSION,
View full company profile here.
Paramount Plus Ad Demonstrates the Broad Appeal of Representation
While there were several amusing and interesting Super Bowl commercials, one that really hit the mark in terms of offering a multiculturalism perspective was the Paramount Plus ad. Its wide range of popular characters highlights the breadth of the platform’s content and provides a relatable character for everyone. While normally a wide-but-shallow approach to representation leaves a lot to be desired, the nature of Paramount Plus makes for a fun and relatable romp through a plethora of characters. A lineup of cartoon characters, including Dora of “Dora the Explorer,” and Beckett Mariner of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” appeals to Hispanic and Black audiences (kids and parents). Sylvester Stallone, who has been appearing in and making movie cameos since the 70’s – appeals to baby boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials. Rounding out the ad’s cast of characters was Jim Dangle, a cult-favorite, openly gay character from “Reno 911.” By sparking nostalgia, leaning into broad representation, and promoting the benefits of streaming technology, Paramount Plus showed a massive Super Bowl audience why they can be the streaming platform for you. No matter who you are. By Jack Mackinnon, Senior Director of Cultural Insights, Collage Group,
View full company profile here.
Boring is NICE!
Pretty much every year I write something about the Super Bowl ads from an LGBTQ+ point of view and well here I am so this year is no different in that regard. What is different is that there was nothing special to report on after reviewing all the ads and watching in real time. Nothing controversial, nothing stereotypical, no tokenism and yet LGBTQ+ (as a gay couple) were included like everyone else in the McDonald’s ad- there for everyone to see- to notice or not notice and I say this is a good thing. I’ll take boring over controversy anytime and with all that is going on in the
world, it seemed everyone felt the same way. I read in The Week, one of my favorite magazines, that “This year’s ads took a very light touch and focused on being fun and making the viewer feel good.” I agree. It felt good to be just a part of America with no need to make a statement. Finding out that M&M’s was not retiring their mascots at the end of the game- well that also made me feel good too. By Todd Evans, President and CEO, Rivendell Media,
View company profile here.
Though Representation Increased, Super Bowl Ads Fall Flat in Making Cultural Connections
This year, it was refreshing to see that most companies seem to finally be reflecting the multicultural make-up of this country by showcasing diverse people in their ads. It was a joy to see the NFL ad, “Run With It” showcasing a Mexican female athlete inspiring and celebrating the women pushing football forward. There were some ads that were touching, such as the Farmer’s Dog ad, that may or may not have brought a tear to my eye, while others utilized nostalgia to entertain and make a connection with the audience. In the end, the ads that we will remember are those that made us laugh, made us cry, or made us angry, such as the Tubi Interface Interruption ad. However, advertisers once again missed the opportunity to make a culturally relevant connection with multicultural audiences. As I watched the game with my Mexican parents, who wanted to partake in this American pastime, it was apparent that none of the advertisers made an effort to speak to them to make a genuine connection. Maybe next year… By Erika Patino, Research Director, C+R Research,
View company profiles here and here.
Select Super Bowl Ads Make Multiculturalism and Diversity a Priority
The Super Bowl ads are known for featuring big celebrities and the 2023 ads were no different. This year, while a lot of ads featured people of color or LGBTQ+ celebrities, there were a few ads that went beyond inclusion to put multiculturalism and diversity front and center. The McDonald’s ‘Knowing Their Order’ ad included celebrities Cardi B and Offset, but it was the cast around them that stood out most. In this ad, a variety of couples proved they knew the other’s McDonald’s order as a sign of their love for that person. And the couples McDonald’s chose to include showcased the diversity of its customer base – young and older couples, white, Black, and Hispanic couples, English and Spanish speaking couples, straight and gay couples. Another ad that put multiculturalism at the forefront was run by the NFL itself. Diana Flores went viral last year after a clip of her fancy footwork and evasive maneuvers in Mexico’s 2022 national collegiate flag football championship was posted online. During the Super Bowl, the NFL’s ‘Run With It’ ad featured Flores showing off her moves as she avoids a mob of people trying to pull her flags. While most of the ad was focused on Flores, the ad as whole was a tribute to all the ‘women pushing football forward.’ It’s exciting to see the NFL begin to recognize women in the sport and to do so with such a great Hispanic player! By Anna Rossi, Research Director, C+R Research,
View company profiles here and here.
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