Super Bowl Ads Multicultural Commentary

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


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