SB LV: Some Bright Spots in a Celebrity-Filled Ad Game

Ashley Sanders & Danisha Lomax
Published February 10, 2021
  • Social Media

Advertisers led the big game with celebrity formulas, and some tackled gender, diversity and inclusion. Representation in front of the camera was consistent with 2020 levels and showed a continued commitment to casting women of all types. But behind the camera, directors were 5% women and 7% people of color, indicating a much-needed shift around those who write and direct these ads. 

The 3% Movement watched for women, diversity, and brands with a purpose. Ad pros gathered virtually and tweeted using #3PercentSB to evaluate ads with a scorecard that asked:
- Is the cast diverse?
- Is the spot defying stereotypes?
- Does it have the kind of message we need right now?

Here is some of the best media we liked from Super Bowl Sunday.

Huggies “Welcome to the World, Baby”

This feel-good spot was a great example of dads getting their hands dirty and presented a stark contrast to the millions of moms that left the workforce in 2020.

Indeed "The Rise"

Indeed focused on real-life experiences of Americans job searching during the pandemic. The spot featured "real job seekers that are at various stages of their journey" including a visibly pregnant woman preparing for an interview, warm moments between mothers and daughters ahead of "the search" and various perspectives of the journey. Indeed adds a nice touch of hope to the spot, featuring the 19-year-old TikTok star, Christian Shelton, singing Andra Day's ‘Rise Up'.

Klarna “The Four Quarter Sized Cowboys”

Funny woman Maya Rudolph stars as 4 quarter-sized cowboys and uses Klarna’s buy now pay later program to get some boots -- but the real twist is a Black woman in an Old West setting, a common Super Bowl scene. Post-game this campaign aims to feature more small and minority-owned businesses.

Michelob Ultra “Happy”

Can we kick it? Yes you can. Alex Morgan, Anthony Davis, Brooks Koepka, Peyton Manning and Serena Williams all star in this feel-good spot. If seeing this cast enjoying life over a killer soundtrack and Mich Ultra doesn’t make you happy, we don’t know what does.

Rockstar Energy “Spotlight” 

This spot brings a different perspective that challenges the traditional success narrative, as told to us by rapper Lil Baby. The spot highlights the hustle and dedication of first responders, cultural influencers and entrepreneurs including a Black woman fashion designer, a woman tattoo artist, and barber. "Real rock stars don’t chase the spotlight. It chases them.

Toyota “Upstream”

Every Super Bowl, Toyota is one of the most inclusive advertisers--and this year is no different. The spot tells the story of Paralympian Jessica Long, a double-leg amputee with an incredible backstory who went on to achieve massive success in swimming. It’s an inspiring message of achievement, beautifully shot.

Bay Area Favorites;

DoorDash “The Neighborhood”

For 50+ years Sesame Street has tackled tough issues, from racism to disabilities. And beyond Daveed Diggs’ beloved role in Hamilton, he is a Black, Jewish Oakland native who is vocal about the progress we need to make.

Chipotle “Can a Burrito Change the World?”

Can a burrito change the world? Chipotle’s pledge to donate $5M to farmers over the next 5 years will certainly help. In total, 71% of the team behind the spot identify as women, people of color, or LGBTQIA+. 

Logitech "Defy Logic" 

To create the future, you must defy the logic of the past, Lil Nas X proclaims. He gained stardom with his hit song Old Town Road and continues to openly own his experience as a queer Black man. In this spot, Logitech shines a light on creators from all backgrounds. “We defy expectations, perceptions, and misconceptions,” Lil Nas X  says as images of people challenging the status quo flash across the screen. “We defy what logic says we should look like, sound like, be like...We defy that little voice that says, ‘Oh, no, we can’t’ with a roar back that says, ‘Oh, yes, we will.’”

Honorable mentions:  

  • Passionate pre-kickoff performances from Amanda Gorman, H.E.R, Eric Church & Jazmine Sullivan.
  • The first-ever woman to officiate a Super Bowl and the first time that two women coached during – and won -- the big game.

This piece was originally featured in the; SF Egotist.

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