Over 110 million Americans are predicted to tune into Super Bowl LII this Sunday. With the ability to reach across geographic, political and socioeconomic boundaries, the Super Bowl provides a momentous platform to expand brand audiences and make a statement on the national stage.
Last year’s commercials brought social good issues to the forefront, drawing on contemporary events to make calls for unity and equality. I predict that this year’s spots will further tap into current social movements as brands share their points of view on today’s biggest issues.
To prep for the big game (and conversations at your Super Bowl party), check out how advertisers have incorporated social good movements into past championship spots.
Coca-Cola’s “America the Beautiful”
Coca-Cola’s 2014 “America the Beautiful” ad was such a hit that the beverage giant revived it in 2017. The cinematic and emotional tour-de-force features Americans of all ethnicities singing a multilingual version of “American the Beautiful” against a backdrop of diverse U.S. landscapes. As with its monumental 1971 commercial, Coca-Cola celebrates the diversity of the American experience showing that, regardless of time or place, the U.S. is a land for all people.
Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way”
For its 2017 Super Bowl spot, Budweiser reached into its past to create a story about immigration and acceptance that would resonate today. “Born the Hard Way” tells the story of Budweiser’s founder, chronicling his trials and triumphs as a German immigrant journeying to America with Hollywood-esque cinematography. Even if you’re not a fan of the “King of Beers,” this astonishing narrative makes you think about the importance of inclusion in American society.
Audi’s “#DriveProgress: Daughter”
Audi of America made waves – and went viral – last year with its “#DriveProgress: Daughter” ad. A part of the automaker’s #DriveProgress campaign, the spot features a father watching his daughter compete in a go-cart race while considering the up-hill battle she’ll face due to gender inequality. “Do I tell [my daughter] that despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?” He asks. In just 60-seconds, Audi tackles the complexities of gender issues and asserts its commitment to equal pay.
Feminine hygiene brand Always’ 2015 Super Bowl commercial tackled gender stereotypes head on by subverting the negative connotations of doing something (such as running, fighting, throwing) “like a girl.” The ad challenges viewers to think about when this phrase turned into an insult and, on a larger scale, how everyday language perpetuates sexism and gender inequality.
Audi’s “Green Police”
Audi has a history of going out on a limb for the Super Bowl, and its 2010 commercial was no exception. “Green Police” follows green-clad authorities arresting polluters for environmental infractions, such as using plastic bags, wasting energy with non-LED lightbulbs or not recycling. While this ad stirred plenty of controversy due to its portrayal of a police state, its message of going green rung loud and clear.
Toyota’s “Transportation is Finally Evolving”
Although Toyota’s first-generation Prius commercial didn’t originally premiere during the Super Bowl, it provided the road map for all subsequent eco-friendly car commercials. This 2008 spot opens with the camera panning across a never-ending field of oil rigs as the narrator proclaims, “there’s a change coming.” In drives the Prius, touting its eco-friendliness and literally – yes literally – toppling oil drills along the way.
Have a favorite socially conscious Super Bowl ad? Let us know in the comments below!