Why Super Bowl Ads Are Becoming Less Traditional

By January 29, 2015 No Comments

You’ve all heard the news — the Super Bowl ads are going to be “less traditional” this year. Domestic abuse, women’s rights, gay rights, and “Dads buying diapers” are all issues that will be tackled on the largest communication platform in the world. Not what you’d expect to see during football: but why is that?

Is this a result of brands and marketing managers taking a stand on issues, or is it about targeting secondary markets? Is it about giving the disenfranchised hope or giving them purchasing power? Does it move the needle on social issues, or does it just move the needle on sales?

And what of the agencies making these videos? Are they in it for the same reasons? Do they make ads to communicate a message, or do they make them to sell products? I guess it depends on whether you’re talking to Grey or Goodby. But the people making them are just like you and me.

Ultimately, it comes down to just one thing: how will the millions of football fans react? Fans are in every city and of every religion, race, creed, political affiliation and tax bracket. Will Super Bowl advertising change anyone’s mind about anything, or will it just reinforce our existing beliefs? Will it give a voice to the unspoken problems facing our nation, or does it make the unspoken easier to blow off as a cheap marketing ploy?

Should a brand have a position on women’s rights?

Should a brand have a position on anything?

Should a brand have anything?

Do we have anything? We have a voice.

Advertising is a cultural snapshot. It captures us, just as we are. We allow brands a voice because we trust them to share ours. We fund their coffers so they can continue to promote positions we agree with. The Super Bowl ads this year are less traditional because WE are less traditional.

It’s that simple. There is no more to this story. Stop thinking about it.

And buy Dove.