While many tuned in to watch the Super Bowl for the game itself, a significant number of viewers are drawn to a different show: the battle of the advertisers. Each year, brands compete fiercely to authentically connect and win the loyalty of millions of diverse viewers worldwide through Super Bowl advertising.
From automobiles and apparel to consumer packaged goods (CPGs), brands across various industries tackle the game day with a singular objective in mind. That objective being delivering the most memorable ad of the game to an audience that, as CNBC reports, averages 113 million viewers.
While many brands find success by incorporating celebrities, comedic undertones, and blockbuster-level cinematography into their advertising, recent years have seen a shift in the conversation toward inclusivity and diversity. Brands now recognize the importance of representing a wide array of voices in their advertisements.
However, despite the Super Bowl’s diverse audience, 2023’s ads seemed to signal a slight dip in the prioritization of diversity by companies.
The Power of Representation in Advertising
Failing to prioritize diversity in advertising, especially on a platform as massive as the Super Bowl, can be detrimental to companies. Multicultural consumers, who make up a significant portion of the Super Bowl audience, are more likely to convert into customers when they see themselves represented in advertising.
Our Blavity Media Group team conducted a community survey and found that 88% of Millennials and Gen Z respondents had bought a product or backed a brand because they felt represented in its ads.
This statistic underscores the significance of prioritizing diversity and representation in advertising for brands. Companies that neglect diversity risk losing out on valuable revenue opportunities.
However, some brands have successfully embraced diversity in their ads, setting a positive example for the industry.
Diverse Voices in Super Bowl Advertising
One standout example of a Super Bowl ad that successfully embraced diversity and inclusion was the “Equality” commercial by Nike. This powerful spot featured athletes of different races, genders, and abilities, highlighting the message that sport has the power to unite us all.
By showcasing a diverse cast of athletes, Nike celebrated inclusivity and reinforced its brand message of empowerment and equality. The ad left a lasting impact on audiences, sparking conversations about the role of sports in fostering unity and acceptance.
Another memorable Super Bowl ad that resonated with viewers was Google’s “Loretta” commercial.
In a heartwarming tribute to love and memory, Google depicted an elderly man using Google Assistant to remember details about his late wife, Loretta. This touching portrayal of love and loss struck a chord with audiences, transcending age, race, and background barriers. By centering the narrative on a deeply personal and emotional story, Google demonstrated the universal appeal of human connection, regardless of differences.
While these ads stood out for their inclusivity and emotional resonance, they were somewhat overshadowed by a broader trend observed in last year’s Super Bowl advertising.
Despite the game boasting the most diverse audience in recent memory, many ads seemed to shy away from explicitly addressing issues of diversity and inclusion. This apparent reluctance from companies to prioritize diversity in their Super Bowl ads reflects a missed opportunity to authentically connect with a diverse audience and make a meaningful impact.
When the Halftime Show Rises To The Top
Despite notable progress in prioritizing diversity and inclusion in Super Bowl ad campaigns in 2021 and 2022, these aspects seemed like an afterthought in Super Bowl LVII. Companies opted for celebrity-filled commercials rather than advertising that reflected a multicultural audience.
The event, billed as a celebration of diversity, fell short in its advertising efforts despite a halftime performance headlined by global superstar Rihanna, known for championing diversity in her projects.
While Rihanna’s halftime show celebrated diversity with a diverse ensemble of dancers and a high-energy ASL interpreter, the event’s advertising failed to reflect this diversity adequately. Despite this, Rihanna’s performance was a highlight of the game, attracting 5 million more viewers than the game itself.
Did Super Bowl LVIII Move The Needle?
This year’s Super Bowl ad campaigns showcased a notable increase in diversity, with celebrities of color taking the forefront in many commercials. From Beyonce’s comedic Verizon ad to Jenna Ortega’s action-packed Doritos Dinamita spot, Black and Brown celebrities were prominently featured.
With appearances by Lil Wayne, Shannon Sharpe, Martin Lawrence, and Usher, it signals a potential shift in advertising towards greater inclusivity. The question remains whether this year’s representation is a fleeting trend or indicative of a lasting commitment to diversity and inclusion in advertising. The answer to that question may only reveal itself in the coming year. Yet, for now, the horizon appears promising.
Paving the Path Forward
As we look ahead to future Super Bowl advertising, it’s smart for brands to recognize the power of inclusive storytelling. By authentically representing diverse voices and experiences, companies not only reflect the reality of their audience but also have the opportunity to shape cultural conversations and drive positive change.
As viewers continue to demand more meaningful and inclusive advertising, embracing diversity must remain a top priority for brands looking to make a lasting impression on the Super Bowl stage.
To discover how Blavity Inc. can assist your company in crafting authentic and diverse advertising that resonates with a multicultural audience, contact us.