Nothing says more about the overall trends in the advertising world than Super Bowl ads, which is why it was telling to see a shift from the social good tone of the last few years to this game’s goofier, celeb-filled spots. Nonetheless, a few companies stuck to the theme of purpose with great results.
Olay’s “Make Space for Women” spot featured Lilly Singh, Busy Phillips, Katie Couric, Taraji P. Henson and astronaut Nicole Stott in, well, space, to highlight women in STEM. What’s more, Olay put their money where their mouth is by donating a dollar to Girls Who Code (a nonprofit partner on our She Can STEM campaign) every time someone uses #MakeSpaceForWomen on Twitter.
Budweiser flipped the script on American stereotypes with “Typical Americans,” showcasing the many generous or courageous actions Americans do, whether it’s pushing a stranger’s car in the snow or fighting fires. It’s a refreshing, positive take on labels, focusing on what we all have in common rather than what divides us.
Microsoft had Katie Sowers, the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl, do the talking in their “Be the One” creative, where Sowers discusses her journey and the importance of breaking down expectations around gender roles.
These three ads did what good purpose-driven-marketing should do: it didn’t make the ads all about the company and focused on incorporating the stories of real people.
It will be interesting to see if the diminished emphasis on social good ads continue in the future—we’ll all need to watch Super Bowl LV in 2021 to find out!