Whether you’re a football fan or just watching for the commercials, the Super Bowl is a culmination of the year’s best in football and advertising. In this year’s line-up of advertisements, many companies emphasized LGBTQ-friendly and women-centric messages, highlighted sustainability practices, and urged us to donate to causes close to our hearts. Here’s a roundup of ads that caught our eye:
- Microsoft aired an advertisement celebrating San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers, the first woman to coach in the NFL and in the Super Bowl. The spot emphasizes the importance of women in leadership positions. In additional to being the first woman to coach the Super Bowl, she’s also the first-openly LGBTQ person to do so. This year’s game also represented another historic first for the LGBTQ community with drag queens appearing in a Super Bowl ad for the first time. RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Kim Chi and Miz Cracker made history in a commercial for hummus brand Sabra. Women’s rights and LGBTQ rights represent two top-of-mind issues that Gen Z consumer want companies to address, according to the 2019 Porter Novelli Gen Z Purpose study.
- Olay used its Super Bowl advertisement to promote its pledge to donate up to $500,000 to Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that engages young women in computer science and STEM activities, with a space-themed ad. The spot includes a call to action to use the hashtag #MakeSpaceforWomen on Twitter to increase the company’s donation. The commercial featured former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, along with journalist Katie Couric, actress Taraji P. Henson, comedian Busy Phillips, and YouTube personality Lilly Singh. By demonstrating social impact, Olay is tapping into one of the top ways that Americans feel companies should demonstrate their Purpose and providing opportunities for the next generation of women who aspire to careers in science.
- The sheer cost of transitioning farmland to organic is one of the biggest hurdles for farmers. That’s why Michelob Ultra is urging people to make an impact with a 6-pack, by paying to convert six square feet of farmland to organic for every six-pack of Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, the company’s first certified organic brew, sold. This commercial is a departure from the company’s previous Super Bowl advertisements but aligns with it’s 2025 Sustainability Goals as an Anheuser-Busch brand. Consumers want to be a part of creating positive change and by connecting a purchase to impact, they are able to be a part of the program with the company. Several other companies also aired advertisements that ladder back to their sustainability goals, including SodaStream, Saucony, and Audi.
- David MacNeil, owner and CEO of WeatherTech, a company that makes automobile accessories, bought an advertisement during the game to thank the University of Wisconsin-Madison veterinary school for saving his dog from a deadly form of cancer. “Lucky Dog” opens with 7-year-old golden retriever Scout running on a beach before cutting to footage of him being treated by UW-Madison vets for a tumor on his heart. The commercial urges viewers to donate to the school’s cancer research efforts via weathertech.com/donate. The school has already received thousands of gifts from around with world, including a $250,000 donation from the Petco Foundation. The goal of this advertisement is not only to raise funds for the school but also increase awareness about the impact of the school’s research efforts and invites consumers to be a part of making a difference in the lives of pets everywhere.
From the first female coach to the first advertisements featuring drag queens – Super Bowl LIV was a year of firsts. However, as consumers continue to look at companies to act on important issues like LGBTQ and women’s rights, they will also be looking for brands to follow through on the commitments and stands they made during the Super Bowl.