Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
Super Bowl: Unify, Diversity, Diversion
"Inside These Lines"

In an era of media fragmentation, the Super Bowl has increased in its value, delivering a rare opportunity to reach a mega audience—and the premium for that is on the rise, hitting a record $5 million on average for each :30 ad time slot. But as a shared experience, the Big Game is in some respects a brief antidote to another form of fragmentation—the great political divide. For a few brief hours, the country comes together on Super Sunday—to watch the game, the commercials, the halftime show. It’s a sports, TV and online event that brings people together during a time when we seem to be anywhere from drifting apart to being incurably polarized.

Thus many Super Bowl advertisers adopted themes of unity, diversity, and of course some comedy to provide a welcomed diversion.

The NFL itself went for a message of unity with a :60, “Inside These Lines,” from agency Translation, showing how the values of football impart  important lessons—teamwork, striving for success. As we see a grounds crew prepare a football field for a game and see classic NFL footage, we hear a voiceover from Forest Whitaker: “Inside these lines, we don’t have to come from the same place, to help each other reach the same destination. Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there is more that unites us. The camera then reveals that the  lines being placed on the field form a large outline of the USA.

Bringing people together tugged at the heartstrings in a 90-second documentary spot from Hyundai showing U.S. troops at a military base in Poland watching the game. A few service members are brought to a room where they are connected virtually to their family members who are at the Super Bowl. They watch the game together live. Peter Berg directed the spot which was produced via Pony Show Entertainment and Film 45 for Innocean.

Immigration  Issue; Comic Relief
Though it had been in the works for some time, a Budweiser spot from Anomaly NY was more  topical than originally anticipated, telling the story of an immigrant who endures adversity and bullying upon his arrival in the U.S. but ultimately makes good. The immigrant is none other than Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch who perseveres and holds onto his dreams, which become reality once he teams with fellow immigrant  Eberhard Anheuser. Chris Sargent of Anonymous Content directed.

An Airbnb ad showed  faces of different ethnicities, accompanied by the message, “We all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept. “

84 Lumber showed a mother and daughter on a long arduous journey to the U.S. in quest of a better life. The ad drives viewers to to continue the trek. Online the mom and daughter confront a large wall blocking their path—but a door opens to let them through. 

On the comedic front, Wieden+Kennedy NY brought back Spuds MacKenzie as a ghost for Bud Light. Saatchi rolled out a Tide spot showing football announcer Terry Bradshaw trying to remove a stain, with his antics going viral. David&Goliath gave us Melissa McCarthy on one eco-crusade after another—which all end badly. Luckily you can more easily be an eco-warrior by driving a Kia Niro. Mattijs Van Heijningen of MJZ directed.