Today’s the big day if, of course, you’re an NFL fan. If not, by ‘big’ we mean, the Super Bowl. While the event is largely based around who scores the most touch downs to win the season, (this year the Patriots kick off against the Falcons), it’s also become a multi-platform event that many businesses, creatives and celebrities use as leverage to spread their message.
Advertising at the Super Bowl has become the most expensive on the yearly calendar and with good reason: there are over 114 million viewers. With brands employing some of the most creative minds in the biz, it’s no surprise that the ads featured during the game have fast become a cultural phenomenon, an event in itself, often eliciting tears, belly laughs, controversy and cameos from A-list celebs.
This year alone, beer juggernaut Budweiser has caused controversy by mirroring the current social unrest in the US. Their ad, Born the Hard Way, is based on the immigration story of its German founded Adolphus Busch, who journeyed from Germany to St. Louis via a storm-tossed ship, upon his arrival often being subject to mean taunts for his foreign features. But luck struck after Adolphus teamed up with Eberhard Anheuser to brew what has become an iconic beverage for the US.
It seems that the Super Bowl serves as a perfect example of how advertising has changed over the last 70 years. It’s no longer the place where cheesy infomercials with forced narration and brightly-coloured infographics abound. The first documented ad appearing in 1941 prior to the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, for example, promoted Bulova, a New York-based watch company and it cost a lump sum of AU$9 to go to air. (Oh, how time have changed!)
It’s a safe to say that we’ve come a long way since then, with campaigns now telling stories that they want their audience to find kinship with, not just products they’re trying to sell proving more than ever, that it’s possible to spread a positive message no matter what platform or category you work in. Whether it be challenging stereotypes within the family structure, starting conversations about racism or tackling the wide reigning plague of ageism, we’ve gathered five of our favourite inclusive ad campaigns below. Side note: have your tissues ready.
#WeAccept – Airbnb
Another ad campaign making the waves of news headlines today is Airbnb’s Super Bowl advertisement, challenging much of what US President Donald Trump has pushed into motion over the last few weeks. In a simplistic 30 second commercial, the message of acceptance and diversity is made clear: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”
#HowWeFamily – Tylenol
In mid 2015, Tylenol released an ad campaign that challenged how we see love and family. With the hashtag #howwefamily making the social media rounds, the brand depicted a series of varying families across different age brackets, ethnic groups, socio-economic classes and sexual preferences, to share the message of worrying less about who we love and more about the quality of it.
#MyBeautyMySay – Dove
Dove has long been known to challenge how we see beauty with their mantra of natural, healthy and authentic resonating in all their campaigns for more than a decade. #MyBeautyMySay is an ad that features beautifully diverse women who are dominating their fields because they decided to be themselves. Bonus points because it also makes us want to kick some major goals today.
#NeverLambAlone – Lamb Australia
Closer to home, Australia Day, which is celebrated on January 26th has recently been the centre of national discussion surrounding not only the devastating heritage of the Indigenous population that marks the day, but also the move to change the official date to another that doesn’t mark the arrival of colonial oppression.
However, conversation was sparked prior to the annual celebration this year, when Australian Lamb released an ad campaign that took a comical portrayal of our nation’s history with foreign settlers, portraying a 21st century beach barbeque. Lamb Australia also rolled out follow-on ads that featured prominent Indigenous talent such as Cathy Freeman, Greg Inglis and Samantha Harris. While there were various mixed reactions to the topic of conversation, the main message of inclusion and multiculturalism was welcomed throughout the campaign.
#KWMagicHands – Karen Walker
We believe that women are great at every age (take 94 year-old Iris Apfel, for instance), which is why we loved New Zealand-based designer Karen Walker’s campaign ‘Magic Hands’. The campaign featured the digits of Phyllis Sues, a 93 year-old a former ballerina who’s hobbies include skydiving, jump rope, tennis, piano playing and exercise on a daily basis, also highlighting her impeccable style. The tag went viral after its release late last year, with many women using the image of a close-up hand shot as inspiration for challenging the ageist stereotypes.
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