• Super Bowl Featured Many Family-Friendly Commercials…

    by  • February 3, 2015 • Advertiser Accountability • 3 Comments

    In a change from other recent years, the 2015 Super Bowl featured commercials that were largely positive, family-friendly, and even inspirational.

    For about the last decade, advertising on the Super Bowl has gained a reputation for celebrating bad taste. Apart from Budweiser’s touching ads, most Super Bowl commercials in recent years have focused on clueless, dopey dads, smirking frat boys, scantily-clad women, sexual innuendo, and toilet humor. But this year’s game proved that it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, most of the ads on this year’s game were entirely family-friendly…and some were downright inspirational.

    Always had an ad which promoted greater self-esteem among girls, by knocking down the assumptions behind the phrase, “throw like a girl.” Dodge celebrated its hundredth year in existence with an ad honoring other centenarians. Coca-Cola combated the wave of negativity and mean-spiritedness on the internet today with an ad about “making it happy.” McDonalds asked customers to “pay” for their meals with a hug or phone call to mom to say “I love you.” Microsoft’s two ads both celebrated exceptional individuals who have overcome adversity, including a little boy who uses prosthetic legs to compete in athletics.

    As part of the current wave of “dadvertising” which celebrates fathers,  Dove showed children asking for “daddy” and applauded the way dads are there for their kids, as did Nissan’s “with dad” ad of a father often away on business but always thinking of his kids, and Toyota’s “my bold dad” ad demonstrating a father’s love and concern for his daughter.

    Most surprising of all, GoDaddy, long infamous for its ads featuring stripper-style models, offered a simple image of a man working at a desk in a salute to small business owners. And yes, there was a Budweiser ad with a Clydesdale and a puppy.

    Such ads stand as proof positive that sex isn’t the only thing that sells — and that when it wants to, Madison Avenue can be promote products without resorting to graphic sex or toilet humor, but by being clever, positive, and even touching.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Hollywood followed suit?



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    3 Responses to Super Bowl Featured Many Family-Friendly Commercials…

    1. R.J.
      February 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

      I stopped considering the Super Bowl broadcast as a family-friendly program several years ago because of concerns about some of the commercials and the halftime show. Regardless of the apparent change in tone of this year’s Super Bowl broadcast, I no longer feel comfortable watching the Super Bowl in front of my family.

    2. Kami Oliver
      February 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      We really only watch the superbowl for the commercials. We have stopped watching the live version and instead wait to view the commercials worth watching. This year we it seemed we missed both a great game and some decent commercials. Not to worry, we have checked them out (the ones worth watching) on the internet.

    3. Lydia Reilly
      February 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

      So many young people watch the Superbowl that I never could never understand how TV networks would allow irresponsible advertisers. It was such a welcome change to see this year’s commercials.
      Thank you, PTC and all the people who protested.

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