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?