Representation and commercials: Super Bowl 2024

Por Alita Pereyra Photo of a football team.

The Super Bowl represents an iconic event for the American culture. To understand its massive impact, we just have to take a look at 2024 audience stats: 202.4 million viewers were reached consolidating streaming services and traditional tv broadcast, according to Nielsen. An epic record if you compare that to the 113M estimated for 2023. By far, being the championship final, this is the most important match for the NFL turning it also into the most watched tv show of the year. Second thing you must know, ad commercial breaks are at the highest you could ever imagine, we are talking $6.5/7 million for airing a 30 second spot. In third place we must mention the Half Time show: 2024 surprised us with Alicia Keys and Usher’s special appearance (don’t tell me otherwise since I’m not open to discussion on this one). And last but not least, let’s talk about the “Swifties”. Because you might already be aware of the romantic relationship Taylor Swift is having with Kansas Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, representing the winning team and bringing a new wave of young fans into the NFL, causing an unexpected rise in interest for the sport. Could we say the audience record was fueled by the Swifties? Not a single source of data to backup this hypothesis but taking into consideration that Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour became the first tour to gross over $1 billion, generating $4.6 billion in consumer spending in the US, we can perhaps circle back on this next year.

Intro about the cultural event per se has been made, so let’s cut to the core of this Blog Post: our Publicitarias style analysis on the commercial break, double clicking on the issues and topics this community resonates with.

There’s no time for vainilla chit chat, so let’s start the fire with how us, meaning Hispanic audience (Latina living in the US here), are being represented. Don’t you find it interesting that Spanglish is not taking us by surprise anymore? It’s true, we are taking over traditional media touchpoints such as tv, and we are experiencing an increase in ad production in our native language. Maybe the fact that we are the minority group with the fastest growth and our purchasing power is also increasing, puts us in the map for all those advertisers willing to take our dollars. The only issue is that Latinamerica is a big region and there’s a huge diversity gap among local cultures. So, when you try to zip it, you may fall into “latinowashing”. Is that a term that even exists? Don’t know and don’t care, you get it right? Stereotyping becomes the rule, when dressing the actors, casting them (getting Cantinflas vibes on this next specific spot), or even when they are dancing and singing during the entire spot because our Latino DNA makes us live our lives like we were on a musical. A little bit of this and that, is what I see happening in the following Total by Verizon spot. Prepare to get some teen memories back when you hit play to this spot that didn’t air on CBS but on Televisa/Univision, investing a smaller amount of $250,000 for the shot.

Lucky us, we have another example to discuss. This time a much funnier spot where we see ourselves as Latinos as the “dinamita” that we really are. I’m talking about Jenna Ortega, our beloved Wednesday Addams, working for Doritos with a pair of abuelas that are willing to recover the last pack no matter what. Danny Ramirez (Top Gun Maverick) is chased by the explosive duo that will hit his car crashing their motorized scooters, hang by a cable at high speed but won’t be able to resist their abuela latina instinct when stopping to calm down a crying baby that is too cute not to hold in their arms.

Now that we’ve made a point on the spots that make us feel comfortable and which spots make us feel weird regarding representation, let’s continue the path of getting in touch with our emotions and spotlight Google Pixel. There’s a consistency that we see year after year, where DE&I plays a fundamental role in Google communication assets (check out last year’s blog post on Super Bowl 2023 to follow the trend). This time, visual impairment takes the stage. Ever wonder how a blind person takes selfies? “Guided frame” consists in a voice guidance that allows the perfect shot, to help blind people and visual impaired people to create memories. What stands out about this spot, is that the film maker is also a blind person: Adam Morse. Claps for the GUT team behind this idea, another bright contribution to the ad world coming from a Latino owned business that has been acquired recent by Globant: Dina-Mita vibes all over again.

Following the good path, we have another brand that is historically signaled as an example for all of us in the comms industry: DOVE. The Unilever brand makes its comeback to the Super Bowl, being their latest appearance in 2006. This time they launched a teaser spot that introduced the issue they were going to address: 45% of girls drop out of sports because of low body confidence. “Dove is on a mission to make sports a place where all girls can thrive and feel like they belong,” said Leandro Barreto, senior vice president, global Dove Masterbrandin a statement. “The prevalence of negative body talk in sports and focus on appearance over ability harms girls’ body confidence. As the biggest champion of self-esteem for girls globally since 2004, we are thrilled to return to the Big Game and use this massive stage to drive meaningful awareness for this important issue and help girls stay in sports”.

Please get your Kleenex before continuing reading. Because a few spots are coming that will touch you deeply. First one is a social network trying to wash out their sins. According to latest investigations, we know social networks and endless scrolling are responsible for taking a toll on our mental health: young people exposed to them are 3 times more likely to experience depression symptoms, putting them at risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

But on Snapchat, according to the company, there’s less of the things people don’t like about social media and more of the things they love about sharing bits of their funny, messy, exciting, boring, beautiful, heartbreaking, crazy and real life with people who matter the most.

Now is the time for the Kleenex appearance. PETA’s new ad breaks our heart in a thousand pieces and how a friend of mine likes to say, when you bend over to recover the pieces you only find nine hundred and ninety-nine of them. Edie Falco, better known for her role as Carmela Soprano for HBOs The Sopranos, aims to get fellow mothers, sports fans, and everyone else to rethink their cheesy game day snacks. Since having that cheesy snack implies animal suffering it’s a strong invitation to ditch dairy and choose cruelty-free vegan cheeses instead. Tears running down your face in 3, 2, 1.

Before letting the curtains down, I would like to bring your attention to a spot that touches cultural tensions that we see here in the States at their all-time high. I’m talking about the continuous effort the NFL makes in their association to #StopJewishHate

But before jumping into the spot, I’d like to refresh some stunning stats: while Jewish population represent only 2.4% /total population, they are the victims of 55% of hate crimes related to religious causes. We’ve seen a peak in hate crimes recently, so any effort to fight this trend is more than welcomed. This specific spot tries to bring us together against hate crimes in general, and in that direction is that having Dr Clarence Jones (the man behind Martin Luther King Jr speeches) as the main character, seems like a bold statement to me. In times where the Presidential run is ramping up and hate speech is all over, the feeling of unity against antisemitism feels like a ray of sun.

Ok, we are almost done. First blog post in English on my end. Hope you enjoyed my humble analysis on brands participation during the Super Bowl, such a key milestone for the American culture. Will be here again soon I guess, since the Oscars are just around the corner and February promises to bring us more exciting ads to review.

*Header image: kickstand

Foto de Alita Pereyra.
Alita Pereyra

Executive Creative Director LATAM- Mediabrands Content Studio.