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10 years ago, the first Super Bowl ad featuring an LGBTQ+ family ran. Here’s what’s up this year.

Author: John Casey

There’s some debate as to when Super Bowl ads first became popular. Some point to a Xerox ad that included actors playing Catholic monks that pushed one of the company’s new copiers. It ran during Super Bowl X in 1976.

Then there was the Apple ad touting its new Macintosh personal computer that ran during Super Bowl XVIII in 1984. The first Super Bowl ad to include LGBTQ+ representation ran 10 years ago this year, and that was Coke’s “It’s Beautiful” ad, which embraced multiculturalism. The ad showcased Americans of diverse races and ethnicities, notably including the first-ever depiction of a queer family.

Every year major brands — and some who are not — line up to produce their version of Super Bowl ads, some which run during or around the big game, and some that are released online this week and dubbed “Super Bowl” ads. The idea is to create buzz, excitement, and awareness of the brands. It’s all about clicks and eyeballs.

This year is no different, in fact as each year passes and the number of the Super Bowl gets harder to decipher (I long forgot how to ‘calculate’ Roman numerals), the hype seems to be more intense. For Super Bowl LVIII (58 for those of you who were tempted to Google) the scenario is no different. Outside of clicks and eyeballs – and like everything else – it’s all about the money.

For some insight about what to expect on Sunday, I spoke to my good friend Colin Daniels, senior advertising, and digital editor of Adweek. Daniels also hosts the popular podcast “Young Influentials.” I began our conversation by asking Daniels if there would be anything different from what was done last year.

“I feel like right now everybody’s like playing into fandoms, as well as nostalgia, and finding niche moments that were popular in the past. For instance, one ad that hits all these marks is Uber Eats using Victoria Beckham based on a scene from their documentary or Netflix that aired last year. Uber Eats also has Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer and a throwback to Friends. The viewer will need to be sharp to understand references from the past, and where they came from.”

Daniels said that like every other year, celebrities will take center stage. “There’s so many this year, maybe the biggest is Arnold Schwarzenegger doing a State Farm Ad. There’s also Chris Pratt for Pringles, Kris Jenner for Oreos.

“One big get, I think, is that global soccer star Lionel Messi is featured in a Michelob Ultra-Light ad. That’s a huge get, especially since he’s got nearly 500 million Instagram followers, and counting. And while they might be a different type of celebrities, Budweiser’s legendary Clydesdales will make an appearance. I think this is an example of brands just going back to the basics. We saw in past years, bouncing QR codes for example, but this year it’s more about bringing back that nostalgic good feeling that people are used to that we might have strayed away from.”

And Discover Card is bringing back everyone’s favorite, Jennifer Coolidge. Daniels said that last year e.l.f. Cosmetics used Coolidge very successfully, and this year the brand returns with singer and songwriter Meghan Trainer, and to Daniels, this is a brand that we should keep our eyes on.

“I feel like they’re really leaning into putting themselves in big cultural moments like, how they really had their moment when they put their products into the Mean Girls musical movie that just came out. They’ve caught a little flack for that, but it’s a bold move, and the publicity has been phenomenal, so they’re investing heavily, particularly with the Super Bowl.”

Speaking of investments, Daniels said that brands pay top-dollar for mega-stars like Schwarzenegger and his son-in-law Pratt, along with Jenner, for example. And speaking of costs, this year the average cost of a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl is a whopping $7 million.

“Advertising during the big game, from production to buying airtime is a huge investment, but most brands, who can afford it, think it’s worth it,” Daniels pointed out.

And for those brands who can’t afford it, there’s always the option of a “Super Bowl” ad that they release online during the week or two before the game.

“We’re now seeing a lot of brands do their ads early or before, and not during the Super Bowl. It’s a lot cheaper, and you’re still getting the eyeballs and still building up that excitement of people who are looking for Super Bowl ads. So many brands say, ‘We can still get that reach with that hashtag.”

Finally, how much LGBTQ+ representation will there be in the ads?

“So far, I know of two that RuPaul’s Drag Race star Heidi N Closet is in one of the e.l.f. Cosmetics’ ads, and Kate McKinnon is in a Hellman’s ad. There’s the Andy Cohen, Walmart ad, but I don’t think that’s related to the Super Bowl.”

Mmm, to me, it doesn’t seem that we’ve made much progress after ten years, going from one LGBTQ+ inclusive ad to two? Does that mean by 2034 – God willing I’m still alive – we’ll have four ads that feature folks from our community?

Hopefully, there’ll be some surprises waiting for us on Sunday. If you’re one of those people who watches the game for the commercials, I hope that you’re wildly entertained. As for me, I want to see “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy best Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs.

That would be a cash cow for Purdy, because Super Bowl champ Mahomes does commercials for four major brands, Coors Light, Head & Shoulders, T-Mobile and Subway, commanding around half-a-million dollars for each. Purdy makes $800,000 playing football, and shares an apartment with a teammate in San Francisco, so it sounds like he could use that extra money.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: John Casey

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