The changing face of Super Bowl advertising

super bowl liiiSuper Bowl advertising will continue to evolve this year, as companies look for platforms to demonstrate their values and commitment to social responsibility, according to Virginia Tech’s Nneka Logan.

“The Me Too and Times Up movements have definitely changed the way many brands will approach their Super Bowl advertisements, particularly in the way that women and girls are depicted,” said Logan. “I think social impact ads that encourage unity, embrace difference and advocate for achieving positive social change will be popular.”

Logan specializes in corporate communication, race and diversity.  She says many corporations are operating in new territory by trying to grapple with issues of social justice – within the context of race and discrimination – in ways that attempt to satisfy multiple stakeholders while also trying to take a stance against racial discrimination.

Logan on Super Bowl advertising

  • “Nike and Gillette may have given us a taste of what’s to come. Social issue ads have to illustrate the kind of change in the world the company wants to see and the ads have to be compelling enough to inspire conversation.”
  • “That conversation may consist of support as well as ridicule, but that’s okay because the main objective of this form of corporation communication is to shed light on the social issue featured in the ad and showcase the brand as a supportive force for positive social change.”
  • “I do think companies that engage in this type of advertising intend to shock the audience by showing them unsettling images. In the case of Gillette, the ad functions as a mirror reflecting some less than ideal aspects of our society – bullying, sexual harassment.  The ad also compels audience attention by offering a perspective of manhood that’s diametrically opposed to those images of conquer and conquest; by contrast, ideal manhood is depicted as standing up for others and doing what’s right, not necessarily what’s popular. ”


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