Tonight as America tuned into the biggest sporting event of the year, there were inspiring moments, audible gasps, and heartfelt sighs — no, not from the actual Super Bowl but from the commercials that brands paid big bucks to run during the breaks.
And some of these ads promoted the same values that Global Citizen celebrates: diversity, immigration, caring for the planet, and gender equality.
AirBNB’s spot, called “We Accept,” was so incredibly simple but delivered a powerful punch.
Without any spoken words, the commercial featured tight shots and split screens of a variety of people’s face — people of different genders, ages, and skin tones. Quiet piano music plays as these words splash across the screen: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”
The message doesn’t include anything about politics but it’s hard not to see a connection to the current debate about the immigration and refugee travel ban into the United States. On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning all refugees from entering the US, along with immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. According to the New York Times, AirBNB did not plan to advertise in the Super Bowl, but decided to buy a spot after the executive order was signed.
Other ads touched on Global Citizen values.
Coke’s ad, called “America Is Beautiful,” showed a montage of people doing typical recreational activities — on surfboards waiting to catch a wave, at the movies, dancing, camping — with bottles of Coke, of course, placed in some of the scenes.
There’s nothing notable about it at all, actually, except for one thing: like the AirBNB spot, the faces featured represent a huge cross-section of races and religions. A Hispanic family eats a meal at a restaurant. A pair of Jewish men look out their window. Women wearing hijabs stop at a street vendor. It's beautiful in its simplicity.
Melissa McCarthy starred in an ad for Kia's Niro. In the spot, McCarthy is driving in the SUV while called on a series of environment-saving tasks like saving the whales, saving the trees, and saving the glaciers. In each event, she's comically flung or dropped, all the name of saving the planet.
Expedia’s spot featured a woman’s life, starting and ending on the Trans Siberian Railway — and in between you see her life as she explores the world, including a scene where she is helping refugees who are arriving in rafts — which encourages people to be curious about and to explore the world they live in.
Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” ad featured a pro-immigration message, which given the timing with President Trump’s travel ban, is especially poignant. The ad, which is titled “Born the Hard Way,” depicts the arrival of German immigrant Adolphus Busch to the United States, and the xenophobic sentiment he overcame before founding one of the most successful and global brands of all time. “You’re not wanted here,” Busch is told upon his arrival on the American continent in 1857. “Go back home.” Read more about the ad here.
Audi’s ad, called “Daughter,” features a father contemplating how he will explain the sexism he expects her to endure as she competes in a soap box derby race.