A new trend emerged during this year’s Super Bowl: a growing social consciousness in the content of the commercials. It’s pretty obvious to observant U.S. citizens that we’re now in an age of insensitivity compared to the past decade or so. The new push to eliminate environmental protections and to ignore social sensitivity has made the creative people that write and produce advertising take a position.
Their new approach to combat the abject meanness permeating our culture is to speak out against it in corporate advertising. No longer is it just memorable comedy in Super Bowl commercials garnering discussion. Nowadays it’s the clever infusion of socially conscious messages within them that is causing a lot of talk around the water cooler.
Here are some examples of socially conscious commercials that aired during the Super Bowl: Audi’s gender equality spot, 84 Lumber’s commercial about immigration, Coke’s America the Beautiful about diversity, Anheuser Busch’s ad about their immigrant founder’s struggles, Kia’s environmental message with Melissa McCarthy.
In addition to the commercials, other corporate actions (or protests against them) are also supporting social consciousness. A recent example was Nordstrom’s contentious announcement about dumping a specific brand (as I don’t want to contribute to brand exposure, it will remain nameless). A second example is when the public protested Uber because their leadership greedily told their drivers to take advantage of the New York taxi strike protest of the travel ban. More than 200,000 Uber users deleted their app afterward resulting in their CEO, Travis Kalanick, quitting the White House business advisory group to demonstrate he’s sorry.
It’s refreshing to get a little hope back in this dark and sinister era we voters have allowed to take hold. The creatives in marketing and sensitive business leaders are fighting back to support humanity through their efforts. Let’s hope this trend grows.
— Mark Salow, Marketing Consultant