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Volume 26 No. 207
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Super Bowl LIV Ads' Diverse Casting, Themes Promote Inclusivity

Various Super Bowl LIV commercials will "feature two drag queens, an all-female cast and a 'Queer Eye' guy" in a step to "better represent modern society by casting more diverse ethnicities, lifestyles and cultural perspectives," according to Jeanine Poggi of AD AGE. Those who are at least "attempting to recast Super Bowl commercials, which historically have not been friendly to women or minorities, are doing so in the least controversial way possible -- by cushioning them with humor." P&G skin care brand Olay's space-themed commercial starring an all-female cast of celebrities, "Make Space for Women," makes light of the fact that society has "not historically made space for women." Madison Badger of Badger & Winters, N.Y., said the commercial's tone is "humor with a social purpose." Poggi noted hummus brand Sabra takes a "similar approach" with its commercial that stars Kim Chi and Miz Cracker from "RuPaul's Drag Race," feuding "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo and rapper T-Pain. It is an "effort to speak to the entire nation of potential hummus consumers." Sabra CMO Jason Levine said that the "upbeat, humorous spot takes an 'apolitical' approach." Meanwhile, other brands looking to make a social statement or be more inclusive also are "being careful not to take a political stance" in the Super Bowl (ADAGE.com, 1/23).

DIRECTOR'S CUT: AD AGE's E.J. Schultz noted Budweiser's Super Bowl ad puts a "new spin on 'typical Americans' with scenes of everyday people engaging in acts of kindness and triumph." The 60-second spot, released Thursday, was directed by Academy Award-winner Kathryn Bigelow, and it is the "first Super Bowl commercial made public before the Feb. 2 game." The creative features scenes that "juxtapose negative stereotypes of Americans with images of people doing good." The closest the ad gets to celebrities are scenes showing the USWNT, featuring the recently-married couple Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, and the Nationals "celebrating championships with the brew" (ADAGE.com, 1/23). AD AGE's Jessica Wohl noted Heinz' ad comes from Wieden+Kennedy, N.Y., and director Roman Coppola in his Super Bowl commercial debut. The spot tells four stories "at the same time," and the split-screen teaser "suggests the whole effort is meant to get people to rewind and rewatch the ad." Each scene has "one thing in common: a bottle of Heinz." If viewers "actually do hit rewind to watch each of the stories on its own, they will have spent two minutes looking at Heinz ads" while the company "will have only shelled out enough for a 30-second slot" (ADAGE.com, 1/23).

YEA OR NAY: AD AGE's Adrianne Pasquarelli noted Discover "plans to air two spots in the fourth quarter," making its first appearance in the game since '15. A Discover spokesperson said that the dual commercials, which are 15-seconds each, "will cover a 'Yes' and 'No' dynamic to demonstrate Discover's acceptance rate at most stores and lack of annual fee" (ADAGE.com, 1/23).