Last year, the public responded to Beyoncé’s political halftime show with praise, outrage, boycotts, and sold out shows. So this year, as we geared up to watch Super Bowl 51, we wondered if any artists would make another stand.
Much to our surprise, it was corporate who did the job. From lifestyle brands to automakers, companies stepped up to the plate to remind us all that diversity is an important cornerstone of American society, regardless of who they voted for and why.
So here are the five ads that caught our eye by putting their branding where their ethics was – even when it meant walking a thin, gray line!
5. It’s a 10!: Four Years Of…
If nothing else, this ad got a good laugh out of us, right after we held our breath for an intro stating:
America, we’re in for at least four years…
…of awful hair.
The ad then goes on to showcase all the different hair types it cares for: every shade of Black and White, and everything on the outskirts and in-between.
The ad showcased not just racial and ethnic diversity, but also the different pop culture niches in America. They even managed to throw some pets into the mix, while they were at it.
4. Audi: Daughter
While most of the ads focused on humor and race-related politics, Audi chose to focus on a different form of diversity of equal importance; one that affects one half of the human population i.e. females.
In the ad, the only girl in a go-kart race is cheered on by her Dad and overcomes one obstacle after the other with perseverance and quick thinking to cross the finish line first.
This is an important statement coming from a leader in the technology and engineering industry – a sector where women often face discrimination for work and pay. Audi closes the ad out with the words:
Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. #DriveProgress
3. 84 Lumber: The Full Journey
This takes the cake as the most controversial ad we’ve ever seen. Period.
For better or worse, it humanizes a story few of us have ever seen illustrated in this way. But it’s the wall shown in the video that is likely to make you remember it for some time to come.
84 Lumber ends the ad with the message:
The will to succeed is always welcome here.
The brand definitely walks the ethical gray line on this one. But what we admire is the courage to state their opinion, however controversial it may be, by appealing to the emotions without being rude or crass.
Even so, Fox News rejected the original ad. The full version is only viewable online.
2. Airbnb: We Accept
Airbnb made a stand for racial inclusion with their #weaccept campaign. In the video, the company states:
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. #weaccept.
One of the amazing qualities of this video is the “realness” of the cast. There was no airbrushing or over-editing to remove blemishes and imperfections. Thus, outside of race, authenticity was also receiving acceptance.
1. Budweiser: Born the Hard Way
When nothing stops your dream, this is the beer we drink.
This is the ending line of Budweiser’s ad. It showcases the struggles of its immigrant co-founder, who left Germany to find a better life in America. The video not only illustrated the difficulty of the voyage, but also the lack of acceptance he faced as a German immigrant in America.
Shortly after its release, #BoycottBudweiser started to trend on Twitter. This was surprising considering how subtle Budweiser’s political statement was in comparison to brands like It’s a 10! and 84 Lumber.
Ironically though, half the tweets were in support of the brand:
So why does the Budweiser ad top the list for us? A lot of bias on our part, really. Our Founder is also an immigrant who faced similar challenges in America. In short, we can relate.
If you’re a brand looking to embrace diversity for 2017, we’ll help you get there. It’s a little too late for Super Bowl Ads, but the perfect time to prioritize inclusion for your brand.
Check out our own diverse team on our Who We Are page. Our team spans three ethnic groups, four languages, three nationalities, and two species. Diversity is always a priority here.