This year’s NFL Super Bowl recently concluded with the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos, but that wasn’t just the big news that broke out of the biggest annual sporting event in the United States. As almost everyone knows who keeps tabs on the Super Bowl, the best things to see outside of the actual football game itself are the multitude of ads that dominate the TV screens during commercial breaks.
Every year, top companies bring out their A-game whenever the Super Bowl comes around because advertising during the event gives these businesses the chance to not only peddle their wares, but to also convey a great message that can instantly attract the viewer to look deeper beyond the products featured and realize that there is more to a particular company than meets the eye.
And this year, there are two specific Super Bowl TV spots that give awareness to very important social values done in highly creative and unexpected ways.
The first video above is an advertisement released by global soft drink brand, Coca-Cola. The company is famous for creating memorable ads that are inclusive and universal in nature so that their marketing campaigns can appeal to an international audience. For the 2014 Super Bowl, Coke adhered to their branding strategy and showcased the diversity of the United States by stating that “America is Beautiful”. In the ad, we see gorgeously filmed shots of American life as lived by Americans of various sexes, ages, and ethnicity. The twist? The commercial featured a striking rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, and Hindi—apart from English.
What makes Coke’s “America is Beautiful” ad resonate is the fact that the message they impart is one of equality and acceptance for various cultures. Regardless of one’s cultural differences and origins, it is important that we embrace and accept others without prejudice as this is one of the many key lessons that Jesus himself taught to His disciples.
Admittedly, the ad has received its fair share of backlash fueled by misguided patriotism masquerading as blatant racism. But it is this kind of negative outlook that prevents us as a society from moving forward as an inclusive and loving community. So before you pass harsh judgment onto others, remember the Golden Rule: one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
The second Super Bowl ad comes from men’s grooming brand, AXE. Now normally, a typical AXE commercial would feature the classic storyline where a regular guy uses the product and immediately attracts a very attractive (and often skimpily dressed) woman who falls under the man’s spell.
Sexy with a bit of comedy is the template for a classic AXE ad campaign. But for their Super Bowl spot, the company decided to switch things up a bit and ended up with a winning ad that not only effectively captured the spirit of their core product, but also drove home a significant message in these troubling times.
The ad begins rather ominously as a montage of different scenes depicting international conflict unfold in the first half of the ad: a Middle Eastern military official carries a detonator to his superior; an armed American soldier invades a Vietnamese countryside via helicopter; a war tank slowly drives through a ruined Eastern European city; and a North Korean leader oversees a mass demonstration of his loyal army. At first, you might think that these scenes of war isn’t what the AXE brand is about, but the surprise twist is one that will leave viewers swooning with romance as the latter half of the commercial reveals the true motivations of all those segments and ending with an appropriate tagline: “Make Love, Not War.”
Eschewing the often tawdry tactics that AXE is known for in their marketing, the company has perhaps created a winner with AXE Peace in that they chose to highlight the importance of unity, compassion, humanity, and international peace apart from showcasing traditional romantic love between the featured couples in the commercial. And as anyone who has read the Bible knows, peace and love are the cornerstone values that God wants to see in all of mankind. This ad could not be any more relevant given that the past few years, the world has seen so much conflict and destruction that stems from hatred and ignorance. If we are to do the right thing and be a positive member of our global society, then change begins with actively displaying the values of peace and love not just to oneself, but to others as well.
Now let me ask you, which Super Bowl ad moved you the most?