Once a year, companies shell out $4.5 million for 30 seconds to try to reach the 114 million viewers tuning in to the Super Bowl (or at least those who aren’t using the bathroom or grabbing another beer).
Some companies have forgone their traditional marketing strategies to better appeal to American’s more progressive social views. Here at Alliance for a Better Minnesota we’ve picked the Top 3 Progressive Super Bowl Commercials.
#1: Always: “Like A Girl”
This commercial takes on the internalized misogyny of the societal idiom “like a girl.” Different men and women are asked to “throw like a girl” or “fight like a girl” with the expected results. The ball is fumbled, there’s a lot of weak wristed slapping and giggling. The most telling of all of these is a young boy who seems to relish showing how girls do a bad a job at all these activities. When he’s asked if he thinks he insulted his sister, he responds with “No, well yeah, girls, but not my sister.” This is particularly interesting because he’s clearly internalized the idea that doing things like a girl is the weak or bad way to do them, but he’s never stopped to think if this includes his sister.
The contrast to this poignant bummer is the young girls who are asked to run or throw “like a girl.” They do it just like they would in real life, proudly and well. When a particularly young girl is asked what it means to “run like a girl” she responds with “it means to run as fast as you can.” Shoring up the idea that doing something as a girl is doing something as yourself, and as a girl you can be strong and powerful without the need for a qualifier.
#2: Dove Men: “Real Strength”
“Real Strength” takes another gender stereotype and shows us how it’s completely expired. In a series of heart warming snippets, we see dads parenting their children to their best. They’re not just building their kids a tree-house or dropping them off at the airport, they’re putting sunscreen on them, comforting them, and potty training them. We get to see fathers emotionally connecting with their children and playing nurturing roles in their lives. This is particularly refreshing because this is a role mostly taken by women on television. Furthermore, the ad underscores the very necessary concept that nurturing can have a safe place in masculinity.
With more and more people recognizing the importance of family time for moms and dads, maybe we’ll see more pushes towards parental leave, like these bills recently introduced by progressive leaders in the Minnesota legislature.
#3: T-Mobile: “Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler”
And finally, third on the list is Sarah Silverman & Chelsea Handler going through all the places they get really great cell reception. At first this doesn’t look progressive at all, until you realize that we’ve just seen two women talk about something completely unrelated to men for an entire commercial. Which makes it totally pass the Bechdel Test , which asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Surprisingly, it’s pretty uncommon for media to pass the Bechdel test-try it out with the last couple movies you saw. In any case, it was pretty great that a major company thought the 114 million people would like to see two women being funny.
That wraps up the Alliance for a Better Minnesota’s Top 3 Progressive Super Bowl Commercials. It was great to see that major companies are responding to American’s more progressive ideals with their marketing. Thanks for letting us see girls being strong and themselves at the same time, men being awesome caring dads, and two funny ladies being funny by themselves for a whole commercial. Can’t wait to see what you cook up next year!