SB LVI: The Celebrity Bowl with Some Bright Spots

By thesanfranciscoegotist / /

Welcome to Celebrity Bowl 2022. Or nostalgia bowl? Or maybe Crypto bowl? We’re still fully processing that QR code. Regardless, advertisers in every category led the big game with celebrity formulas. For the first time ever, female BIPOC representation (46%) and male BIPOC representation (41%) mirrored the 38% BIPOC US population. While it was refreshing to see women and people of color woven in the celebrity formula, there’s still a long way to go. Talent representation behind the camera continued to stay flat year-over-year, as did inclusivity around age and disabilities.

The 3% Movement watched for women, diversity, and brands with a purpose. Ad pros gathered virtually and tweeted using #3PercentSB to evaluate ads with a scorecard that asked:

• Is the cast diverse?

• Is the spot defying stereotypes?

• Does it have the kind of message we need right now?

Here is some of the best media we liked from Super Bowl Sunday in alphabetical order.

Google “Real Tone”

Google was the only brand to bring multifaceted representation by depicting race, age, individuals with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community. The Pixel 6 Real Tone features were the perfect showcase to highlight colorism and camera bias, backed by an original song from Lizzo, a body-inclusive trailblazer in her own right.

Headspace “Sleep with John Legend”

While this doesn’t technically feature a woman–we’re here for it. Headspace continues to promote the importance of mental health and wellness, focusing this spot on self-love. John Legend reveals his “Love Yourself Like A Legend” series that includes a new sleepcast narrated by him and an eight-hour sleep playlist.

Hologic “Her Health is Her Wealth”

An astounding 50% of women ages 16-55 have not seen a doctor in the last year. #MaryJBlige has been advocating for #womenshealth with Project Health Equality, and in partnership with Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI). Hologic also had an all female team behind the camera, making this a much needed ad we love.

Michelob Ultra “Superior Bowl”

Serena Williams has had a consistent showing in Super Bowl ads that empower women. It’s a refreshing follow-up to last year’s “Can We Kick It” and to see the brand show Serena, Alex Morgan and other female athletes presented in the Superior Bowl in a way that made them shine. They went toe-to-toe with male athletes in a nostalgia-filled setting.

Squarespace “Everything to Shell Anything”

An entrepreneur and creator-like person—aka Oakland’s very own Zendaya—“sells seashells by the seashore” but hasn’t had any luck with sales. Intro Squarespace, the website any entrepreneur needs. We were also surprised to hear Andre3000’s voice, and kind of wish he had rapped his VO – who doesn’t love a 3stack collaboration? Although the director of the spot didn’t meet our criteria (but a woman of color ACD worked on it), the spot speaks to creators and entrepreneurs at a time when access and equity is still an important topic in this industry.

Toyota “The Jones” & “Brothers”

Of all the celebrity formulas, The Jones wins. A strange (yet talented) collection of characters including Rashida Jones, Leslie Jones, Tommy Lee Jones and Joe Jonas rally around a Toyota Tundra. You have our attention! And, every Super Bowl, Toyota is one of the most inclusive advertisers–this year is no different. Their other spot tells the story of brothers and cross-country skiers Robin and Brian McKeever. It’s an inspiring message of achievement as Robin is Brian’s sighted guide. The ad is beautifully composed and uses on-screen type as one of the only ads to provide inclusive communication.

Other things we loved: 

• Passionate pre-game anthem performance from Mickey Guyton, who is a pioneering Black woman in country music. She continues to defy stereotypes and has the talent to back it up.

• Female athlete and LGBTQ+ icon Billie Jean King in the honorary coin toss.

• The Mary J. Blige, West Coast, and Black culture appreciation show. From the music, fashionable gangster attire to body positivity on full display with the dancers, cheerleaders and steppers.

• After being advised not to, Eminem still took a knee during his performance. He used his moment in the spotlight as a public show of solidarity for Black lives.


By Ashley Sanders, SVP Digitas, San Francisco VivaWomen Lead & Danisha Lomax SVP Digitas, San Francisco VivaWomen of Color Lead

Disclosure: Toyota is a client of Publicis Groupe


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