As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, marketers and advertisers wonder… What will this year’s big game spots stand for? Or not stand for? Will they merely entertain? Or will they permeate the once sacred but quickly eroding sanctity of separation between politics and sport? And, if they do, as they have before, how will they be received?

Quite the question and I’ll let a study answer it for me so as to not sway your opinions of mine own. But Before I do I’ve got to explain this. This is the Black Collar Club. And in it I’ll address relevant marketing, advertising, social and cultural “news” in a condensed format sourced from hours of early morning time spent scouring the internet in hopes of finding out what’s REALLY going on in our industry.

Marketers and advertisers alike want to know whether this year’s Super Bowl spots should take a stand? Should they address issues of social justice? Should they permeate the sanctity of separation…? 

According to Michael Serazio, Ph.D and Associate Professor at the Boston College Department of Communication, “There’s a lot of talk from marketers about brands taking a stand… But that is cliche’ and they’re not really interested in taking a position that could potentially alienate half the country… Brands [want] to generically feel that they’re part of this intense political moment without actually engaging in complicated, divisive politics.” (Adweek)

Look at the big brain from Boston College…

Now that we know brands aren’t aiming to alienate half their audience, we’re ready to answer these difficult questions…

Like, should brands address issues of social justice?

According to December research from data intelligence company, Morning Consult, “60% of over 1,300 adults likely to watch the Super Bowl said that the game is an appropriate place for brands to promote issues, specifically social justice, in their ads.” (Adweek)

Seeing as ‘social justice’ might be defined differently by different people, Morning Consult dug deeper. They “asked respondents about which topics, messages and issues would result in a favorable opinion of a brand.” (Adweek)

Morning Consult asked about seventeen policies or messages. They’re listed below in order of respondents “net favorability (the share of respondents with more favorable opinion minus the share with a less favorable opinion).” (Adweek)

1. Helping veterans +77
2. Thanking health care/essential workers +75
3. Encouraging people to wear masks +65
4. Calling for national unity +61
5. Thanking law enforcement +54
6. Civil rights +46
7. Freedom of the press +44
8. Preventing climate change +42
9. Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination +41
10. Gender equality +37
11. Criminal justice reform +36
12. Black Lives Matter +22
13. Stricter gun control +19
14. The right to kneel during the national anthem +17
15. Gay rights +17
16. Transgender rights +14
17. Abortion rights +5

According to Drew Train, Co-Founder and President of the purpose-led agency, Oberland, “those with the top favorability scores are ‘relatively benign.’” (Adweek)

Train, of course, is speaking to the top five topics in the survey, “helping veterans, thanking healthcare/essential workers, mask-wearing, national unity and thanking law enforcement.” (Adweek) And he’s right. They do “appear to have much more broad appeal.” (Adweek)

And, it seems, maintaining broad appeal while still being “part… of the moment” is going to be the name of the game. (Adweek)

So, should brands permeate the sanctity of separation between politics and sport?

Not my place to say. But it is yours. Feel free to scream as loudly as you like, America.


Your Huckleberry,
Jimmy Boy

SOURCE: Adweek