Keeping it clean seemed to be the theme for many of the commercials aired Sunday night during the Super Bowl.
There was a Hyundai ad that gave dads across America a bit of credit, showing how fathers save the day. And then there was the GoldieBlox commercial that showed young girls gathering their pink toys and building a rocket. And who can forget Budweiser’s commercial called “Puppy Love” that showed a friendship between a dog and a horse. It tugged at the heartstrings, without any beer in sight. Radio Shack’s “The Phone Call” commercial was a fan favorite, and Cheerios promoted family values in their commercial called “Gracie.”
And Coke became the first advertiser to feature a same-sex couple, according to NBC News. The couple’s “snippet appeared as one of many vignettes in a sweeping ad that celebrated America's collection of diverse creeds, codes and individuals. In the five-second clip, two male partners and their daughter go roller-skating while a chorus of children sings ‘America the Beautiful.’” The ad received a heavy amount of criticism for featuring eight different languages, according to The Detroit Free Press.
In previous years, Super Bowl ads were often “sexist” or “too snarky,” according to The New York Times. For Super Bowl XLVIII, many of the commercials were “more rainbows or roses than dog bites or bee stings,” NY Times reported.
“Most of the commercials that Fox broadcast nationally during Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday sought to invoke fuzzy feelings that would warm the cockles of consumer hearts, if not MetLife Stadium,” wrote The NY Times. “The television and social media audiences were exhorted repeatedly to forget their troubles and put on a smiley face.”
Some ads stuck to the old trend of being a little risqué, like the Oikos ad featuring John Stamos and some of the “Full House” cast members, Scarlett Johannson’s SodaStream ad and the Butterfinger Cups commercial where a woman wearing the word "chocolate" and a man sporting "peanut butter" are given advice on how to improve their relationship. But those were only minor hiccups in family friendly Super Bowl ad campaign.
Often criticized for their sexist ads, GoDaddy.com stayed rather clean with its spot. The commercial featured Danica Patrick, who is usually featured in GoDaddy’s ads, wearing a muscle suit and running along with oiled body builders on their way to a tanning business.
These commercials sparked social media buzz after they aired on television. The most popular of these was the Esurance ad, which announced a $1.5 million giveaway through Twitter. With the hashtag #EsuranceSave30, Twitter users made their case for why they deserved the millions, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
And social media, The NY Times reported, helped make these commercials more appropriate for all ages.
“The ability of social media to make it easier and faster for consumers to make and share complaints is apparently influencing the content of commercials on the biggest day of the year for advertising: Few want to risk running spots perceived to be on the bleeding edge of taste or acceptability when they can be demonized in a day.”