Super Bowl ads stray from the norm, tackle social issues

Has anyone used JUBLIA toe fungus remover? If you watched Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night, you might have seen the corny cartoon commercial for the JUBLIA toe fungus remover among other commercials. Along with half the population of the world, I watch the Super Bowl purely for the commercials. I love the ones that make me laugh and I love the ones that make me cry.

Past themes of commercials have been sexualizing women, men’s fantasies and crude humor. Popular commercials of Super Bowl 2014 have been Axe “Make Love, Not War” and the Dannon John Stamos dream commercial. While these topics are interesting to comment on throughout the week following the Super Bowl, it seems as if the commercials have taken a different turn this year.

The ads of Super Bowl XLIX were super depressing. Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” brought half the population to tears over a yellow lab puppy and Always’ “#LikeAGirl” made everyone rethink the meaning of the phrase “you run like a girl.” The real shocker was the Nationwide “Childhood Accidents” commercial which discussed the fact that most children die due to preventative accidents.

The NFL even tried rehabilitating its own image with a spot on domestic violence. The league, which was criticized for its handling of player Ray Rice’s assault on his fiancée, aired a commercial featuring a terrified woman who calls 911 pretending to order out for pizza when she is really trying to convey to cops that she fears for her life. 

It seems as though companies are becoming more successful using emotional advertisements so people feel passionate about their product. For example, Toyota used the story of Paralympic medalist Amy Purdy to try to peddle its vehicles.

With this turn from objectifying women to condemning domestic violence, one has to ask “Who woke up ad managers to what is really going on in the world?” When did ad campaigns realize that instead of promoting the newest quadruple cheeseburger what was really needed was a simple call to action to end obesity and eat healthier?

There is no one reason why America has stopped caring about trivial things. Perhaps it is due to current celebrities taking a stand on important issues such as feminism, obesity, domestic violence, etc. Or perhaps it is because the ability people have to voice their opinions on issues through multiple social media platforms.

While watching the Super Bowl on Sunday night, I expected tweets of disgust over how there was no crude humor or X-rated fantasy ads.  Instead many of my Twitter and Facebook friends were glad that companies had taken a stance on popular topics. Whether you watch the Super Bowl for the sports or for the commercials, there was something for everyone during the Super Bowl XLIX Sunday night.

Lilly is a freshman writer for The Daily Cardinal. Do you support the ad campaigns shift toward social issues? Please send all feedback to

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