Positive Messaging in the 2015 Super Bowl Ads

I was busy travelling during the Super Bowl and didn’t get to see most of the advertisements during the game. But I did catch some while waiting for my delayed flight in the airport and some while in the air because I judiciously selected an airline that provides free satellite television (thanks, JetBlue).

However, some of the ones I did catch got me thinking of the good, positive messages these ads portrayed. I went back and watched all of them this morning and here are some of the ones that I thought were worth mentioning.

I’ll start with a trio of ads that talked about being a dad and showed how important he is in the life of a child. I think the first one from Toyota has a clear message showing how the dad stepped in and protected his daughter throughout her life.

The next video from Nissan is a little more open to interpretation. One writer didn’t think it was such a good message, but I disagree (although I do agree that it was a bad song choice). The video shows the dad being a part of the son’s life, but there are times when the dad had to leave home for his job in order to provide for his family (I can relate as I have to travel for my job, even on Super Bowl Sunday).

But even when he is away, he is always thinking about his wife and son (he calls often and tapes a picture of them onto his car). When he wins the big race, he doesn’t go out and party or join the celebrity scene. Rather, he hangs it up (leaves helmet in the race trailer) and returns home to his son–who, in the scene immediately prior, was obviously getting into trouble (based on the mom’s expression). Watch the video and decide for yourself.

[Update 1: I’ve re-watched the video a dozen times and I’ve changed my mind about the song choice. Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” has long been one of my favorite songs because of the irony. In the ad, they only use the first two verses and the dad in the ad realizes, during the victory celebration, that his career isn’t as important as his son. That’s something the dad in the song didn’t learn until it was too late. Also, it seems like he’s looking right through the television at his wife and son when he makes that realization. Another reason why I like the song choice? Harry Chapin died in a car crash but the dad in the ad walks away from one. Brilliant!]

[Update 2: Excellent editing note #1: the song lyrics say, “When you coming home dad? I don’t know when,” just as the dad in the ad’s car is struck. Excellent editing note #2: the song lyrics say, as the son is watching dad in the ad’s victory celebration, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah, you know I’m gonna be like him.” But that’s when the dad in the ad realizes that his son is more important and he comes home, thus holding off the third and fourth verse of the song. I think it’s a brilliant ad.]

The final “dad ad” that didn’t show men as incompetent boobs came from Dove, which asked the question: “What makes a man stronger?” The answer: “Showing that he cares.” This comes after showing a montage of children calling out for their dads.

I thought this ad from Dodge that featured several centenarians (or near-centenarians) was great as showing that we can always learn something from the elderly, even though our society wants to focus only on the young and beautiful. Best advice: “Never, ever forget where you came from.” It’s not that we should wallow in the past, but, for better or worse, our past is what shaped who we are now. Remembering your connection to the past also serves as a way of keeping you humble; and that’s a lesson we can always continue to learn.

The final ad I want to share has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that in the last 12 months, two beautiful puppies have entered into my life and I think I’m becoming a “dog person.” I’ve watched this ad from Budweiser at least a dozen times and I can’t stop watching it. Enjoy!