Did anyone else notice anything different this year with the Super Bowl ads? One of our favorite American pastimes is always coupled by the best commercials of the year. Some take the heartstring approach while generally our favorites tend to be pure comedic genius. Straight away though my husband and I noticed a stark difference in the first string of commercials during the first quarter. Gone were the offbeat commercials that made us laugh and abundant were commercials that that made us think, cry or want to make a difference. Was this year’s Super Bowl sponsored by Kleenex?
Thumbing through social media after the game were hashtags like #bummerbowl, #whathappenedtoSBads, and #getthekleenex. Clearly, we were not the only ones that noticed. On the other hand a slew of new hashtags emerged supporting some of the campaigns such as #likeagirl, #withdad, #makeithappy, and in lieu of McDonald’s ad #paywithlovin. Obviously there was a new message being sent to make the world better and just be better. Companies have figured out that millennials are socially conscious and that brand awareness and customers increase the fastest by demonstrating that their company has a cause or a focus on something outside of revenue. It is now not just a nice to have but rather a necessity in business in 2015.
As a result of the NFL controversies with domestic violence and sexual abuse in 2014, it was expected that we were to see a commercial regarding awareness for these issues – and rightfully so. The shift I saw this year though was one towards things like kindness, lifting one another up, spreading love and hope to all ages for any reason, undertones of anti-bullying, and several commercials about Dads and the importance of support and love for your children.
I love the funny, slapstick commercials just as much as the beer drinking football lover next to me, but I welcomed this new trend this year. For so many of these commercials to be stating the same thing to such an enormous platform of people during the biggest event in American television is certainly a victory. The world is telling us something – that it is time. With all the negativity in the news be it terrorism, senseless crimes in our schools and on the streets, children (yes children) committing suicide because of bullying and a lack of strong role models, society needs a remodel. As important as causes such as pediatric cancer and world hunger still are today – the modern way to give back almost sends us back to basics. They’re telling us we are so far gone that we literally need to focus on Level 1 again and just be accountable, responsible, extend a hand to one another and just plain be nice.
The bottom line is this: no longer do you have to be a wealthy power couple who spends weekends at stuffy fundraising events to feel empowered to make a difference in the world or become a full time philanthropist to see the fruits of your labor. It doesn’t take money, status, wealth, or even much time to see a change. It just takes a conscious mind, a determined heart, and consistency to make the simple changes we need right now in 2015. Start small – call an older relative, compliment someone, thank someone for the hard work they do, tip that breakfast waitress just a little more since she is probably working three jobs to support her kids. Sometimes people just want to be noticed. Young, old, homeless, successful – it doesn’t matter. Many times the ones you feel deserve it the least need it the most. You just never know how the most basic gesture might change someone’s life that day. Never take even the smallest extension of kindness or compassion for granted.
Photo courtesy H. Tatum. A very generous girl who gave her toys to kids in need from her birthday party.