The softer side of the Super Bowl


This year’s advertising line-up on the Super Bowl (XLIX, for those keeping score in Ancient Rome) was all about dads. And making people happy. And love. Oh, and hashtags. They were big. You couldn’t call yourself a hip and happening “super” marketer without one.

There was so much sweetness and light that you almost forgot the highly testosterone-charged scandals of the season–Ray Rice beating his wife in the elevator (sorry, NFL, your “it’s up to us to listen” PSA, however heartrending, does not make up for your own deafness on the issue of spousal assault and battery), the continuing saga of the Washington football team’s name, concussions and long-term traumatic brain injury and Adrian Peterson’s unique theory of parenting.

Almost, but not quite.

Still, there were moments of pure delight and genuine creativity, among them:

– BMW’s new hybrid i3 proving, if nothing else, that great chemistry is forever.

– Nissan’s #withdad, honoring a family’s struggle to stay together (and safe) on the road of life and on the racetrack.

– Coca Cola’s campaign countering hate with happiness across all platforms.

– Nationwide demonstrating how, unlike its competitors, this insurer sees and treats you like the important adult you are. (I also liked the spot about childhood accidents which some critics condemned as morbid, but it’s an insurance company. Who else is better suited to talk about risk management?! And to such a large and captive audience besides!)

– TurboTax, for showing that preparing for April 15 is the most exciting thing to happen since the (real) Tea Party.

– Morphie, for explaining the “why” behind earthly disasters and calamities. God’s phone has died…of course!

– And finally, the #likeagirl campaign from Always, supporting, empowering and promoting all the ways girls are worthy of attention and admiration.

Now, can anyone tell me what that halftime show was all about?

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