3p Weekend: A Sneak Peek at This Year’s Cause-Marketing Super Bowl Ads

With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

Preparations for Super Bowl 50 in downton San Francisco.
Preparations for Super Bowl 50 in downton San Francisco.

This weekend is all about Super Bowl Sunday. While some people are eager to watch the Carolina Panthers ambush the Denver Broncos, others are in it for the Puppy Bowl. But most everyone wants to see what crazy spots are being dropped in the year’s most expensive commercial breaks. Of course, the TriplePundit team couldn’t wait to dive in and see how these advertisements fare when it comes to the triple bottom line. Among the top ads, did any of the world’s biggest brands choose to showcase their more sustainable product offerings? Did they put a progressive spin on their pitches, or was it the same old same old?

Among the 41 brands that have already released their advertisements, we don’t see any sustainable product promotions. But four ads — 10 percent — include a values message. Regardless of who takes home the rings, having so many important causes up on those big screens means sustainability takes the win.

Axe, #FindYourMagic

Axe body spray isn’t known for its progressive gender politics. We were excited to see the fragrance company challenge traditional notions of masculinity in the spot below. While the company has done its part to perpetuate gender stereotypes in the past, here it aims to shake things up during the most macho television event of the year.

Colgate, #EveryDropCounts

In Colgate’s first-ever spot for the Super Bowl, the toothpaste company tackles one of our own pet peeves — leaving the faucet running while you brush your teeth. With droughts on the rise around the U.S. and 3 to 5 gallons wasted every time you let the faucet run for your two-minute session, kudos to Colgate for using its spot as a teachable moment!

Helen Mirren for Budweiser, #GiveADamn

Budweiser also chose to focus on a material issue: drunk driving.

“I’m Helen Mirren, a notoriously frank and uncensored British lady,” Mirren says in the Super Bowl spot. “If you drive drunk, you — simply put — are a shortsighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution, a Darwin award–deserving selfish coward.”

Pantene, #DadDo

Pantene showcases the #DadDo: hair-dos dads create for their daughters. While this spot could easily have taken a bad turn toward the “dumb dad” meme, this one heartwarmingly emphasizes that active dads make their daughters strong — a message we can all get behind.


Share your favorite ads in the comments!

Image credit: Flickr/Sonny Abesamis

Jen Boynton

Jen Boynton has been the editor in chief of TriplePundit for 8 years. With over 6 million annual readers, TriplePundit is the leading publication on sustainable business and the Triple Bottom Line. Prior to TriplePundit, Jen received an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and a degree in Sociology from Pitzer College. She spent a few years in the non-profit policy sector as well, but we won't talk about that. In her work with TriplePundit she's helped clients from SAP to PwC with their sustainability communications messaging. When she's not at work, she volunteers as a CASA -- court appointed special advocate for children in the foster care system. She enjoys losing fights with her toddler overlord and eating toast scraps. She lives with her family in sunny San Diego.