Advertising misses the mark in Super Bowl XLVI

Super Bowl XLVI was the most watched television show in history.

With the viewership peaking at 117 million, a flashy half-time show, and a game that came down to the final nine seconds, it’s hard to imagine any viewer’s eyes not glued to the screen. That’s all stating the obvious. What wasn’t as obvious, however, but stated just as boldly, was the fact that minorities weren’t given their fair share of limelight, still. This is one of those enduring issues facing America that we, as a country, would prefer to shy away from or sweep under the rug. Though it wasn’t information on the forefront of spectators’ minds as they watched the adrenal-driven display of athleticism, or the glitzy half-time event, Americans were being inundated with traditional commercial marketing that has for too long misrepresented the diversity of race in America.

As explained by Dr. Felipe Korzenny:
“An online car seller shows a Black buyer a a main character, and a car ad shows a couple of Inuits as main characters, other than that it looks like non-Hispanic Whites own the show along with multiple dogs and polar bears.”

Coke 2012 Commercial: “Superstition”

video courtesy of

And while I’m not usually one to stand atop a soapbox crying inequality, for this particular event, I have to agree with Korzenny. The minorities, that Korzenny claims account for 40% of the national population, weren’t misrepresented, or underrepresented, they were simply not represented.

But, who’s to say we’re not being a little critical, right? Does it really matter that minorities weren’t fairly proportioned throughout the commercials? It is true that the disproportion of non-Hispanics to other races depicted in the ads does not seem like “a big deal.” But, Korzenny’s position is not so much inequality breeds contempt, but instead, inequality breeds bad business, or a lack of business altogether. I know one could just as easily argue that if companies redirect their advertising messages specifically towards minorities they would run the risk of alienating their non-Hispanic white demographic. So, is it all or nothing? Can advertisers only cater to non-Hispanic whites or blacks or Hispanics? I don’t think so.

For a country that prides itself on equality for all, and constantly denies all forms of racism, bigotry, and inequality, I say it’s time to prove it. The advertising industry in America needs to pony-up and realize that they can and should use any and all races in their advertisements, and stop trying to segregate marketing. It’s true, each race and culture has personal elements that they identify with specifically, but it is also true that there are universal elements that we as humans identify with on a much larger scale.

M&M’s “Sexy and I Know It”

video courtesy of


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