Despite the fact that nearly half of the game’s fanbase is female, only a quarter of Super Bowl advertisements are directed towards women this year.
According to one of the world’s biggest advertiser in consumer products, Procter & Gamble is no stranger to Super Bowl advertising, and they targeted women. The ad for Tide in 2018, “It’s a Tide Ad,” was one of the best-remembered from the year. But in 2019, P&G is bringing a different brand to the Super Bowl, with an ad focused on targeting an audience that’s often forgotten when it comes not only to the Big Game, but sports in general: Women.
The Procter&Gamble’s skincare product brand Olay is running its first Super Bowl ad in the game this year, a horror-themed spot starring actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. But beyond the scary substance of the ad, the decision for Olay to get in the game was about a bigger mission: increasing female representation in Super Bowl ads.
This year’s Super Bowl ads are reaching out to women more than ever. The idea was first sparked by the statistic that despite the fact that nearly half of the game’s fanbase is female, only a quarter of Super Bowl advertisements are directed towards women, according to AdWeek.
Stephanie Robertson, Brand Director for Olay said,
It’s no secret that Super Bowl ads are predominantly male-centric. We wanted to change this dynamic by reaching women on TV’s biggest stage with a message that we hope viewers will find entertaining. Olay wants all women to be bold and empowered, and in a way we’re doing just that, as a brand, by showing up in a place that is historically focused on men.
Women are at the forefront of several commercials in the Super Bowl this year: Zoe Kravitz stars in Michelob Ultra’s spot, Christina Applegate in M&M’s ad, Serena Williams’s Bumble ad above, is all about female empowerment and Antoinette “Toni” Harris, one of the first women to receive a college football scholarship for a non-kicking position, takes center stage in Toyota’s. In fact, during the first ad break of the Big Game, women led every single spot.
In the age of Time’s Up and #MeToo, this year’s stock of Super Bowl commercials shows that not even one of the world’s most male-dominated events can ignore the power of women any longer.
Quynh Mai, Founder of Digital Marketing and Creative Agency Moving Image & Content commented,
With the NFL reporting that women make up about 45 percent of the fan base, it’s about time that advertisers created ads that resonate with them. Creating a Super Bowl ad centered around women breaks through the clutter of the typical commercials and creates a surprising, and therefore memorable, moment during the game.
This increase in female representation during the Big Game is not only about the women in the spots themselves, but also the products and services they’re advertising. For instance, Olay is a skincare brand used by millions of women across the globe, while Bumble has worked to label itself as the feminist dating app by only allowing women to initiate conversations. What’s also monumental is the way these ads portray women, in a more progressive light than perhaps ever before.
The obvious increase in female representation during the NFL isn’t just something women want, Mai added,
Female empowerment is not only important to women, but to families, who make up an important part of the Super Bowl audience. Fathers, brothers, uncles who want to advocate for the women and girls in their lives, especially in the face of #MeToo, are acutely tuned in to messages about women’s equality. Super Bowl viewing is often a group affair, and by speaking to men and women, commercials can fuel interest and conversation.
Probably there’s no appearance illustrates the evolving portrayal of women in Super Bowl spots than Harris’s. As a young female football player herself, she represents the change that could eventually come not just to the Super Bowl’s advertising lineup, but to the NFL itself.