Super Bowl LII commercials tout diversity but keep it light

Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

The humor in the ads avoided the edginess seen in previous years, trying hard to entertain while not offending anyone.

With hyper-awareness of the #MeToo movement throughout the media industry, portrayals of women were scant, perhaps to avoid scrutiny. Unlike previous years, the Super Bowl did not feature a commercial with a woman in a bikini.

Toyota set the emotional bar with its opening spot after the kickoff with the story of Paralympic star and Canadian Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft.

Verizon ran a spot using real-life audio of disaster victims thanking first responders and firefighters over footage and stills of rescue efforts.

Ram Trucks used similar images, along with soldiers returning from their service and praying football players, over audio of a sermon given by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Feb. 4, 1968.

Appropriation of historic figures and events for an ad is always a risk. (Historian Michael Beschloss noted on Twitter that King's sermon given 50 years ago also "advised people not to spend too much money on their cars.")


Budweiser highlighted its efforts to provide canned drinking water to natural disaster victims in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and California with Skylar Grey's acoustic version of "Stand By Me" playing underneath. Carmaker Hyundai played up its contributions to childhood cancer research.

Celebrities were in large supply and provided the bulk of the comedy. Danny DeVito was a human M&M who avoids getting eaten but gets slammed by a bus. Chris Pratt mocked his leading-man status in a spot for Michelob Ultra. Tiffany Haddish, a real-life Groupon addict, appeared in the e-commerce company's spot. Keanu Reeves surfed on a motorcycle for Squarespace.com.

Aged rocker Steven Tyler raced backward in a Kia Stinger sports sedan to regain his youth, in a spot appropriately scored by his group Aerosmith's anthem "Dream On." Jeff Goldblum connected with his younger self in a "Jurassic Park" themed ad for Jeep Wrangler.

The Super Bowl has been around long enough that viewers are now treated to ads with homages to past Super Bowl ads.


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