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Dear Super Bowl Marketers,
We’re Not Buying It… Not Anymore.

By February 3, 2021General

We women are not buying whatever it is you’re selling in your Super Bowl commercials if you continue to ignore or demean us by portraying us as sex objects, nags and cleanliness-obsessed housewives. We represent a full 47% of your Super Bowl audience. Oh yeah, and we control 70 – 80% of our household’s buying decisions. Now that’s consumer power. And we have every intention of wielding it.  

It doesn’t take genius-level marketing to not piss off half of your target market.

Smart brands are indeed becoming more aware and more inclusive. For those marketers out there who have achieved this degree of enlightenment, we thank you. Only a handful of years ago, nearly every ad featured a limiting and often harmful message about women. Brands like Carl’s Jr., Go Daddy, Victoria’s Secret and others told us time and again that a woman’s value lies solely in her youth, beauty and sexuality.

So yes, we’re making progress. Last year some of the Super Bowl spots were downright feminist (though women are still a long way from being equally represented). Microsoft gave Katie Sowers a wonderful platform upon which to tell her story as the first female and openly gay coach to make it to the Super Bowl. Budweiser’s “Typical American” spot was woman-directed and drove home the importance of representation behind the camera. Likewise, Olay and Bumble spoke directly to women with powerful messages of equality, representation and inclusion.

This change of heart is most likely due to the fact that marketers genuinely care about women.

Seriously though. Real change is being driven by, well, us. We women just weren’t buying your stereotypes – or your products. The women-generated #MeToo movement raised consciousness while the social activism campaign #NotBuyingit called out brands that under- and misrepresented women.

Ouch. Getting kicked in the bottom line must really hurt.

Another reason we’re starting to see change is that more women are taking leadership roles in the marketing industry which has historically been dominated by men (and their narrower world view). As these cultural dynamics in leadership shift, the creative output tends to evolve and become representative of all. (And to think it only took five decades of insults to get here).

Tens of millions of women will be tuned into Super Bowl 55. Ya ready for us?

As you marketing folks well know, the Super Bowl is one of the most watched programs in the world. Some of you are dropping as much as $5.6 Million per 30-second commercial and I, and millions of my sisters, can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with. We’re sure your advertising will be respectful, inclusive and empowering. If not, we’ll let you know with our wallets.