ESG and DEI Takeaways from 2022 Super Bowl Ads

Some people watch the annual Super Bowl for the game while others watch it for the commercials. And during commercial breaks from Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, there was a common theme of ESG and DEI ads, which likely signals the importance of these topics to the companies they were coming from.

Here’s a look at a few stand-out ads from the night:

Google unveiled Real Tones for the Pixel 6 in a commercial featuring Lizzo singing “Cause if you love me, you love all of me” and “Everyone deserves to be seen as they truly are.” In the past, camera technology hasn’t had good lighting for darker skin tones, and the commercial features people of color explaining how pictures in the past turned out poorly for that reason.

Salesforce ran a commercial that starts out with spokesperson Matthew McConaughey in a hot air balloon in space looking to the “new frontier,” but he quickly decides it is “not time to escape” and returns to earth. He encouraged viewers to engage with others in real life rather than the metaverse.

“It’s time to engage. It’s time to plant more trees. It’s time to build more trust. It’s time to make more space for all of us,” he said.

The message focused on the “E” in ESG by stating that “#TeamEarth are companies and people who believe that business is about more than profit for a few — business needs to be accountable to every person and the planet we share.”

In an interview with Variety, McConaughey said he hopes the commercial gets consumers and corporations to think about their value systems.

“I hope they go, ‘Look, what McConaughey and Salesforce is saying, is there is a problem in society today. Our relationship with each other, our relationship with the environment is fragile, man. We got a lack of trust, we got a lack of fairness. We got a lack of sustainable innovations. We have a lack of values,” he said.

The environmental side of things is a big focus for many companies with the number of electric vehicle commercials that aired the night of the Super Bowl. Some of our favorites include Kia’s commercial for its EV6, which featured a robot dog trying to find an owner who drives the EV and recharges the pup on his journey to make it to him when he runs out of power.

Others include BMW’s ad for the iX, which features Arnold Schwarzenegger and Selma Hayek as the Greek gods Zeus and Hera, and Jason Bateman in a commercial for the Hyundai IONIQ 5 explaining how there’s been a long wait for EVs, but it was worth it.

From watching these ads that aired during the Super Bowl, it’s apparent that companies know consumers care about sustainability and DEI efforts. Let’s hope that these ads translate into improved policies around DEI and ESG at these remarkably powerful and influential companies and that they inspire other companies to do the same.

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