Super Bowl Ads that Feature Healthy Relationships Win the Night
By Jeff Lemberg
Super Bowl LVII gave us many great moments and memories. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni isn’t afraid to be emotionally vulnerable, as he shed more than a few tears during the National Anthem. Rihanna used her halftime performance to share with the world that she’s pregnant with her second child. And Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce likes to talk as if he’s a WWE personality.
But there’s little question the Super Bowl ads once again took center stage during this year’s game. Below are three of our favorites, as they center on healthy relationships, positive connections, and a whole lot of love.
Sam Adams — “Your Cousin’s Brighter Boston”
A big congratulations to Kansas City and Philadelphia for their teams getting to this year’s Super Bowl. Boston/New England has dominated pro sports since the turn of the century (12 championships in 22 years!), so it’s always nice when other cities and regions can get a whiff of the throne.
Yes, Boston sports fans (author included) can be obnoxious.
Sam Adams leaned into this reality with their Super Bowl ad by shining a light on some of our less-than-appealing, sometimes unhealthy, qualities. However, Sam Adams flipped the script by having “Your Cousin from Boston” imagine an alternative version of Beantown culture.
Rather than vitriol and volatility, two women offer kindness toward each other as they compete for a parking space. Rather than aggression and intensity, a Red Sox fan hugs it out with a Yankees fan who dared to venture into Fenway Park. Rather than belittling and demeaning someone else, NBA Hall-of-Famer and former Celtics star Kevin Garnett gives a book reading of his faux memoir, “Don’t Talk Trash, Spread Love.”
Your Cousin from Boston struggles to comprehend such a socially healthy city — the liquor store cashier snaps him back to reality; “Hey, genius! Your cahd declined!” — but there’s no doubt a “brighter” Boston would be a better Boston.
T-Mobile — “Bradley Cooper & his mom”
Healthy relationship education starts at home, which is why we loved this Super Bowl ad featuring actor/director Bradley Cooper and his mother, Gloria Campano.
Our relationships with our parents undoubtedly change as we get older…or at least they should. As children gain greater independence — socially, financially, and/or intellectually — their relational needs will invariable evolve as well. But some of the best bonds in life are with those you are forever bonded to, which is what makes Bradley and Gloria’s banter so endearing.
“I don’t like the way you look,” Gloria wryly tells her son, who’s sporting a bright pink T-Mobile T-shirt as he plays the role of a store salesperson. “You look like a flamingo in this!”
Bradley, an Academy Award best actor nominee for his roles in “A Star is Born,” “American Sniper,” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” can hardly stop laughing as his mom repeatedly flubs her lines. They’re having a ton of fun with each other, and they both show kindness, respect, and trust.
Bud Light — “Hold”
Actor and Philadelphia native Miles Teller seemed like an odd choice to lead a Bud Light Super Bowl ad. Sure, he recently shined in “Top Gun: Maverick” and had some mixed cinematic success in the mid-2010s with “Whiplash” and “Fantastic Four,” but the baby-faced 35-year-old as the face of a beer ad?
And yet, Miles and his wife, Keleigh Sperry — not to mention their French bulldog, Bugsy — were among the stars of this year’s Super Bowl.
As Keleigh is slumped across their living room couch, stuck on call-waiting by an ever-absent customer service rep, Miles does what any good husband would do: He attempts to brighten her mood. Miles offers his wife a Bud Light and begins dancing around the room to the call-waiting muzak tune. He moonwalks with Bugsy, struts to the beat, and invites Keleigh to join him on the living room “dance floor.” Miles sees his partner feeling down, so he does his best to lift her up with a bit of fun and kindness.
Healthy relationships start with trust and respect, which is why these three Super Bowl ads were our MVPs.
Jeff Lemberg, a former journalist and media literacy educator, is the Director of Development for One Love’s Boston region. He is passionate about social and emotional education, as well as building partnerships with for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental entities in support of relationship health.