Super Bowl Ad Roundup: The Good, the Bad, and the Feminist

Every year, millions and millions of viewers tune-in to watch the biggest television event of the year: The Super Bowl. While the game is the main draw for most viewers, there are also many viewers who watch the game just for the commercials.  Super Bowl ads have a reputation for being provocative, risque and sexist, so this year we decided to watch and take note of how the ads depicted women.  We were pleasantly surprised by this year’s commercials, finding there to be more inspiring commercials and fewer portrayals of scantily clad women.  Let’s hope that this trend continues into next year!

The Best

Goldiblox! A great company that is encouraging girls to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) hobbies and careers. The options for girls toys are often limited to very gender specific stereotypes, and Goldiblox is showing that there are other ways to play (and learn)! Check out their website if you haven’t already and let’s keep encouraging the children we know, whether boys or girls, to embrace the things they enjoy.

What to say about this commercial??? America IS beautiful and so are the various kinds of people who make this country what it is.  Women and men were equally shown and the cultural diversity was so refreshing. Additionally, we think we spotted a few same-sex couples! How awesome.

Unfortunately, prejudice is still shockingly prevalent. Let’s stand up for and encourage diversity!

A female machine engineer turns entrepreneur in this commercial! No stripping, breasts, or gross make outs. Nicely done, Go Daddy.

The Worst

By far the most sexist video of the night was Volkswagen’s “Wings” ad.  The commercial begins with a father asking his daughter, “What if I told you that every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings?”  Yes, you read that right, folks: a German engineer gets his wings.  Why not go with the gender neutral their which would imply that an engineer can be either a man or a woman, particularly when this dad is speaking to his teenage daughter?  Apparently it’s because, according to Volkswagen, there are no female engineers.

But the commercial doesn’t stop there.  It goes on to a montage in which a series of German engineers begin sprouting wings — and not one of them is a woman.  Of course, they did throw in a hot, female engineer in the elevator. However, she was simply there to be the butt of a joke (pun intended): her male counterpart grows wings which hit the female engineer in the butt, apparently because sexual harassment is hilarious.  Volkswagen had an opportunity here to follow in the footsteps of  GoldiBlox and encourage more young women to go into STEM fields like engineering.  Instead, they show a bunch of old white dudes doing the job while the one female engineer is made into a joke.

– E and C


2 thoughts on “Super Bowl Ad Roundup: The Good, the Bad, and the Feminist

  1. Great article.

    I happily missed this event, but I noticed there was an ad with Dee Snider in it and so, being a Twisted Sister fan, I checked it out on YouTube. It was for Radio Shack, a company I have nothing to do with because of multiple encounters with sexist clerks at their various stores over the years. (My last time in a Radio Shack, I bought a device for a phone jack and the male clerk said, “I hope your husband enjoys it!” – I guess he meant the little device, but I don’t have a husband and I have no idea why he thought I wasn’t purchasing the device for myself – except that obviously he was a pig. And, that’s typical of Radio Shack, IME.) The commercial had a whole bunch of guys in it and 3 women. One of the women is being hit on by a cop, Ponch (Eric Estrada) – I love Eric Estrada, but that kind of bothered me. There were no women staff and on the third run I finally discovered that one of the shoppers in the background appeared to be carrying a purse, so presumably there actually was a solitary woman shopper in their store (unless that was a man with a European Carryall!). It was overall a cute commercial, but the message is pretty clear that they don’t have a high opinion of women.

    I like the Coke commercial the best – that’s the nicest cola commercial I’ve ever seen and I just feel that tight band I have around my chest – that horrible sense of oppression that I feel so much of the time that I don’t usually even notice it – sort of expand and release as I watch it. It’s very refreshing, to say the least.

    The one with the little girls is nice (more Twisted Sister!), but I wish they’d knock it off with all the pink. Would you believe some moron in a gun shop actually tried to sell me a pink rifle – ’cause I have a pink vagina, I guess??? I have no idea what he was thinking, but I’m not going back to his store ever again. The pink thing has just gotten out of control – it’s almost as bad as the blonde jokes a few years ago. I hate it. And, I hate sexist clerks!

    The German engineer with wings one is awful for all the reasons you stated!

    Great post! Thanks for following me and commenting on one of my posts, too!


    1. Wow, those are some crazy experiences! I don’t even understand the logic behind someone thinking that you were buying an electronic device for your husband… do they think that women don’t use electronics? And don’t even get me started on the whole pink gun issue. Being a woman doesn’t mean we need some “womanly” version of products! The generic version will do just fine, thanks. Reminds me of when Bic came out with pens for “ladies.” Because for some reason ladies need pens that come in pink and purple apparently?

      Thanks for your post! It was nice to hear your thoughts on the videos 🙂


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