February 3, 2014

Why Women Won The Super Bowl This Year

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While Peyton Manning was breaking hearts around the world and the Seahawks proved to everyone that they are the nation’s top team this year, the real winner of Super Bowl XLVIII was women.

Yes, women.

Did you know that 46% of viewers of the big game are women? Or that more women that watch the Super Bowl than the Grammys, Emmys, and Oscars combined? While CNN isn’t sure why women enjoy the game, ladies ended up the ultimate champion last night.

Let’s be honest, the best part of the Super Bowl isn’t the actual game — it’s the advertisements. Companies shelled out over $4 million per 30 second commercial according to the Washington Post. Businesses are willing to pay a staggering $133,000 per second because an estimated 112 million people will see their ads. From the infamous GoDaddy.com commercial to Carl’s Jr. barely safe for work advertisement, the Super Bowl has long been associated with misogynistic and hyper sexualized commercials. Last year, Audi’s “Prom” ad was seen by many to glorify sexual assault.

Any gender studies major or self-aware person can tell you the damaging impact that these advertisements have, but for the first time this year, women successfully fought back and won against major companies.

What began as a viral campaign called #WereNotBuyingIt in 2012 to raise attention to the biased advertising by the folks who brought us “Miss Representation“, has transformed into a major powerhouse in the advertising industry. The campaign has successfully challenged Hallmark, called out sexist Halloween costume makers, and can now add collaborating on Super Bowl commercials to their war chest. GoDaddy.com executives met with the folks behind this campaign to ensure that their new advertisements would be less demeaning and objectify their product rather than the women who star in their commercials.

While the mostly successful campaign to help stamp out the objectification of women (Scarlett Johansson’s sort-of meta straw sucking ad aside), women scored a few other points in last night’s major game.

The recent, successful launch of the “We’re Not Buying It” allows consumers to call out advertisements and companies with a few clicks. It also allows you to see others in your area that are upset with advertisements and will hopefully allow advertisers to gain more insight into the negative impact of their campaigns. Every advertisement was subject to scrutiny and companies can now streamline the complaints and reform their practices.

Goldieblox was the first small business in history to land a Super Bowl commercial and showed the world that some girls don’t want to grow up princesses or play with Barbie’s but would rather build and create with their toys. The irony couldn’t escape me when a 7 year old girl’s letter to Lego went viral and called out Lego company for promoting gender stereotypes – something that Goldieblox was created to fix.

Hillary Clinton proved to the world once again why she is the Queen of Twitter. Cheerios featured a biracial family, and a little girl showed us the importance of negotiating. Companies showed us more puppies and soldiers than they did bikinis and models for the first time in recent history.

Super Bowl XLVIII was the year of women. Whether it was because advertisers recognized that women have more purchasing power than men or that the negative backlash from hyper sexualizing women would outweigh the sales increase of their products, women can be proud of this year’s Super Bowl. I know I am. TC mark

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