Super Bowl commercials are part of the lore of the Big Game. This year at Super Bowl LVI, there will be only one in-game TV commercial that in any way features LGBTQ people or same-sex couples.
GLAAD has reviewed the commercials headed to many millions of TVs, and that’s their assessment, according to the organization’s Visibility Project.
And frankly, the one add — for the Google Pixel 6 — is as tame as they come, simply sharing images of a diverse group of people. There is a shot of what seems to be a same-sex couple, but I had to watch it twice to notice. In Google’s defense, given the structure of the ad, there isn’t more they could have done.
As GLAAD points out, two years ago there were at least 11 LGBTQ-inclusive ads for the Super Bowl. Last year there were at lest four.
So why only one or two this year (depending on how you count it)? The drop over the last two years has been significant.
One dynamic that’s fascinating is something GLAAD and other LGBTQ groups have centered in the conversation for LGBTQ rights: Donald Trump. The last year he was President for the Super Bowl there were over 500% more LGBTQ-inclusive Super Bowl ads than this year.
In the two years since Joe Biden became President, the LGBTQ-inclusive Super Bowl ads of both years combined barely reach half of the final year under Trump.
Has the tenor of the country shifted? Did more companies feel the need to to make an LGBTQ-inclusive statement two years ago? And if that’s the case... WTF?#%!&*!@? Do we really need Donald Trump for companies to center LGBTQ people in ads?
It’s an interesting question to ask. The precipitous drop in the presence of LGBTQ themes in Super Bowl ads is newsworthy.
Still, there is no question about the direction men’s professional sports are headed, with Carl Nassib out in the NFL and each of the Big Five men’s sports having at least one publicly out man playing.
Of course, the women are dozens ahead of the men, with acceptance levels — evidenced by the number of out pro athletes in women’s sports — very high.