From this year’s Super Bowl LIV, we saw 77 commercials consisting of everything from Mr. Peanut being reborn as Baby Nut to the return of the annual Budweiser beer ad; we’ve even had our fair share of politically-charged commercials. But what some may not have noticed was the amount of LGBTQ+ representation in this year’s commercials.
Although the focus of the commercials did not directly surround the LGBTQ+ community, their stars helped shine a light on the fact that every person on this planet—whether they are gay or straight, black or white, male or female, transgender or cisgender—is unique and this whole world is full of diversity.
How Many Ads?
A total of eight commercials included LGBTQ+ visibility this year. Let’s jump into each one!
The first commercial featured was for Olay, highlighting the importance of “making space for women” and raising money for the non-profit, Girls Who Code. It stars journalist Katie Couric, actresses Busy Philipps and Taraji P. Henson, astronaut Nicole Scott, and YouTuber and late night talk show host, Lilly Singh. It was also a nice tribute to the U.S. “HERstory” earlier last year when U.S. astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first two women to complete the first-ever spacewalk.
Singh came out as bisexual last February and became an inspiration for many South Asian, LGBTQ+ individuals.
With tax season coming soon, Intuit TurboTax wants you to know how easy it is to do your taxes with them.
With their new “All People Are Tax People” campaign, the tax preparation giant shows that they are all about inclusivity. Actresses Isis King and Trace Lysette star in the ad during the runway judging portion; both actresses are transgender women.
I wrote about Sabra’s Super Bowl commercial last week, touching on how they were going to be the first to feature drag queens (Kim Chi and Miz Cracker) in a commercial and how big it was to have it air during the big game.
However, a few days later, RuPaul Charles revealed that he previously starred in a commercial back in 2000 during Super Bowl XXXIV.
All in all, the ad still made history, and prompted One Million Moms to start a petition to have the ad removed from airing, although it still aired regardless.
A longer, 60-second version of the ad can be viewed on Sabra’s YouTube channel.
Pop-Tarts just got a little more fabulous thanks to Jonathan Van Ness. The Queer Eye cast member helped promote the brand’s new product, “Pop-Tarts Pretzel” in their latest commercial.
Van Ness identifies as gay, as well as non-binary, coming out as the latter during Pride month last June.
Being non-binary means that you do not exclusively identify with the gender binary, male or female; it is more of a spectrum.
Lil Nas X is here and he got the horses in the back, or rather, he’s on their backs.
The Grammy-award winning rapper competes with actor Sam Elliot in a battle for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in a dance-off; Billy Ray Cyrus even shows up for a small cameo at the end, which was to be expected.
You know who Ellen DeGeneres is, yes? And you know her wife, Portia de Rossi, yes? Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say a little bit more.
The commercial features the couple—who have been married for 11 years—rushing out of the door, with DeGeneres asking their Amazon Alexa to adjust the temperature of their home. DeGeneres then asks what people did “before Alexa.”
Along with the ad below, two additional teasers can be viewed on Amazon’s YouTube channel.
Microsoft Surface Pro
I also touched on this ad in an earlier piece, but it won’t hurt to talk about it briefly.
Katie Sowers made history as the first female and first openly gay coach to make it to the Super Bowl—she works as the offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
Microsoft began running an ad for their Surface Pro last month, where it features Sowers discussing how the computer helps her do her job. In addition, she reads a letter she wrote from her youth about wanting to be on a real football team, later showing that her dream came true.
Yes, you read right, Budweiser rounds out this list of Super Bowl commercials. The beer giant took a different approach as opposed to their famous Clydesdale horses. This year, they focused on “typical Americans” doing “typical things.”
These things included actions such as helping strangers, reaching your goals and—just like the Kansas City Chiefs—winning championships. But where is the LGBTQ+ representation? I’m glad you asked.
The United States Women’s Soccer Team includes a number of LGBTQ+ identifying women, including Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger.
Fun fact about the latter two: they’re married!
With American football seen as such a masculine sport, it potentially calls for a predominately masculine audience. And for some, this may have been their first encounter with members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Who knows, this year may have just paved the way for even more LGBTQ+ inclusivity during future major sports championships. We’ll just have to wait and see.