While marketers came in ready to lighten the mood, advancements in diversity behind the camera are still lagging at advertising’s big night.

NFL, Getty Images

The LA-based 2022 Super Bowl felt like a grand homecoming with many brands returning to the sacred halftime show with new and inventive ads that sure had people talking (Coinbase what on earth?!). From the weird to the star-powered, the ads on display sure gave us a lot to think about. First, FREE THE WORK would like to extend a hearty congratulations to our partners and creators involved in creating engaging and fun ads for the Super Bowl this year. We hope that next year’s bowl brings a larger wave of new voices to the table with brands and agencies more willing to invest in emerging underrepresented talent.

While many folks in the advertising community were excited to see what came to the screen, all eyes were on the diversity efforts (or lack thereof) from the brands presenting offerings during the game. In a special report on the eve of the bowl, Ad Age found that of the 54 commercials that reported director information to the publication, 47 were directed by men, while only 12 came from underrepresented creators. To compare, last year there were 8 underrepresented creators. Progress has been incremental at best.

In the same report, journalist Jeanine Poggi found that many brands face varied challenges in tracking DEI progress due to measurements that restrict them from reporting on such data. Reporting these data sets can be a murky business with each brand having different definitions for what constitutes “diversity.” Self-identification should be essential in diversity tracking efforts and is a priority here at FREE THE WORK. While there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to improving diversity on set, brands must remain mindful of the ways that they engage with diverse creators to create their ads.

“Welcome to Superior Bowl” directed by Rachel Morrison — Screenshot, YouTube

This year, marketers engaged with employee resource groups and other cultural consultants to task them with the work to catch any missteps their teams may have had. Ensuring authenticity in content goes beyond consulting and requires heavier, lasting efforts like a genuine investment in future talent on their creative teams. Baby steps as they say.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can begin to set industry benchmarks for diversity tracking in production, learn more here.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


FREE THE WORK is a non-profit organization committed to making equity actionable in media and to creating opportunities for a global workforce of talent.