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New ER Study: Super Bowl Ads Skew More Black, Asian, and Female Than Ads Overall 

We analyzed four years of Super Bowl ads, 2020-2023, and compared them to overall benchmarks for diversity in ad creative

Our latest study compares TV and streaming ads that ran during the past four Super Bowls — LIV, LV, LVI and LVII — against the benchmarks established by our large-scale report, Diversity in Ad Creative, which analyzed nearly four years of ads deployed in North America on Linear TV and digital platforms.  

As reported in December, our team used artificial intelligence, machine learning, and human reviewers to analyze 1 million ads across 27 verticals, from January 2019 to October 2022. Each ad was assessed for its composition by ethnicity, race, gender, and age. The new study compares TV and streaming ads that ran during the past four Super Bowls against the benchmarks established by the first study.

If you know Extreme Reach, and are a reader of this blog, you likely know that we LOVE the Super Bowl! For over a decade, we’ve proudly played a central role in the Big Game. Teams across the company responsible for Talent & Rights, Clearance, Traffic and Delivery, help ensure the spots seen by millions, play in compliance and in perfect condition. As our CEO, Tim Conley says, “We’re uniquely positioned to analyze diversity in Super Bowl ad creative and compare the results to TV and video creative overall in the industry. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled us to provide benchmarks that marketers can now use to understand how their own creative assets compare.”  

“It’s uplifting to see the diversity in this year’s slate of Super Bowl ads with regard to Black and Asian cast members,” said Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach. “However, the decrease in representation of Hispanic/Latino cast members is something we saw in our large-scale industry benchmark analysis, and seeing it also in the Super Bowl statistics signals an area that will likely be a focus for marketers ahead, especially considering the economic power of this segment.”  

The new findings: 

  • Super Bowl ads during each of the years 2020-2023 featured more Black performers than the industry average. 27% of those seen in this year’s Super Bowl ads were Black vs. 14% of cast members in all ads in 2022.
  • Super Bowl ads tend to feature more Asian performers than the industry as a whole. In 2022, for example, 8% of cast members were Asian, compared to 16% in Super Bowl ads that same year. In this year’s Super Bowl ads 12% of performers were Asian — notably higher than 2022’s benchmark. 
  • Representation of Hispanic/Latino people, however, has been consistently lower in Super Bowl ads than the industry average. In 2021 10% of those seen in ads were Hispanic/Latino, whereas in the 2021 Super Bowl, just 3% of performers were identifiable as Hispanic/Latino. This year, the percentage of Hispanic representation in Super Bowl ads was up just a bit, to 4%. Meanwhile, the U.S. census shows that Hispanics/Latinos make up 19% of the population. 
  • Super Bowl ads have featured more female cast members during each of the past four years than industry ads as a whole, although that number has never approached parity with their male counterparts. The highest percentage of female performers during the time period studied came during the 2020 Super Bowl, whose ads featured 41% female performers, while the industry average that year was 36%. In 2023, females made up 39% of those seen in ads, while males accounted for the other 61%.

“It’s uplifting to see the diversity in this year’s slate of Super Bowl ads with regard to Black and Asian cast members,” said Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach. “However, the decrease in representation of Hispanic/Latino cast members is something we saw in our large-scale industry benchmark analysis, and seeing it also in the Super Bowl statistics signals an area that will likely be a focus for marketers ahead, especially considering the economic power of this segment.”  

  • The new study also found that Super Bowl ads feature older cast members than the industry average. In 2022, for example, 12% of cast members in TV and video ads across the industry were 40-59 years old – while 23% of the 2022 Super Bowl ads depicted cast members in that age group. Ads in the 2023 Super Bowl depicted a similar percentage of 40-59-year-old cast members, at 23%. 

Download our full industry benchmark report used in the above comparisons. 

This is one of the many areas of insight made possible by our end-to-end creative-to-media supply chain. Reach out at any time to talk about what that would look like for you and your team.