From the moment Beyoncé walked off the Super Bowl stage, halftime show sticking out of her back pocket after broadcasting black power imagery and black pride lyrics to an audience of 112 million people, the backlash began. From boycotts to criticism from senators and pundits alike, the goal here is to intimidate the pop star into silence because she holds power. But here's the thing; celebrity activists matter. Being an artist does not mean that you cannot speak out about injustice, but critics push that agenda because having a following for your art does mean that people might actually listen when you do.
Let's take a moment to think about why the industry decided to go in this positive and thoughtful direction. And there, I'm done. Marketing grads, I'm sorry to say this aloud but it was not because the powers that be suddenly realized that they should use their influence for good. It's because the industry realized -- and by realize I mean spent millions of dollars studying how the public is reacting to their constant stream of marketing tactics -- that as a culture we are tired of the same old fluffy tricks. We pay for HBO. We recycle. We need more.
The Sochi Olympics, like other popular television viewing events (read: Oscars, Super Bowl) reinforced the importance and potential effectiveness of contextually relevant ads. Think of the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion spot that went viral, or Proctor & Gamble's Thank You Mom commercial.