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

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

NEW YORK -- February 22, 2023  — The TV and streaming ads that ran during Super Bowl LVII were much more diverse than industry benchmarks — except for the percentage of cast members that were identifiably Hispanic or Latino, according to a landmark study unveiled today by Extreme Reach (ER), the global leader in creative logistics.

As reported in December, Extreme Reach used artificial intelligence, machine learning and  human reviewers to analyze 1 million ads that were deployed in North America, on linear TV and digital platforms, from January 2019 to October 2022, assessing each ad for its composition by ethnicity, race, gender, and age. For the new study, Extreme Reach compared TV and streaming ads that ran during the past four Super Bowls — LIV, LV, LVI and LVII — against the benchmarks established by the first study. This was made easier by the fact that this year Extreme Reach enabled 91% of in-game Super Bowl ads to run on linear TV and digital platforms, a new record for the company.

ER has proudly played a central role in the Super Bowl for over a decade. 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. “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,” said Tim Conley, CEO of Extreme Reach. “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.” 

Among the 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 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%. 

Overview of ER’s Proprietary Methodology
ER employed a robust, multi-point process to analyze every occurrence of every face seen throughout each video ad in addition to isolating the audio speech track to identify each unique voice. ER’s research leverages eight well-known existing solutions for different aspects of the analysis and then creates advanced models and continuously-fed machine learning that generates data more specific to advertising content. The company credits the following solutions, which in combination provide the multiple observations and predictions imperative for triangulating data points for high confidence results: AWS Rekognition, DetectFace API, FairFace Project, FaceNet, DeepFace, Deezer’s Spleeter Library, Amazon Transcribe, and DBSCAN.

Download the full industry benchmarks used in the above comparisons.

This story appeared first on Broadcasting & Cable and Next TV.

About Extreme Reach
Extreme Reach (ER) is the global leader in creative logistics. Its end-to-end technology platform moves creative at the speed of media, simplifying the activation and optimization of omnichannel campaigns for brands and agencies with unparalleled control, visibility and insights.

One global creative-to-media supply chain answers the challenges of a complex marketing landscape and an equally complicated infrastructure under the global advertising ecosystem. The company’s groundbreaking solution integrates all forms of linear TV and non-linear video workflow seamlessly with talent payments and rights management. Now, brands and agencies can optimize campaigns as fast as consumer consumption shifts across linear TV, CTV, OTT, addressable TV, mobile, desktop, and video-on-demand.

Extreme Reach connects brand content with consumers across media types and markets, fully illuminating the marketing supply chain for a clear view of creative usage, waste, performance and ROI.

With the acquisition of Adstream in 2021, Extreme Reach operates in 140 countries and 45 languages, with 1,100 team members serving 90 of the top 100 global advertisers and enabling $150 billion in TV and video ad spend around the world. More than half a billion creative brand assets move through ER’s creative logistics platform.