It is no secret that I am not a football fan, but I’ve always been a Super Bowl fan. The Super Bowl is something so very American and while I wish football would change to be less impactful on the players it is obvious the Super Bowl represents something much more to the American psyche than just a big game. 

I’ve always enjoyed Super Bowl commercials as representative of American culture in the same way I enjoy ads in Vanity Fair almost as much as the editorial, for it represents a snapshot of our current culture. What I like best about the Super Bowl is that it is a LIVE moment where so many are watching at the same time and there are so few of those opportunities in today’s fragmented media landscape.

This is the first year in a long time that I couldn’t place any significant LGBTQ representation of any kind. There was Patrick Stewart on Paramount’s commercial, but I wonder just how many Americans even know he is an LGBTQ ally, so it is hard to count that as anything other than coincidence. Then, there was the “blink and you might miss it” lesbian wedding in the VW commercial but doubtful most caught it. As an expert in LGBTQ media and of course an LGBTQ consumer myself, what did speak to me? Well, that Paramount ad, at least showed a “diversity” of content on Paramount and I thought oh they might have something for me. The T-Mobile ad with Jason Momoa provided a nice relief in stereotyping showing a manly man acting well… not so manly and I enjoyed that as much as I am sure Jason did himself. 

I have to say, the ad the “spoke” to me personally was the religious ad “He Gets Us.” As every LGBTQ person knows, no matter their faith, Jesus has been used and misused to divide people. In this instance it was nice, at least for a moment, as a person of faith myself to be reminded that indeed, He does get ALL of us. The people behind the ad? well, I’ve heard they might not be so LGBTQ friendly, but I am looking at this purely as a consumer of media in the moment and the message made me feel good through it’s inclusive message. 

The actual “big miss” for me were the Anheuser-Busch ads for Budweiser, Bud Light, and Michelob Ultra. I felt that with the horrible controversy Anheuser-Busch made last year with transgender TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney (which is still fresh in many minds of both the left and right leaning) that these ads did nothing to win me back and only made me think of all the negativity and division Bud Light caused. I was reminded that Michelob Ultra is also part of the AB group-and so it only reinforced to me the need to skip that brand as well until someday when AB apologizes to the country for not standing up to American values of acceptance and inclusivity. It’s a shame the Clydesdales don’t carry the same nostalgia without some uniting or tender message and that ad seemed to have been already done before. It you wanted nostalgia, then the Volkswagen ad is a good lesson on how to make that work. AB could have used this moment to be “the company” everyone talked about, something acknowledging their past anti-diversity kerfuffle as a mistake and uniting the brand under inclusive democratic values. Instead, as you read this, it’s doubtful anyone will be talking about any of those three ads, except to say “oh that’s the company that really annoyed me last year.”

What could’ve been a chance to get consumers talking on a national level was replaced with boring and safe ads. I feel the moment was lost as advertisers could stimulate a national conversation and create a feeling of “unity” that our country so desperately needs now. It takes courage to stand out with a unifying message, and I’d say all were lacking in that as they usually are. All in all, the 2024 Super Bowl was another lost opportunity for inclusion, diversity and good old belly laughing camaraderie.

About the Author

Todd Evans is President and CEO of Rivendell Media-America’s leading LGBTQ media placement firm- a unique media company that was founded in 1979 and represents 95% of all LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS media in the United States and Canada. Rivendell Media serves as the national advertising representative for over 200 gay, lesbian and HIV/AIDS newspapers, magazines and entertainment guides their websites and standalone digital properties. After working for the company and then taking over in 1994, he has worked on almost every major LGBT media campaign as well as every DTC campaign in the HIV/AIDS market since the FDA allowed them. That experience along with his knowledge of the media provide unique qualifications on what has worked and what is necessary to reach and speak to these audiences. Todd Evans is also a silent partner of Q Syndicate, the leading content provider for gay media and is also publisher of Press Pass Q, the industry newsletter for the gay and lesbian press professional. Todd Evans graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor in Political Science. He currently resides in Mountainside, New Jersey. He can be reached at or 908-232-2021 ext 210.

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