NFL, “Run With It”
The NFL’s 2023 Super Bowl spot is a triumph on many levels—conceptually, creatively, culturally. But let’s begin with what it’s not: yet another ode to masculinity. Today’s NFL knows if it’s going to grow, if it’s going to survive, it needs to change—it needs to be more inclusive. And to its credit, it’s doing so willingly, even gleefully, at least in the marketing. Watching Diana Flores, quarterback of the Mexico women’s national flag football team, sprint, leap and charm her way through 90 seconds of nonstop mayhem couldn’t be more entertaining. The fake “live” interview at the beginning is a fun way in. And the stunts, gags and inspired cameos —Billie Jean King, MrBeast, Davante Adams in a parrot suit—add just the right amount of Nike-ness to the proceedings.
And while, yes, the whole thing feels incredibly progressive, it’s also just good business as well. Amid growing concerns around the safety of the game, the NFL needs flag football, it needs more women, and it needs more fans of color. This work exuberantly speaks to all three. The NFL had a big hit a few years back with its centenary Super Bowl spot—“100-Year Game”—which was also great fun, but very traditional and almost entirely male. This spot, built entirely around a Hispanic woman (this is Flores’ first ad), shows how much the brand has evolved since then. It’s a joy to see.