This Sunday, 90 million Americans, and another 40 million people around the world, will watch Super Bowl XL. The Super Bowl is not only American football's biggest game—it is a worldwide cultural event. Television's most expensive, and often most innovative, commercials have become as integral to the broadcast as the competing teams. And while the competition between the teams is sometimes a letdown, the competition between the advertisers always creates a buzz.
Some of the world's largest companies will cough up $2.4 million for a single 30-second commercial during this year's game. Unfortunately, too many of these industry-leading companies have already coughed up the ball when it comes to treating their workers—the very source of their success—with fairness.
In this report, Workplace Fairness looks at some of the Super Bowl advertisers, as well as the NFL itself, to expose how their treatment of their workers lags far behind the corporate image they hope their commercials cultivate. For these industry leaders, it's third and long—and they'll need to make some big plays to reach the goal.
Why Do Advertisers Get In the Game?
Many major corporations see the Super Bowl as the best way each year to reach their audience—the American consumer. Furthermore, many see the Big Game as their prime opportunity to position themselves as industry leaders. Wharton marketing professor David Schmittlein notes, "If you are perceived as the industry leader and you are not in the Super Bowl, people might ask 'Why not?'"
These industry leaders also use their commercials to generate good will within the corporation. Schmittlein reports, "Making your employees feel they are working for the best company in the industry may be better achieved through the Super Bowl than with a longer company newsletter." For many of this year's advertisers, however, it's unclear that even the most expensive commercials will advance the ball.
Working people watching the game around the world deserve to know what's behind the ad campaigns before they rush out to support the companies with the best commercials. Many of the key advertisers for Super Bowl XL are coming into the game as favored corporate leaders, but let's take a closer look at their record of turnovers and penalties regarding their employees.