The ad nods to Taylor Swift and football, drawing cheers and criticism

When an ad for Cetaphil lotion appeared online days before the Super Bowl, it drew rave reviews for a narrative that evoked a story familiar to parents, football fans and Taylor Swift followers.

In the ad, a father tries unsuccessfully to interest his teenage daughter, distracted by something on her phone, in a soccer match. She goes to her room to finish her skincare routine using Cetaphil on her face. She then goes downstairs to see her father watching a football game while wearing a white jersey with the number 89. The announcer can be heard saying, “Well folks, there she is, the game’s most famous fan,” drawing a smile. of the girl.

The father, sensing an opportunity, later enters her room with a red No. 13 jersey for her and jokingly applies cream to her face before imploring her to come watch the game. She goes downstairs, places her phone on the coffee table and snuggles up next to her father. The commercial ends with them wearing their jerseys on the couch and laughing. An on-screen message reads: “This season, fathers and daughters have found a new way to connect. »

Although it doesn’t directly mention Taylor Swift, the ad is a nod to how the music superstar’s relationship with Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce reportedly empowered more fathers and of girls to watch NFL games together this season. The No. 13 and No. 89 jerseys implicitly referenced Ms. Swift’s “lucky number,” 13, and her (and Mr. Kelce’s) birth year, 1989. And the father in the ad wore friendship bracelets, like many others. Ms. Swift fans.

Social media users responded positively to the ad, making connections to their own lives. A TikTok user who posted the ad said It “makes me cry”. On X, fan accounts for Mrs. Swift rented the salesperson and a user said“as the daughter of a soccer coach and a die-hard Swiftie, I love it.”

But on Friday evening, a woman who owns a popular TikTok account, Sharon Mbabazi, said the company stole the idea for the ad. On her social media accounts, she shared a TikTok post from September in which she is putting on makeup when her father-in-law walks in and tells her about Mr. Kelce’s emergence among Instagram followers, swimsuit sales and his popularity since his relationship with Ms Swift became public. .

The post, whose caption reads: “My stepdad has been keeping me updated on Taylor and Travis every day since Sunday,” had been viewed 2.7 million times as of Sunday afternoon. (This is one of several posts she has published involving her, football and her father-in-law.) He joins Ms Mbabazi in applying lotion to her face, while providing her with performance updates from Kansas City or just letting him know when the Chiefs were playing — and to prepare to watch the game together. Ms Mbabazi did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement released on Sunday, Cetaphil said the ad was “an original creation” that was “inspired by a unique trend this year in which many young women and girls have bonded with and talked about football with their fathers on their social networks. The company added that after speaking with Mbabazi, it “worked with Sharon and other influencers like her”, although it did not elaborate on what that meant.

Other health and beauty companies, which often focus on women in their marketing, perhaps hoping to benefit from the interest in Mrs. Swift, announced during the Super Bowl on Sunday night, including ELF cosmetics, NYX Makeup and Dove. (The Cetaphil ad was not scheduled to air nationally during the game.)

Mary Scott, a professor of strategic communications at Montclair State University, said Super Bowl ads were most effective when they captured a feeling or moment that the country as a whole had recently experienced. Even more than the Swift effect, Ms. Scott said, the depiction of phones as a barrier between parents and their children is something many parents could relate to.

She liked the Cetaphil ad compared to those from the 2021 Super Bowl which alluded to Americans’ shared experiences with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They stepped into a different reality,” Ms. Scott said, referring to the Cetaphil ad. “They just went further.”