5 Super Bowl Ads That Asked Us To Care, Not Just Consume

These spots were about more than materialism.

This year's Super Bowl commercials cost $5 million per 30 seconds of airtime. And some of 2016's best ads used that space to go beyond talking about consumerism, and instead raised awareness of important issues. Here are our favorite five. 

1. "No More" Campaign Speaks Out Against Domestic Violence

Following last year's chilling, first-ever Super Bowl PSA against domestic violence, No More released another ad for this year's game. Kicking off with a congenial game-time text exchange between friends, it ends with a call to action, pushing people to learn the signs of abuse and how to help.   

Some have called out the hypocrisy in a domestic violence PSA being played during the Super Bowl, given the number of NFL players who have been accused of or charged with intimate-partner abuse. But that's also why this ad is so powerful -- it says that while players may be getting away with too few consequences for their actions, this issue is not going away any time soon. 

2. Budweiser USA Calls Out Drunk Driving

In one of the most popular Super Bowl 50 ads, with over 4 million views on YouTube, actress Helen Mirren uses all of her British poise to smack down drunk drivers

In the classiest clap back of all time, she states: "If you drive drunk, you, simply put, are a short-sighted, utterly useless, oxygen-wasting human form of pollution." Well played, Dame Helen Mirren. 

3. Colgate Highlights Water Scarcity

Calling out folks for wasting water in a water-scarce world, the ad features an actor brushing his teeth who manages to waste more water with the faucet turned on than many people have available to them and their families in a week.

Some folks have called out Colgate for spending millions on an ad, when they could have given that money directly to organizations who work to provide resources to water-scarce communities. Let's not forget that the Flint water crisis is happening right now in America. Maybe the 74 million jugs of water this ad could have bought should have gone there instead.

4. Pantene Hits On The Critical Role Of Dads... Plus Some Girl Power

In one of the cutest ads of the year, NFL dads do their daughters' hair. Promoting quality time between fathers and daughters, the main message is an important one: Strong is beautiful.

It goes for both dads and daughters: The typically hyper-masculine football dads show that strength for a man is about more than brute force -- it's also about stepping it up and caring for your kids. For young girls, it tells them beauty is not just skin deep, it's about feeling strong -- and part of that lies in the strength of the relationships you have with those you love. 

5. Axe Breaks Boundaries On The Definition Of A Real Man

In a stereotype-shattering ad, Axe pushes consumers to look beyond traditional manly traits, like abs, and instead lean on the "magic" that makes them unique.

The ad breaks convention by using imagery to state that the modern everyman might be rocking heels, in a wheelchair or nerding out on books. The best part is the spot centers manhood in doing right by women -- from the simple gentlemanly act of opening a door to prioritizing a woman's pleasure in bed. 

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