Health Promot Perspect. 2016;6(1): 37-41.
doi: 10.15171/hpp.2016.06
PMID: 27123435
PMCID: PMC4847113
  Abstract View: 1628
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Original Article

Family fun or cultural free-for-all? A critique of the 2015 National Football League Super Bowl commercials

Corey H. Basch 1*, William D Kernan 1, Rachel Reeves 1

1 Department of Public Health, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ 07470, USA


Background: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to enumerate and describe violent and risky behaviors as well as other general health behaviors exhibited in the advertisements during the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl 2015.

Methods: Commercials during the NFL Super Bowl 2015 were assessed for violent and risky behaviors. Additional health behaviors were indicated such as the advertisement of unhealthy food, promotion of physical activity, and sexual content.

Results: A total of 110 commercials were documented, accounting for 64 minutes of broadcast time. Commercials promoting automobiles, television shows, food, and movies were the most prevalent, representing just over half (53.7%) of all of the advertisements featured. Depictions of unsafe driving were found in 10.9% (n = 12) of the commercials. All 12 commercials contained some sort of risky or wild driving behavior, and speeding was observed in 11 of the 12 commercials. A total of 32 (29.1%) of the commercials were coded as including violent content.Physical activity behavior was present in 3 (2.7%) of the commercials. Conversely, substance use was observed in 3 (2.7%) of the commercials, none of which included health promotion messaging. Of the 110 commercials aired during the 2015 Super Bowl, 12.7% (n = 14) included sexual content.

Conclusion: Parents should consider the possibility that their children may observe acts of violence or conflicting safety messages during commercial breaks.

Keywords: Super Bowl, Commercial, Advertising, Television, Violence, Risky behavior
Citation: Basch CH, Kernan WD, Reeves R. Family fun or cultural free-for-all? A critique of the 2015 National Football League Super Bowlcommercials. Health Promot Perspect. 2016;6(1):37-41. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2016.06.
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Submitted: 10 Nov 2015
Accepted: 05 Mar 2016
ePublished: 31 Mar 2016
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