by Meghan Rees

Super Bowl LII: Tom Brady. Nick Foles. Justin Timberlake. We all know the Sunday superstars who took the field and entertained us at halftime. But the Patriots and Eagles weren’t the only ones scoring touchdowns in last night’s game.

The Super Bowl is known for airing new commercials with innovative perspectives and messages. This year, we saw a shift from political messaging to philanthropic messaging. Two ads in particular addressed the issue of water resources both near and far.

In Budweiser’s “Stand By You” commercial, (pause for goosebumps and watery eyes), the brand elicited strong emotions from the audience by tying in recent natural disasters. The commercial shows a branch of Anheuser-Busch halting production of beer to manufacture canned water. With a simple tagline, “Whenever you need us, we’ll stand by you,” this message speaks directly to those affected by the hurricanes, but also expresses to the entire nation that we’re in this together. Whether we were personally affected or felt heartbroken for our neighbors in the South, Budweiser did an exceptional job at turning sorrow into hope, faith and a sense of community spirit. Hurricane Harvey isn’t the first time Anheuser-Busch intervened to bring water to those in need. They were also involved in producing water during Hurricane Matthew (2016), the Flint water crisis of Michigan and California fires. Anheuser-Busch’s VP for Community Fairs stated, “Putting our production and logistics strengths to work by providing safe, clean drinking water is the best way we can help in these situations.”

Stella Artois’ commercial “Taps” features Matt Damon and, like Budweiser, also touches on the relevant issue of water. This brand takes it one step further by educating the viewers with new information and showing how their purchase will make a difference. Damon informs us, “Millions of people in the developing world walk up to six hours every day for water… If just 1% of you watching this buys one [chalice], we could give clean water to one million people for five years.” Stella’s website reads, “Our goal is the provide access to safe water to 3.5 million people in the developing world by 2020. With your support, since 2015, we’ve already changed the lives of more than 1 million people.”

While some may argue Anheuser-Busch and Stella Artois could have simply donated the cost of creating the commercials to the cause, they’re instead creating a sense of group effort and the power of community. Millennials tend to link themselves with brands that are connected to a cause, so the purpose of these commercials is to make more of a difference through viewership than the brand could do on their own. While one person or company can make a difference, the key message here is about being part of something bigger than ourselves. Philanthropy is one of the best ways an individual can contribute to a global fight. Join our fight by learning more at