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5 clever Super Bowl ads that had messages way bigger than football.

All Super Bowl ads are not created equal.

Families gathered around TVs across America to watch the biggest day on the sports calendar Sunday night: the Commercial Bowl.

Yes, a relatively important football game played out between the ads — congrats, Denver Broncos! — but for many of us, Super Bowl 50's real magic happened during the commercial breaks (and when Beyoncé slayed the halftime show in powerfully political fashion).

While plenty of the commercials deserve a thumbs up for a variety of reasons, here are five especially powerful ones that had important messages that last long past their air time:


1. NFL dads helped their daughters do their hair. It was adorable, and important.

Turns out, braiding your kids' hair can be a bit tricky — even if you're an NFL star. Take Pittsburgh Steeler DeAngelo Williams. He may be a beast on the football field, but even he struggles to understand "why they make ... barrettes so complicated."

Williams was one of three NFL stars who were part of Pantene's "Strong Is Beautiful" ad, encouraging fathers to spend quality time with their daughters. After all, dads can play a big role in shaping their daughter's self-esteem. If even just one dad penciled in some quality time with their young one after watching, I'd say the (millions of) ad dollars spent by Pantene was worth it.

2. Helen Mirren slammed drunk drivers in hilarious fashion. But the message was about more than a laugh.

Don't. Drink. And. Drive. If my serial periods don't stop you, maybe "notoriously frank and uncensored British lady " Helen Mirren will.

She was featured in an ad-meets-PSA for Budweiser that attempted to put drunk drivers in their place — and that place is anywhere but the driver's seat. Because, laughing aside, drunk driving's no joke; on average, it kills about 27 people in the U.S. every day.

Take a hint from snarky Mirren: Take a cab. Crash at a friend's. Do anything except drive drunk.

3. Serena Williams and Abby Wambach want you to think outside the box when it comes to cars (and life).

A "chick" car. A "gay" car. A "cute" car. A "slow" car. Mini Cooper doesn't care what you call the car, apparently — they just want you to find your ride.

In its ad featuring tennis queen Serena Williams and openly gay soccer champ Abby Wambach, viewers were challenged to "defy labels" when scoping out their next vehicle. Because who wants to fit into a box, anyway? It's a clever message that applies to cars ... and basically everything else in life.

Side note: It is super refreshing to see women — who aren't being objectified — in car ads. More of that, please.

4. The No More campaign reminded viewers domestic abuse doesn't take a break for the Super Bowl. In fact, the opposite can happen.

Not every Super Bowl commercial was all fun and games. For what was probably the most gripping ad this year, the No More campaign aired a 30-second spot encouraging folks to recognize the signs of domestic violence amongst their loved ones and speak up when a friend or family member needs them.

The ad was a powerful reminder that domestic abuse doesn't pause for an evening of celebration like the Super Bowl — in fact, some research suggests domestic abuse can even spike around large-scale sporting events. On average, about 24 people per minute fall victim to violence, rape, or stalking by a partner in the U.S.

It's no news the NFL has taken (much-deserved) heat in recent years for failing to properly handle domestic abuse cases among its players. And some have pointed to No More's Super Bowl PSAs — which came to be through the group's partnership with the NFL — as more of a public relations maneuver for the league as opposed to an authentic commitment to help curb domestic violence. There's probably some truth to that.

Still, one 30-second spot is better than nothing when it comes to shedding light on such a critical issue. As the PSA notes, you can text HELP to 94543 if you're in need of support.

5. A body spray commercial kicked the backward ways we perceive masculinity right to the curb.

Remember all the Axe ads that implied their body spray could turn bros into chick magnets? Yeah, they were obnoxious.

The bad news: You'll probably never be able to completely erase all of that objectification from your memory. The good news: Axe has finally grown up, and its new ad shows it.

In the Find Your Magic campaign, Axe Grooming encourages guys to be themselves, free of all those real man stereotypes that prove just how fragile masculinity can be. In the spot, guys who, say, love their large nose or flaunt their big brains or rock their high heels on the dance floor are the new faces for the brand — not shirtless dudes with six-packs.

"Who needs some other thing, when you got your thing?" the narrator asks in the spot, which has garnered praise for its inclusiveness. Clearly, Axe has gotten the memo: Authenticity is in. Conforming to backward gender norms? Not so much.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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