A few weeks have passed since the Pats won the Super Bowl, and though New England is still buzzing with excitement, there was another win that also deserves mention. A win for advertisers with a focus on change.

The Super Bowl ads are the talk around the water cooler every year, but this year we’re talking about more than just the memorable @Pepsi commercial with Cardi B and Steve Carell or the Hyundai ad with Jason Bateman as a bellhop. We’re also talking about the ads that aimed to make not just a memory, but a lasting impact in support of societal and environmental changes.

According to Business Insider, CBS charged north of $5 million for a 30-second spot in the game this year.

With prices that steep, it’s increasingly important for ads to not only entertain but also champion a purpose as well. They’re finding new ways to stand out, but also ensure their values and intentions are heard in their messaging.

A popular trend this year was to champion a cause that will make a difference in society and the world.

Here are a few that stood out:

1. Budweiser: Renewable Energy

Opening on an adorable dog smiling, ears flapping in the breeze, everyone assumed this was going to be a commercial further supporting Budweiser’s All-American image, but instead, a powerful message followed. After the camera zooms out and follows the iconic Clydesdale-driven carriage through the fields, wind turbines are seen in the background and a deeper message took the screen. Anheuser-Busch InBev took a stand for the environment and renewable wind energy with its Budweiser messaging, “Wind Never Felt Better. Now Brewed With Wind Power.”

Tagline: “Budweiser this bud’s for a better tomorrow”


2. Microsoft: Gaming + Tech for the Handi-Capable

Microsoft tugged on our emotional heartstrings with its support championing children with disabilities. The company featured several kids and their love of gaming in this year’s commercial as they revealed their new Xbox Adaptive Controller. The controller allows people of all abilities to play no matter their limitations or speed of physical function. A dad said, “One of the biggest fears early on is how will Owen be viewed by the other kids? He’s not different when he plays.”

Tagline: “When everybody plays, we all win”


3. The Washington Post: Knowing is Freedom

In a time where the term “fake news” is thrown around regularly, and journalists have lost the respect of many, The Washington Post advertised a pro-journalism message. A message reminding the public of the importance of journalists, and their role telling our stories throughout history “no matter the cost.” The ad, narrated by Tom Hanks, took the stance on the public’s right to know and journalists’ role as an informant of truth. It ended, “Knowing empowers us. Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.”

Tagline: Democracy Dies in Darkness

Honorable Mention: Audi – New Line of Electric Cars

Featuring the Audi e-tron, a new line of electric vehicles, the car company is moving forward with the future and environment in mind. From their company description, Audi says, “Progress is in every decision we make, every technology we invent, every vehicle we build. It’s our past and our future.”

This progress is seen in their promise that one-third of all cars will be electrified by 2025. The ad states, “A thrilling future awaits. On Earth.”

Tagline: “Electric has gone Audi”


These ads left a looming impact on viewers, but what brands will be sparked next to make a change?