Taylor Swift’s relationship with Travis Kelce has driven record numbers of female and young viewers to the NFL. According to Nielsen data, NFL viewership among girls aged 12 to17 has increased 53% since the start of the 2023-2024 football season.
Although some sports lovers have gotten angry about Swift stealing the spotlight at football games, many fathers have seen her proximity to the sport as an opportunity to connect with their daughters.
This was the insight for Cetaphil’s Super Bowl LVIII campaign, called Game Time Glow, shared exclusively with Campaign US.
The work highlights how fathers and daughters across the country have strengthened their bond by connecting through a newfound common interest in football. Game Time Glow fuses young girls’ skin-care rituals with their dads’ game day rituals to create an opportunity for them to bond.
The spot depicts a father and daughter, at first disconnected and far apart in their relationship. In true teenage girl fashion, the daughter seems disinterested in her father’s attempts to bond. But, as Swift begins to appear during Chiefs games that her father watches, the two start to watch the games together.
The ending shows the two embracing and laughing while watching a game, with dad sporting multiple friendship bracelets and both wearing Swift-inspired jerseys.
Alex Foster, executive creative director and head of production at Lippe Taylor, the agency behind the work, said he happened upon the insight on Instagram, where dads were sharing how Swift’s proximity to the NFL has had a positive impact on their relationships with their daughters.
“We’ve found a lot of teenage girls who are starting to connect with their dads at the toughest point in their relationship,” he said. “Suddenly, it’s opened up this opportunity for dads to ask questions about their lives.”
The team then pitched Cetaphil the idea at the beginning of February, and turned around the work in a week. Luis Garcia, VP and head of marketing at Cetaphil parent company Galderma, said the brand quickly signed off “because we’re all behind the purpose, and we want to be part of that narrative and encourage that emotion and connection.”
Reaching the right audience
To bring the story to life, Lippe Taylor cast a real father and daughter with a personal connection to the story — their own relationship had grown throughout the NFL season due to Swift’s new connection to football.
To ensure the ad was as authentic as possible, said Foster, the team regularly asked Jayla, the daughter shown in the ad, and her dad for their input throughout the process, in order to “let some of the story to be written by them in real time.”
And, to stand out in a sea of brands attempting to align with Taylor Swift in hopes of reaching her fanbase, Cetaphil sprinkled dozens of Swift-related Easter eggs throughout the spot, echoing her own approach of sending her fans on hunts for clues.
Foster noted that he relied on a true Swiftie, Lippe Taylor’s Apple Xenos, to concept the Easter eggs, from snakes and cat photos to Chai cookies and Polaroid photos.
“There should never be a moment where anyone looks at this and say, ‘that ad was made by a load of old white guys,’” he said.
The campaign also tapped Gen Z and Gen Alpha influencers to ensure the message reached the appropriate audience. Garcia added that, to “make sure we stay true to our roots of dermatology,” the brand also partnered with Drs. Caroline Robinson and Daniel Sugai, two dermatologists who are also parents.
Breaking from traditional Super Bowl campaigns
While the grandiosity of the Super Bowl typically leads brands to go all-out on celebrity casting, big media spending and over-the-top humor to grab consumers’ attention, Cetaphil’s spot does the opposite. Foster noted that, for this campaign, it was imperative that Cetaphil bucked against Super Bowl marketing trends to create “a moment of authenticity, clarity and heartfelt feeling that cuts through the noise.”
“All of the other ads this year seem to just be going big on celebs and comedy,” he pointed out. “We wanted to be the one moment that’s about authenticity to the moment, truly living in culture and reacting in real time.”
Rather than leaning heavily into selling by placing the brand front and center, said Foster, Game Time Glow aims to “tell the story of this rare moment that really doesn’t happen and has come about purely through a cultural phenomenon.”
“This isn’t about trying to push this into all kinds of crazy brand moments,” he said. “This is about telling that real story of that moment of a father and daughter being able to connect again.”
Garcia agreed that even though “it’s hard for a marketing person to say [an ad shouldn’t have] brands and logos and product positioning everywhere,” the focus needed to lie on the emotional connection between father and daughter. “The ad is not about Cetaphil,” he said. “Cetaphil is bringing that moment, but the ad is about the barrier that is broken between the father and daughter. That is such an emotional and strong moment.”
This article originally appeared on Campaign US.