A Frito-Lay commercial spot serves as a subtle reminder that, in Black History month, the outcome of the Super Bowl this year matters very little compared to the historical significance of this year’s match-up. In the commercial, several different Black families gather together to watch the football game that many consider an historic event; two Black coaches leading their teams into the Super Bowl. The families are rooting for different teams; some cheer for the Colts, others for the Bears. Yet all watch with a calm sense of pride. Young and old are gathered around large and small television sets, eyes fixated on the action of the game. Yet somehow we know that the attention is less on the game than what this game has come to represent, which is yet another achievement that can be added to the history books for the African-American people; something worth remembering as a moment of unified pride, and a moment that serves as a reminder of what people-any people-can do when they work hard and never give up simply because of how the world defines them.
The commercial asks a simple question as each family gazes at the screen: “Who’s winning?” As an announcer declares “We have history, not just getting here, but what getting here represents,” a young man nods with a look of pride on his face. The screen returns to black and answers the question posed with an equally simple answer: We all win. A young boy sits at the feet of an older African-American gentleman, who glances first at the boy and then back to the television screen with the shared pride exhibited by all others in this thirty-second spot. From one generation to the next, the history continues to grow, expand, and deepen in memory and in meaning.
Frito-Lay did what few companies would have been willing to do during a much-coveted Super Bowl commercial spot. It sacrificed its thirty seconds worth of self-promotion to promote something the company seems to have found bigger than itself; the celebration of Black History month. With the historic significance of the game as its undertone, the shared cultural pride of the onlookers in the commercial served as the spot’s overtone; it reminded us what this month celebrates-pride in the accomplishments of Black Americans that have taken us from days of slavery to days of victory that is both celebrated by individuals and shared by a people, as well as a nation as it embraces the history of the Black American as its own. This sort of selflessness in the shadows of modern marketing and an economy that seeks to get as much for “ME” as possible is yet another reminder of what can happen when we-all people, united as one-come together for the common good of all people. I cheer Frito-Lay in its efforts to remind us what is really worthy to be celebrated at this time!
Watch this commercial here: