Wieden Kennedy

The commercial line-up during Super Bowl 2015 was filled with positive media psychology touchdowns. McDonald’s #PayWithLov’ advertisement brought “random acts of kindness” to the corporate level, at least through Valentine’s Day. Dove’s “Men+Care: Real Strength” sent fathers an important message: “we need you." And Always’ #LikeAGirl advertisement touched hearts and minds while reminding us that gender stereotyping hurts us all. However, for those psychologists exploring the intersection of the Internet and positive psychology, the top-scoring commercials of the evening were those aired by Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Microsoft’s commercials sent messages of technological empowerment by showcasing human initiative and perseverance. In one, retired schoolteacher, Estella Pyfrom, brings technology access to kids via her Brilliant Bus, a mobile learning station that serves under-privileged communities. In another, a young boy, Braylon O’Neil, uses prosthetics to navigate and enjoy life, in part due to gait mechanics technology. These commercials not only remind us of the positive uses of technology, but they also ask us to look inside and find something positive to contribute to others. #WhatCanWeDo is a winning campaign. 

In the final analysis, however, it was Coca-cola that won the game by directly addressing cyberbullying through their #MakeItHappy commercials. Produced by Wieden Kennedy of Portland, the ad encourages cyberhero behavior. A study in positive media, the dynamic opening visuals grab our attention, while the lyrics, "don't let me show cruelty, though I may make mistakes . . ." speak direcly to the problem while the refrain, "show me love" simultaneously provides the solution to it.  When the bottle of coca-cola spills, our attention is gripped. We all know how damaging fluids and foods can be to our computers—but in a wonderful twist, rather than harming the system, the sweet substance traverses cyberspace, spreading kindness in its wake.  The #MakeItHappy campaign extends onto the World Wide Web -- you can sign a smile petition and engage in other cyberheroing activities.This is the winner of the Cyberhero meme award. Thanks, Coca-Cola, for reminding viewers that an antidote to cyber-bullying exists. #GoCyberheroing

About the Author

Dana Klisanin Ph.D.

Dana Klisanin, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychologist exploring the use of media and digital technologies to support human flourishing. Her research focuses on mindfulness, altruism, and new forms of heroism.

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