NFL Faces Criticisms Over NYX Ad Censorship

NFL Faces Criticisms Over NYX Ad Censorship
News by Roberto Orosa
Published: February 16, 2024

NYX Professional Makeup's advertisement featuring American rapper Cardi B faced rejection by the NFL for its content, stirring controversy beyond the Super Bowl game.

The uncut one-minute spot involved the misuse of lip gloss and was intended to deliver a lighthearted message about gender stereotypes.

However, the NFL deemed the ad's narrative unsuitable for broadcast, prompting last-minute adjustments by NYX and McCann New York, the creative agency behind the spot.

NYX and McCann Stand By the Original Ad Concept

Originally designed to unfold in two parts, the advertisement aimed to promote the brand's product while playfully addressing societal norms.

Yasmin Dastmalchi, general manager USA at NYX Professional Makeup, expressed pride in the creative concept, highlighting its departure from traditional male-centric comedy.

"As a female-led brand with female creators behind the work, we’re proud of our creative idea, which flips the script on male stereotypes with lighthearted humor,” she shared.

McCann New York also emphasized the ad's cultural relevance and boldness, pointing out the rarity of commercials offering humor from a female perspective during the Super Bowl.

"Comedy has often been delivered through a male lens for male audiences, which made our [spot] different and unique in making everyone laugh," Shayne Millington, the agency's chief creative officer, pointed out.

Advocates Criticize NFL's Decision

The rejection of the NYX ad by the NFL sparked criticism from advocates of diversity and inclusion. Erin Gallagher, CEO and founder of Ella, condemned the decision as reflective of the NFL's disregard for women's perspectives and consumer power.

Meanwhile, Mita Mallick, head of DEI at Carta, raised questions about the decision-making process within the NFL and the representation of diverse voices in such discussions.

"Let’s say this situation was reversed — a creative team of mostly men or all men came up with a commercial which flipped the script on stereotypes of women with lighthearted humor," the "Reimagine Inclusion" author shared with Adweek.

"Would the decision makers at the NFL have chosen to run that? Would they be more or less comfortable with lighthearted humor targeted towards women versus men?"

In response to the NFL's rejection, the cosmetics brand opted to air the edited ad nationally on TelevisaUnivision and in only two major cities, Los Angeles and New York, instead of the initially planned ten markets.

NYX redirected its advertising spending to post-game media platforms, ensuring the message reached its intended audience despite the setback.

The uncut version of the spot has since garnered nearly 8 million views on YouTube.

Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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