Jewelry chain Michael Hill International made a splash during the Super Bowl yesterday with a gauzy image ad that aired in the Chicago area and Canada and featured a same-sex couple.
The Brisbane, Australia–based jeweler shelled out for pricey time during the big game to “get in front of as many people as possible, in two of the company’s key markets: USA and Canada,” said the company’s chief marketing officer Joe Talcott in a statement. “The Super Bowl offers us a unique opportunity to showcase our brand in front of millions of people.”
The company has eight stores in the United States—six of which are in Illinois—as well as 57 stores in Canada. The ad was created by New Zealand ad agency Colenso BBDO, which polled 1,200 New York City pedestrians what they’d do for love. About 30 made the final cut.
As with last year’s Alex and Ani Super Bowl ad, the 30-second Michael Hill spot that ran in the Chicago area struck some as a bit mysterious—it featured no mention of jewelry, just comments about love set against a musical backdrop. (The song: On Top of the World, by Mindy Smith and Inland Sky.) It ends with the words Michael Hill over its new slogan We’re for Love and a web address, but it didn’t spell out what the company is. “Without any obvious jewelry placement for the most part of the ad, its hard to know what it is even about,” grumbled Business Insider.
But the ad also attracted notice for its brief glimpse of a lesbian couple. (It’s not the first brand to portray same-sex relationships during the Super Bowl; one blog notes that last year, Coca-Cola aired a Super Bowl ad featuring a gay family.)
The longer spot that aired in Canada is less oblique, referencing wedding bands, engagement rings, as well as the symbolic power of jewelry. It also features several gay couples while delivering a more explicit pro-equality message.
“We don’t care what kind of love you’re into,” it concludes. “We just want to make sure you get your fair share.”
On Twitter, reactions ranged from touched to confused. The ad was “so relatable,” one person wrote, while another asked: “Anyone else have to Google Michael Hill to see who they were after seeing their ad?”
Now that was a great commercial, thanks Michael Hill #wereforlove
— Mike Kesslar (@mrmichaeljohn) February 2, 2015
Michael Hill, that was one of the best commercials I’ve seen in a long time #impressed
— Jason Burns (@CantWait2beaDad) February 2, 2015
The Michael Hill commercial was lovely.
— Michelle Martin (@michellexmartin) February 2, 2015
The ad also aired in Australia and New Zealand on Feb. 1, but at press time it’s unclear if it will run further in the United States.