Good old American capitalism delivered many stellar non-political ads for Super Bowl LII Sunday night, but one company just had to go there. This year, it was T-Mobile.
T-Mobile attempted to mask its political screed in a video about cute babies, but the message came across loud and clear.
“You come with open minds and the instinct that we are equal,” actress Kerry Washington said, as the camera panned from one baby to the next. “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable.”
Then the politics came in, loud and clear. “You’ll love who you want,” Washington said, as the camera panned over a black baby boy. “You’ll demand fair and equal pay,” she continued, with a white baby girl in the foreground. “You will not allow where you come from to dictate where you’re going,” the actress added, in the least political of the three statements.
The ad concluded with a call to activism for babies — seriously. “You will be heard, not dismissed. You will be connected, not alone. Change starts now. Are you with us? T-Mobile.”
T-Mobile CEO John Legere explained why the company went with a political message, rather than a message actually related to wireless phone and Internet service. He argued that “something remarkable is happening right now. Change is in the air. And, this moment in history calls for something different. Something more impactful. Something more meaningful.”
Legere emphasized that his company serves “diverse customers all across the country from every region, economic class, race, sex, creed, gender identity, sexual orientation. Our customers are America.”
“T-Mobile has always stood for inclusivity. For equality. And for challenging convention. It’s in our DNA,” the CEO explained. “After all, that’s our business. Wireless disrupts everything, and at its very core, it connects us all – friends, loved ones, neighbors, strangers. THAT is who we are.”
Challenging convention in terms of Internet and phone service is laudable and helps everyone — no matter their political views. It seems Legere only wants to cater to customers on the Left, however. His “inclusive” message involves activism:
That’s just one reason I proudly wear magenta every single day. This color represents a brand that stands for something and walks the talk. Just look at our accolades. Best place to work for diverse employees, for parents, for military, for LGBTQ. We have one of the most active Diversity & Inclusion networks in corporate America, groups that help us continue to create an ever-stronger work environment where everyone – absolutely everyone – is supported and can bring their whole, authentic self to work.
Inclusion in the workplace is a laudable goal, but not everyone wants to normalize homosexuality, and not everyone buys the myth that the gender pay gap is due to sexism rather than individual choices. In attempting to be “inclusive,” T-Mobile has excluded conservatives and anyone who understands the truth about the gender pay gap, whatever their politics.
As Andrew Biggs and Mark Perry, economists and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, pointed out in an article for RealClearMarkets, “The reality is that men and women make very different career and work choices, and frequently play very different family roles, especially for families with children. These choices reasonably account for most of gender differences in earnings and don’t point toward widespread gender pay discrimination in the workplace.”
Biggs and Perry pointed to two major factors contributing to wage differences: the skills and productivity gap; and the “compensating wage differentials” that result in higher pay for more demanding or risky jobs.
Julie Borowski, a female libertarian YouTube star, asked a very pertinent question, “What do you prefer: a low paying job that you love or a high paying job that you hate?”
“My guess is that many men and women would answer that differently,” Borowski argued. She suggested that, on average, more women would opt for a job they love despite low pay, while more men would value pay over work they love.
Tellingly, Borowski said, “Women like me are the reason for the gender wage gap.”
If the gender pay gap is the result of discrimination in the workplace, that is unjust, and it would violate existing employment law. If, however, the gap is the result of free people’s free decisions, trying to fix it by politics is extremely misguided. This incorrect stereotype distorts reality and sows distrust among Americans.
In attempting to be inclusive, T-Mobile has blasted a divisive message. Even so, the 2018 T-Mobile ad was not the first Super Bowl advertisement to cite the gender pay gap. Last year, Audi spouted the same nonsense.
Make no mistake: this video is a political activist message. Rather than dividing people, T-Mobile’s ads should challenge convention in providing excellent service — rather than by pushing activist messaging.
Watch the video below.