National carrier T-Mobile broke from the normal advertising tradition at Super Bowl LII and used its ad time to implore the populace for positive social changes by appealing to the plight of the next generation. Unlike most advertisers, T-Mobile did nothing to boast about its network or deals, but instead advocated for a sweeping societal change, implicitly condemning racism, homophobia, and classism, among other negatives. The commercial ran during the spectacular first half of the game, meaning that T-Mobile paid for top-tier ad space not to push a product, but to make its social stance clear and demonstrate that it accepts all of America. The spot essentially centers on a part of the lyrics of the original version of the background song from Nirvana: "all in all is all we are".
This ad is a big change from the company's previous Super Bowl fare, with the company putting the likes of Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg together to tell customers about its network and deals, or using big names like Justin Bieber. The break from protocol comes after a fairly long history of Super Bowl ads that run along traditional lines, and according to CEO John Legere, this year was originally planned to be more of the same. He said, however, that this ad was created instead because the company wanted to acknowledge the sweeping societal change being called for and already happening among its customer base.
T-Mobile has long been a proponent of injecting ethics into the wireless business, though rarely quite so bluntly as in this commercial. Legere's tenure as CEO thus far being a period focused on garnering subscribers and courting loyal customers by appealing to moral and ethical sensibilities, as well as customers' wallets, with common-sense business changes that shaved the company's margins in return for customers' favor. Meanwhile, the company has been throwing its newfound weight around to force a change in the wireless business. It's been a risky tactic, but one that's largely succeeded; pushed along by the Un-Carrier initiative and massive network buildout spending, T-Mobile has jumped ahead of Sprint to become the third largest wireless carrier in the United States, and Legere has said on multiple occasions that his goal is to break through AT&T and Verizon's industry lead.