Joshua Dorsey, assistant professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, is an expert on consumer behavior and marketing and public policy.

He has studied transformative consumer issues such as mindfulness; rage in retail settings; healthcare; sustainability; and food anti-consumption behaviors. Review his biographical information in the CSUF Experts Guide

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Here, he discusses consumer receptivity and response to "Big Game" ads with more emphasis on the social message than the product.  

Do viewers want these types of commercials, and is there any risk of backlash?

Yes! No! Does it matter? The corporate social responsibility of firms extends far beyond the conventional wisdom of safeguarding the environment and instituting ethical labor practices. Social marketing—a separate, but related concept—is now an essential element of consumers’ decision-making processes, and often serves as an asset to affect consumer attitudes and purchases. Firms such as Tom’s and Bombas are exemplars of successful marketing and business execution of these concepts. 

For firms that may not represent this as their primary business model, but desire to make a statement about a current social issue, the risk is substantial. In a polarizing climate of identity politics, and understanding the influence of self-reported political affiliation on purchases, risk and reward must both be assessed. Backlash is likely, but the galvanization of support in certain consumer segments is, as well. For the particular firm/brand that considers this endeavor, it better be deliberate. It better be well-researched (market research, particularly with the existing consumer core), and it better be authentic. Colin Kaepernick was under contract with Nike for years prior to the well-known "Believe in Something" campaign, but they seamlessly stitched together a pivotal societal moment and also fortified an identity rooted in past social support. Any notions of impulse are painfully shortsighted.

Even if there is backlash, when has it been convenient to bear the burden of social issues? Consensus on any such topic is unlikely, to say the least. Thus, if it works for the brand…Just do it.

Which is more important for a Super Bowl ad, entertaining or inspiring?

Are you not entertained?? The brand, its cultivated identity, and the offered products/services play a role in determining this strategy. Some brands/products are more amenable to humor (beer, nacho cheese triangles); others may find drama most effective (Eminem and Chrysler during difficult financial times in Detroit). Most viewers will expect humorous advertisements to entertain them during the breaks in their entertainment. The bountiful opportunity to juxtapose drama/nostalgia/sadvertising, if executed well, can stand out in the crowd.