If you’re a Black Panther fan, the ad that most got your blood pumping last night during the Super Bowl was definitely “Long Live The King.” It felt visceral and its sequences stuck close to the film, featuring Chadwick Boseman looking cool AF as King T’Challa as well as the LS 500 F Sport, a car Lexus is calling its most technologically advanced ever. But, like everything else about anything associated with Black Panther, the vibranium is in the details.
The new ad spot for Lexus was created by Walter Isaacson, an agency co-founded by Aaron Walton, a Black man. But the betting on Black doesn’t end there. The executive producer of the spot was Shauna Williams, a Black woman. And the ad featured hip-hop duo Run The Jewels’ headbanger “Legend Has It.” But there’s something else that has us stirring about the ad—the accents!
Keeping it incredibly close to the film, the ad features King T’Challa and his Dora Milaje guards speaking in Wakandan accents. We can’t begin to drive home how honorable it is to broadcast an African sounding accent to millions of viewers around the country during the most important sporting event of the year. Better still, the ad didn’t initiate a peep from potentially disgruntled folks around the country. That’s the power of Black Panther.
Walter Isaacson’s team that wedded Marvel and Lexus is truly multicultural. According to The Stable, the Super Bowl squad has leads of all ethnicities, with “over half of them being women.” And the shop— which should be said, is Lexus’ go-to for the African-American, Latinx, and LGBTQ demos— have more coming down the line as we await the wide release of the film. On the horizon are several New York Fashion Week activations; a graphic novel called Black Panther: Soul of a Machine; a poppin’ Comic-Con launch event, and more that will be inserting the Lexus brand into a cultural moment for both Marvel and Hollywood.
On the whole deal, Walton described things this way, “Partnering Lexus and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther was an authentic fit,” said Walton. “Both the brand and the film are breaking new ground in terms of advanced technology and cultural leadership.” Cultural leadership being the operative term.
This is one of the first Super Bowl commercials that approaches using a foreign accent organically instead of as a prop. There was this Volkswagen ad from 2008 that featured a Jamaican accent out of the blue.
Thank goodness the team at Walter Isaacson refused to do Black Panther that way. The film drops in theaters on February 16. And don’t forget to wear your best garb!