Super Bowl LVII was full of firsts.

  • The first Super Bowl matchup between two Black starting quarterbacks
  • The first Super Bowl sibling rivalry, between Jason and Travis Kelce
  • The first Super Bowl military flyover piloted by seven female naval aviators
  • The first Super Bowl commercial debut by an agency holding company

Global advertising firm Publicis Groupe purchased commercial time in Sunday’s big game for “Monday,” a film the company produced as part of its “Working With Cancer” initiative, a cross-industry coalition of companies working to wipe away the stigma of cancer in the workplace.

Changing Work Culture For Cancer Survivors

There are rare moments in the advertising industry when advertisers and advertising agencies harness the zeitgeist and flex their creative craft to shape culture. Publicis Groupe created Working With Cancer to drive social change in the workplace for cancer survivors. Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun was diagnosed and treated for cancer in 2022. When Sadoun made his diagnosis public, he and his executive team received hundreds of testimonials detailing cancer experiences in the workplace. “We started to learn about cancer patients’ fear of losing their jobs, medical benefits, their ability to be promoted, and we’re determined to address it,” explains Publicis Groupe Chief Strategy Officer Carla Serrano. What resulted is an alliance of major international companies united by a pledge to create an open, supportive, and recovery-focused work culture for cancer sufferers.

Publicis Powers Its Commercial With Substance

Like other Super Bowl commercials, “Monday” is powerful, kinetic, and human. It depicts the story of two cancer survivors returning to work after treatment and coping with the worry of what awaits. “Our research shows that about half of cancer sufferers are unlikely to notify their workplace for fear of repercussions,” explains Publicis’ Serrano. The film artfully captures that reluctance, showing each survivors’ diagnosis, treatment, and recovery while also showing us their doubts, their terror, and the helplessness of their children and loved ones. But what awaits these two cancer survivors on their first Monday back at work is hope and the support of coworkers and employers standing ready with support. Publicis and the Working With Cancer coalition show us a vision of positivity, care, and healing.

But unlike most Super Bowl commercials that create beautiful, entertaining stories of what could be if consumers buy the product, Publicis Groupe has built the means and mechanisms for the social change that it seeks to achieve. Since its launch, the alliance has grown to 32 partners, including the likes of Adobe, Bank of America, PepsiCo, Toyota, and Walmart, as well as a second global agency holding company, Omnicom Group. According to Sadoun, Working With Cancer is already impacting the lives of 20 million people across the globe. Using its size and presence in the media marketplace, Publicis Groupe has raised $100 million in donated media from partners such as Disney/ABC, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, Fox, Roku, Snap, iHeart, TikTok, YouTube, NCM, Screenvision, Clear Channel, Lamar, Zeta, and Meta.

Most advertisers and advertising agencies created Super Bowl commercials that borrow from pop culture, entertain, and subtly (or sometimes not so subtly) attach meaning and significance to brands. It’s the rare commercial that shapes culture while also driving results. Publicis Groupe’s Working With Cancer does both.

Interested in Working With Cancer? Take the pledge to show your company’s support.