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Cardi B’s Spicy Ad for NYX Got Neutered for the Super Bowl

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Audiences watching Super Bowl 58 on TelevisaUnivision and in the top 10 American markets this past Sunday were supposed to see a NYX ad starring Cardi B and a bunch of goofy guys who had misused Duck Plump lip gloss to enhance their privates.

It was a saucy and suggestive story that should have rolled out in two parts—first, a product promo with the rap star, and second, a punch line about men appropriating Duck Plump, suffering the consequences and being ridiculed for it. 

At least that was the plan.

But the NFL rejected the ad’s narrative payoff, causing some last-minute changes from the brand and agency McCann New York. The spot was ultimately approved in a truncated—some might say neutered—version, which dropped the joke and replaced it with an on-screen QR code directing consumers to the unedited 30-second commercial. A cryptic voice over from Cardi, lifted from the teaser, said, “That’s suspicious. That’s weird.”

In a diplomatic public statement, the brand would say only that it was “disappointed” with the rejection.

“As a female-led brand with female creators behind the work, we’re proud of our creative idea, which flips the script on male stereotypes with lighthearted humor,” Yasmin Dastmalchi, general manager USA at NYX Professional Makeup, said. 

McCann, calling its L’Oreal-owned client and first-time Super Bowl advertiser “culturally relevant and bold,” pointed out a truism of commercials in the Big Game.

“Comedy has often been delivered through a male lens for male audiences, which made our [spot] different and unique in making everyone laugh,” Shayne Millington, chief creative officer, said in a statement. The NYX ad was conceived, directed and produced by women, both in front of and behind the camera, Millington noted.

The NFL did not respond to requests for comment.

‘Most NFL thing’

The situation unfolds as the NFL’s viewer numbers are breaking records and its female fan base has never been larger, partly due to the Taylor Swift effect. 

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