After Super Bowl Ad Controversy, Cetaphil 'Made Things Right' With TikTok Creator

A regional spot mirrored Sharon Mbabazi's content. The brand says it was a coincidence.

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On Friday, skincare brand Cetaphil dropped a regional Super Bowl ad about a real father and daughter bonding over football after Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship created a spike in NFL interest among Swifties.

The problem? It bore an eery resemblance to a series of TikToks by creator Sharon Mbabazi. As the spot began to go viral, Mbabazi and her followers took notice.

In a Friday post, she highlighted the similarities:

  • Mbabazi is Black and her stepdad is white, while the teen girl in the Cetaphil ad is mixed race and her dad is white.
  • Mbabazi sits at her vanity doing her makeup when her dad comes in to give her football updates, while the girl in the ad is also at her vanity applying moisturizer when her dad walks in to gift her a Kelce jersey.
  • The kicker, for Mbabazi, is when the dad in the ad puts lotion under his eyes similar to the under-eye masks that Mbabazi’s stepdad donned for her content.

“Y’all could’ve at least given us credit,” Mbabazi said in the video. In a later video, her stepdad addresses the brand, saying: “My daughter made the content that you stole.”

Cetaphil and its agency partners said they weren’t aware of Mbabazi’s content while crafting the ad, and that all similarities are purely coincidental. However, the brand did reach out to the creator and her stepdad the day after Mbabazi posted her video asking for credit.

In a TikTok video update today ahead of the Super Bowl, the creator told followers that Cetaphil had “acknowledged all the videos and all the content, and they made things right.” Mbabazi also told viewers to stay tuned for more—teasing a potential follow-up to the initial campaign.

“The Cetaphil brand developed its ‘Game Time Glow’ campaign as an original creation and without seeing Sharon’s TikTok content,” a spokesperson told ADWEEK via email. “We were inspired by a unique trend this year in which numerous young women and girls have been bonding with their fathers over football and posting about it on their social channels.

“After speaking with Sharon, we see how she contributed to this trend personally. This campaign was a response to that trend, and we are therefore not surprised the campaign connects with so many.”

Cetaphil’s ad buy will only run as a regional ad, meaning that it’s only viewable in certain markets, and the spot that airs during the game is a 30-second cut of the roughly 80-second spot that dropped on Friday.

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