Cetaphil ‘made things right’ with TikToker after their regional Super Bowl ad copied her

Well, another Super Bowl has come and gone. Overall, I think it was a good year. The game was a nail-biter, Usher’s half-time show was chicken soup for the Millennial soul, and there were some really great commercials. In my household, the Paramount+ and the Affleck Dunkin (“Ya blinded by them pinstripes!”) commercials got the most laughs. One of the higher-praised Super Bowl commercials released ahead of time came from skincare company Cetaphil. Their commercial, an ad that ran in select regions during the game, featured a dad and his Swiftie daughter bonding over football as the daughter uses Cetaphil’s makeup remover. It ends with them wearing #89 and #13 jerseys while watching the game together. It’s a sweet commercial, even if it’s not very subtle about capitalizing on the “Taylor Swift is saving father/daughter relationships!” narrative.

Turns out Cetaphil was also not very subtle about blatantly copying a TikToker’s concept. After the commercial aired, TikTok creator Sharon Mbabazi called the company out for, shall we say, “heavily basing” the ad on a series of videos that she and her stepfather had made. Basically, Sharon’s videos are set in her room where she’s applying makeup while her stepfather interrupts to update her on the latest Travis Kelce/Taylor Swift news. In the end, her stepdad and the commercial dad both embrace skincare while their daughters get into football. As Sharon puts it, ”bar for bar, it’s the same concept, same idea”.

A heartwarming Cetaphil commercial that first aired in the lead-up to the 2024 Super Bowl has drawn both praise and criticism. In the ad, called #GameTimeGlow, a father’s attempts to connect with his daughter finally take hold when the daughter, a Swiftie (who is also into skincare), takes an interest in watching football after Taylor Swift’s appearances at the Chiefs games. As they sit on the couch together, his wrist, adorned with friendship bracelets, is featured prominently.

When the commercial debuted on Friday, many Swifties and others remarked on its tear-jerking qualities and the improbability of being moved to cry by an ad for a cleanser.

Swifties praised the commercial for reflecting their own relationships with their dads. “This is exactly me and my father’s situation,” one person wrote in the YouTube comments. “I’m a huge swiftie, and he is a huge NFL fan, and I can’t even explain how much we bonded over those games.”

Over the weekend, however, some criticized the ad, with some saying the dad only connected with his daughter when she took an interest in his hobby. But the main criticism arrived when a TikTok creator made a video claiming that the skincare company stole the idea for the advertisement from her content. In Sharon Mbabazi’s original video, shared in September, the creator is doing her makeup as her stepdad reads off stats about Taylor Swift’s impact on the NFL. The creator took to TikTok to call the company out and posted videos aimed at the skincare brand.

“Y’all, Cetaphil legit copied the TikToks I made with my stepdad back in September,” she said in her video. “Like, y’all could have at least given us some credit.”

Mbabazi and her stepfather made another video where they used audio from a Euphoria scene where one of the characters asked, “Is this f-cking play about us?”

They also uploaded a third video in which they discuss the commercial, and Mbabazi’s stepfather says, “That is a beautiful story that you have in your commercial that’s going to be on the Super Bowl, but it’s our story.” He then goes on to say that Cetpahil stole the content his daughter made.

[From Time]

Yeah, this was pretty sh–ty of them to do. It never ceases to amaze me what companies will continue to try to get away with in this day and age. It shouldn’t, but it does. Good for Sharon and her stepdad for speaking up! They got results, too. It didn’t take long for Cetaphil to respond to the uproar:

On Sunday evening, Mbabazi uploaded a video shortly after the game began and said the company made contact with her. “Cetaphil has reached out, they’ve acknowledged all the videos, and they’ve made things right with us,” Mbabazi said. However, she and her stepfather did not go into detail about their conversations with the brand.

Heh, this makes me suspect that they knew what they were doing and had someone on duty to monitor her socials to keep track of any potential trouble. Good for Sharon and her stepdad! I hope they get compensated accordingly. You know, it’s wild – these companies pay employees good money to come up with great advertisements, yet in the end, they end up stealing other people’s original ideas and concepts. If you want to laugh at a skincare Super Bowl commercial, Michael Cera’s ad for CeraVe is pretty fun.

@sharavinaaa Yesterday’s pregame chat with my stepdad 🤣 he loves barging into my room. #CetaphilPartner #GameTimeGlow #CetaphilFamily #ad ♬ original sound – Sharon Mbabazi

Photos via Pinterest, Sharon Mbabazi

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23 Responses to “Cetaphil ‘made things right’ with TikToker after their regional Super Bowl ad copied her”

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  1. Jais says:

    Yeah I hope made right means they got paid. And compensated what they’d deserve as concept creators.

  2. Bumblebee says:

    They didn’t even pretend they had no clue! Just waited to see if she made a big enough stink that they would have to fork out some money. Cetaphil, you are not the only skincare brand you dummies, people have choices. And my choice is to walk away from shady sh*t like this.

  3. Olivia says:

    Naawww… Sharon and her step dad’s videos are so cute.

    Isn’t it clear now that if you see someone on socials making content you really enjoy, then you reach out and hire them.

    I wonder of it was an employee who submitted the pitch for the ad as their own idea?

    Either way, Cetaphil looks so dodgy stealing a black woman’s work.

    • Giddy says:

      This! Was it an ad company that stole the idea and submitted it to Cetaphil as their own? If so, I would think that company just lost a huge account. This makes sense to me because I can’t imagine that executives at Cetaphil troll TikTok for ideas. However it happened, I’m glad that Cetaphil made it right.

  4. StillDouchesOfCambridge says:

    I hope the amount is good
    How much is an idea like this worth for a superbowl ad?

  5. LooneyTunes says:

    I guess they weren’t the right color to be swifties. 😳 Glad they got paid.

    • Kate says:

      The commercial was also a white father and a black/biracial daughter, so it’s even more shady I think! Cetaphil really didn’t bother to make any changes to the original.

      • Blithe says:

        Yeah, that stood out to me too. I hope that “made it right” really did.

        How much would an ad agency make with a successful Super Bowl ad? What would the lawyer’s fees look like if one agency stole intellectual property (or whatever it would be called) from another? That’s what this family should get.

        That Cetaphil actually WAITED to see if they would get away with their theft should add more zeros. I’m glad that this family is satisfied with the way it was settled. I hope their deplorable business practices haunt Cetaphil and their agency for quite a while.

  6. manda says:

    Ok, so I saw that commercial and kind of wondered what it was advertising because cetaphil was barely shown. I feel like the original tiktok is 1000 times cuter and funnier

    Also, was she already in a sponsorship with cetaphil when she made it? It sort of appeared that way but I am not always so savvy

  7. Cessily says:

    Good I really didn’t want to find a new facial cleanser. Those ad executives make big money 💰 so I hope she got a huge payment for her idea/content. I’m glad they recognized it and did something about it instead of just ignoring it.

  8. Dss says:

    Here’s a tagline for Cetaphil…. “It’s the only soap that doesn’t give me a UTI”

  9. Marie says:

    Prior to this ad, the head of the ad company that made the commercial was actually posting a lot of shit about Taylor on Twitter yet had no qualms in using her
    impact for financial gains. So no, I’m not surprised that they’re scum.

    • Lexilla says:

      Honest question, wouldn’t this be at the feet of the ad company? I’m not sure Cetaphil execs would have known the idea was ripped off.*

      *(She wants to believe because she’s devoted to Cetaphil.)

  10. lucy2 says:

    I wonder if the company knew before, or if whoever did the ad got busted copying? Either way, glad they made things right, which I hope means someone backed up the money truck for Sharon.
    In this day and age, how do people/companies think they aren’t going to get called out on this?

  11. swaz says:

    Good for her for speaking up, companies get away with this things all the time.

  12. BW says:

    The last time I bought Cetaphil, they had changed the ingredients. New and improved, yeah. It now has a lot more glycerin in it than it used to. My face doesn’t feel clean anymore, just “moist” in that “coated with glue” feeling. I had already decided to quit using it.

  13. North of Boston says:

    I used to love a Cetaphil moisturizer, formulated for face and body. Worked great, no skin reaction, no heavy scent.

    Then they reformulated, to something only for body. Fine.

    What is NOT fine and is that the “improved version” is gooey and Smells exactly like mildew.

    The first time I bought it I returned it, thinking it was a tainted batch. (And had to wash my hands and arms multiple times to get rid of the mildew smell. The 2nd time I just tossed it ($15 in the trash). Since then I checked the scent in the store … and it ALL smells like mildew.

    For some reason “now new and improved!
    With slimy non-absorbing feel and strong fragrance so your skin smells like mildew!”

    is the direction they gone in.

    The management there is making some odd decisions and their ad agency apparently is super sketchy.

    CeraVe is now my go to day to day body moisturizer.

  14. Chiara_Boss says:

    It’s a concept based on a situation that happened to hundreds if not thousands of Swifties. And tiktok and makeup are the essential part of Taylor’s target audience’s identity. So it’s all is really on the surface. You don’t need to see that tiktok – and it’s quite possible no one from Cetaphil’s team seen it – to scoop this trend.
    The ad has a different plot. IMO it’s super generous of Cetaphil to pay anything.

  15. Moira's Rose's Garden says:

    Another instance of a black creator’s work being stolen by mediocre people who make big $ to be creative. I hope sis got paid though.

    And now that the fact that Cetaphil is trash has been exposed, I can add them to the list of brands/stores to avoid. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  16. T says:

    There’s no doubt. Copied right down to the dad’s bracelets. Sidenote – the young woman in the Super Bowl commercial looks like a young Meghan to me.

  17. ME says:

    She’s damn gorgeous ! Good for her for speaking up.