Cetaphil is being celebrated for a heartwarming commercial that features a father and daughter’s non-communicative relationship repaired by the media coverage surrounding Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s heavily publicized coupling.
There’s just one issue: the skincare company allegedly stole the idea.
At least, that’s what TikTok user Sharon Mbabazi (@sharavinaaa) is claiming in a series of viral videos where she highlights what many are calling glaring and obvious similarities between the commercial and one of her own clips.
“When Cetaphil’s Super Bowl commercial copies your TikToks,” Mbabazi writes in a text overlay of her recent video. A sound byte, set as the sound for the video states, “Wait, is this f*cking play about us?” intoning that the skincare brand lifted ideas from Mbabazi’s video.
@sharavinaaa and it is!! #cetaphilsuperbowlcommercial #superbowlcommercial #swifttok #swifties #fyp #superbowl ♬ original sound – ❦
It appears that other folks are also finding similarities between Mbabazi’s clip and Cetaphil’s advertisement. X user Rachel Karten (@milkkarten) wrote, “A lot of praise on here for Cetaphil’s Super Bowl commercial, but TikTok user Sharon Mbabazi (and her stepdad) are claiming the brand stole the concept from their real story/viral content. Here’s one of their original tiktoks (2.6M views) and then the response to the commercial.”
In her tweet, she posted side-by-side videos of the original TikTok video Mbabazi uploaded with her stepfather. In the original video, Mbabazi is sitting in her room and recording herself as she applies makeup to her face. Her stepfather walks into the room and he’s reading off of a cell phone. The influencer explains the basis of her video in an overlay that reads, “My stepdad has been updating me on Taylor and Travis every day since Sunday.”
“OK, ready?” he asks.
“For?” she replies.
He then launches into his reasoning for coming into the room: “Since Taylor Swift showed up to Sunday’s Chiefs Bears game, 400% spike in Travis Kelce’s jersey sales. Kelce’s podcast now is number one overall on Apple. Kelce added 383,000 new Instagram followers. 24.3 million viewers watched the game, number one for the week. 63% jump in female viewers aged 18 to 49. Three times increase in the Chiefs’ searches on the web. And lastly, the Chiefs sold more tickets in a single day since the start of the season.”
@sharavinaaa I’ve turned him into a swiftie #taylorswift #traviskelce #kansiscitycheifs #swifties #swifttok #fyp #taylorandtravis ♬ original sound – Sharon Mbabazi
“I love the morning news,” Mbabazi says, chuckling again before the video cuts out.
The Cetaphil advertisement features two football fans sitting on the couch: a father and daughter who appear to be of different races bond over Swift references in the clip, which is set to emotional music. The clip begins with the dad watching the game as his daughter, headphones on and texting on her phone, walks out of the house.
Later in the commercial, the dad walks into the kitchen as his daughter is quickly preparing herself some food in a microwave. He approaches her holding a cell phone—it seems he’s attempting to broach a topic of conversation but he’s ultimately unable to. The scene shifts to the daughter, again, headphones on and by herself in her room before transitioning to a new shot: she’s sitting at her vanity counter and applying beauty products to her face.
The next scene shows her pops watching a football game, the volume is louder—his daughter hears something from the television set that piques her interest: A reference to Swift being “the most famous fan” at the game. The dad sees his daughter taking notice of the game and he cracks a slight smile, happy to see his daughter’s face.
In the follow-up scene, he walks into her room holding a red jersey with the number 13 on it (presumably Swift’s lucky number). He playfully puts some cream on his face from her collection after handing her the clothing item. She smiles, appreciating the gesture, and puts the jersey on. She walks to the couch and places the phone on the table, a symbol that she’s actively working on engaging with her father at that moment. They sit on the couch, share in laughter, and watch the game together—his wrist is donned with several bracelets, an obvious reference to Swifties trading them at concerts.
The Cetaphil ad ends with a message: “This season, dads and daughters found a new way to connect. Let’s celebrate that GAME TIME glow.”
Variety called the commercial a “sentimental” one and remarked that Swift is helping to “save Father-Daughter relationships.”
Mbabazi wasn’t happy that Cetaphil featured a “mixed race girl” and a white father in the video or that they were bonding over Taylor Swift, or that the girl, like she was in her original clip, was applying makeup to her face—without acknowledging or giving credit to her own video.
a lot of praise on here for cetaphil’s super bowl commercial, but tiktok user sharon mbabazi (and her step dad) are claiming the brand stole the concept from their real story/viral content. here’s one of their original tiktoks (2.6M views) and then the response to the commercial. pic.twitter.com/zsmO0wdZjW— Rachel Karten (@milkkarten) February 10, 2024
The TikToker mentioned that she was willing to believe the video was a coincidence until she saw the dad in the commercial take a bit of his kid’s beauty cream and apply it to under his eyes, like her own stepdad did in their content.
However, another X user on the platform said the story in the advertisement is from an actual father-daughter couple who said they began bonding at the start of the football season due to Kelce and Swift’s romance.
Mbabazi, in another TikTok saying Cetaphil blatantly ripped off her video, brought her step father onto the camera in order to share how he felt about the commercial. He says that while he found the spot to be “beautiful,” it ultimately was his and his daughter’s story.
“My daughter made the content that you stole. I don’t know if you paid somebody, your marketing department, if you’ve hired a company to make the commercial, all’s they did, bar for bar, took my daughter’s content…” he says.
@sharavinaaa Replying to @user7270110434048 @Cetaphil US #superbowlcommercial #cetaphilsuperbowlcommercial #swifttok #swifties #fyp #trending ♬ original sound – Sharon Mbabazi
“Swiftie nation: do your thing,” he concludes. “Taylor Swift, call them out on it, Travis, call them out, what’s right is what’s right.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Cetaphil and Mbabazi via email for further comment.