A Cetaphil commercial warmed the hearts of many viewers during the 2024 Super Bowl. But everything changed when a TikTok creator accused the skincare company of stealing his content for the Taylor Swift-themed ad.

Ahead of Super Bowl LVIII on February 11, when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in overtime, Cetaphil shared his “Game Time Glow: a new sports tradition for fathers and daughters” commercial on Friday. The emotional announcement shows father and daughter finding common ground about Taylor Swift and football.

In the ad, the father is seen watching football while trying to bond with his daughter on several occasions. The daughter has no interest in staying with her father, until she hears a football commentator say on television: “There she is here in support. The game’s most famous fan.”

The announcer's comments were a tribute to the 14-time Grammy winner, who has been seen at many Chiefs games to support her boyfriend and NFL tight end Travis Kelce.

The commercial continues as the father gives his daughter a red football jersey with the number “13” on it — which many fans have pointed out is Swift's favorite number. Before putting on his shirt, the two share a sweet moment where the father uses his daughter's Cetaphil moisturizer to get rid of her black eye before the two sit on the couch. At the end of the commercial, the father-daughter duo are covered in Swift's signature friendship bracelets and the teen finally puts down her phone to watch a football game with her dad.

“This season, fathers and daughters have found a new way to connect,” the Cetaphil ad read. “Let’s celebrate Game Time Glow.”

Cetaphil's Taylor Swift-Inspired Super Bowl Ad

While the ad received instant praise from football fans and Swifities alike, it wasn't long before TikTok creator Sharon Mbabazi and her stepfather accused the skincare company of copying their TikTok videos.

Mbabazi went viral on the platform in September 2023 following Swift's first NFL appearance at Arrowhead Stadium. At the time, the TikToker posted three videos that showed her stepfather talking to her about football and Swift while she did her skincare and makeup routine at a vanity table. Much like Mbabazi's video, the Cetaphil commercial also showed the young woman applying Cetaphil moisturizer to her face while sitting at her vanity.

His initial video, posted on September 26, has already been viewed almost three million times on the platform.

“Guys, Cetaphil legitimately copied the TikToks I made with my stepfather in September,” Mbabazi said in a video shared on Saturday. “Like, you guys could have at least given us some credit. And there?”

Mbabazi goes on to point out that the Cetaphil ad features a young mixed-race woman and her white father, noting how she herself is black and her stepfather is also white.

“In the video, she is doing her makeup and skin care at the dressing table and her white father walks in. I was doing my makeup at my vanity and my white dad comes in and tells me about football,” she continued.

“For a second I thought, OK, maybe it’s a coincidence. Until I saw her father come into her room and put skin care under her eyes like my stepfather did in our video,” said Mbabazi, referring to her TikTok video posted on September 30, in which her stepfather is seen wearing eye patches. “He put eye patches under his eyes when he came into my room, like, literally bar by bar.”

She added: “It’s the same concept, the same idea.”

In a follow-up video, Mbabazi and his stepfather sat side by side as he addressed the skincare company directly. “Here’s the deal, Cetaphil,” he began. “That’s a beautiful story you have and your commercial will be in the Super Bowl, but it’s our story.”

“My daughter created the content you stole,” he said, before asking Mbabazi to take credit for the ad: “Swiftie Nation, do what you want.”

Now, it looks like Mbabazi may get recognition for Cetaphil's Super Bowl commercial after all. In a statement to Ad age, Craig Elimeliah – creative director at advertising agency Prompt, which helped produce the campaign for Cetaphil – denied copying Mbabazi's TikTok videos. “We never saw the footage,” Elimeliah said.

He noted that the father and teenage daughter cast in the ad are actually a father and daughter from New York. “Part of our job is to make people feel seen and that’s what we did. It was a coincidental casting decision made at the last minute,” said Elimeliah, referring to the decision to cast a black teenager and a white father in the role.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cetaphil's parent company, Galderma, said The Independent that the brand developed the campaign without seeing Mbabazi's TikTok content. “We were inspired by a unique trend this year, where countless women and girls bonded with their parents over football and posted about it on their social channels,” they said.

The spokesperson also suggested that Cetaphil spoke with Mbabazi about the ad and will partner with her on future Cetaphil campaigns. “After speaking with Sharon, we see how she personally contributed to this trend. This campaign was a response to this trend and so we are not surprised that the campaign connects with so many people,” they stated. “We are so pleased to be working with Sharon and other influencers like her who embrace skincare and maintain such a positive online presence on this topic.”

Mbabazi has since shared an update with her followers regarding the Cetaphil advertising controversy. In a video posted on Super Bowl Sunday, she revealed that the skin care company “reached out” and “acknowledged all of the videos and all of the content.”

“They sorted things out with us,” Mbabazi added.

Just hours later, the TikToker shared his first sponsored video for Cetaphil with the hashtag “#CetaphilPartner” in the caption. In the comments, the company congratulated Mbabazi on the new partnership and welcomed her as a Cetaphil brand ambassador.

“I’m so happy to welcome you to the Cetaphil Creator Fam, Sharon,” commented the official Cetaphil US TikTok account.