Politics Weighs Heavy Throughout Super Bowl 51 Ads

So, another Super Bowl has come and gone, and Tom Brady has his 5th ring to add to the collection. As with each year, a huge draw of the Super Bowl for people in America is the ads that play during the coverage of the game. For advertisers, the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of the year. With a 30 second ad costing an estimated $5,000,000 (is it worth it? – https://www.mediaworks.ie/super-bowl-toyshow/), advertisers go all out.

The weeks leading up to Super Bowl 51 were overshadowed by political overtones – would Donald Trump make an appearance as he is friends with Patriots’ owner, Robert Kraft and Coach, Bill Belichick? He didn’t. Would Lady Gaga go on an anti-Trump tirade during the halftime show? She didn’t. Would advertisers use this opportunity as the most watched television event to show their political allegiances? They did. Many advertisers aired ads that had themes of inclusion, diversity and immigration – all which have never been more relevant considering the political climate in America currently.

Here are our highlights:

Budweiser – Born the Hard Way


Budweiser released their Super Bowl ad a week before it aired on TV. It tells the story of a German immigrant coming to America in 1857 to follow his dreams. The protagonist of the ad is greeted with hostility upon his arrival, with cries of “You’re not wanted here! Go Back Home!” heard from the mob that meets him on the pier. Budweiser have stated that the ad was not created with the intention of being a political message, however the similarities between the ad and today’s politics are stark.

Airbnb – We Accept


One of the most overtly political ads of Super Bowl 51 comes from Airbnb. The ad shows close ups of faces of varying ethnicities and backgrounds with a message running throughout about inclusion, belonging and acceptance.

84 Lumber – The Journey Begins


84 Lumber win the award for most controversial ad of Super Bowl 51. The ad depicts a mother and daughter travelling across Mexico in search of a better life. The ad was originally rejected by the network for being “too political”.

It’s a 10


Hair care brand “It’s a 10” went down the comedy route in order to get their political message across. The ad opens with the line “America, we’re in for at least 4 years of terrible hair”, which is a sly dig towards Trump’s notorious hairstyle.

Coca-Cola – It’s Beautiful


Coca-Cola ran a previously aired ad this year. It’s a strange move, however not unprecedented. Perhaps considering the nature of the content, they thought it would be fitting to air it this year. The ad shows people of all different backgrounds singing “America is Beautiful” in many different languages.

They say that politics and sport don’t mix. However, it seems that politics and advertising do!

Graham Curtis