Food, Friends, Football and…Politics?

I don’t know about you, but the main reason that I watch the Super Bowl is to see the funny commercials and advertisements. For some it may be the nachos, the wings, the famous Coca Cola, and all the delicious food (currently drooling). For others it may be a time to gather with friends and family and have a good time. Some just watch it solely to see the half time show. Maybe you’re literally just watching it just for the football or your team is playing and you really don’t want to watch them get destroyed.  From personal experience though, the ads are why I watch (and yes, maybe for the food too). Who doesn’t want to see all the Snicker’s commercials with the famous line “you’re not you when you’re hungry” or the Geico Gecko (come on, he’s adorable)? Interestingly enough though, this year’s super bowl ads had a few seemingly subliminal political messages.

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Image provided by pixabay.com

Advertisements played during the Super Bowl almost every year are likely to have a few political messages in them no matter what, but this year it seems to be a different story. This year’s election involved great controversy- fights regarding human rights, great outcries and protests, etc. Though some may agree with Trump’s views and political actions, others disagreed and tried to gain voice. The spread of this voice can clearly be seen in the Super Bowl advertisements of 2017. Take for example the 84 Lumber Super Bowl commercial. 84 Lumber is a material supplies company. In their Super Bowl ad, they portrayed a mother and daughter seemingly trying to cross the Mexican- American border. The full version was not included on television as it encouraged the watchers to finish the video on their websites.  This was actually because the full version was seen as a little too much politics as discussed in this article by Kyle Smith posted in The New York Post.  If the viewer did continue to watch, the end of the clip showed the mother and daughter approaching a wall blocking them from entering America. In the end, they found an open door and were able to enter and 84 Lumber acknowledged their support for them with a message displayed at the end of the commercial, “the will to succeed is always welcome here.” Could this have been an allusion to the American Dream which draws many people to the United States of America? Also, it seems to be an advertisement geared towards immigration rights which coincidentally is a huge controversy in politics right now. The company seemed to use this  very contentious and sensitive time to influence the audience of their political views or to gain awareness and pull some heart strings.

Yet, is this tactic effective in influencing viewers or is it hurtful and controversial in nature? Should companies be using the Super Bowl to advertise their products while also sending subliminally political messages? Well there are some pros and cons to this. Let’s be positive and think about the pros first. Doing this would allow for greater spread of awareness on political issues at hand. This is definitely something good that could come out of this, we don’t want our country to be ill aware. This would also allow those who are gathered with friends and family to outwardly converse with these issues and raise discussion. These commercials would also reach tons of people since there are so many watching.

The cons? Discussion with friends and family. Yes, I just said that this was a pro, but this characteristic can go either way. I grew up knowing about this saying, you aren’t supposed to discuss politics or religion at the dinner table. I know that at a Super Bowl gathering you may not be at the dinner table, but it might as well be thought of in that manner. Just as dinner is supposed to be time for family, the Super Bowl is also a time that people take advantage of the time they have to gather with friends and family. So let’s say you were invited to a Super Bowl party and you’re super excited to see your friends and the ads come on. You get this deep feeling that the ad is setting up a political message. Let us also say that you are extremely liberal and your friend across the room is really, really conservative. You both look at each other, with those eyes. No, not romantic ones. The ones where you know something’s about to go down and you are going to clash opinions and ideas. It creates such an uncomfortable scene; you’ve lost your appetite for those nachos that were once calling your name. You don’t laugh at the actually funny commercials. You leave the party not happy about the game or the time spent with your friends. You leave utterly irritated.

So there’s some effectiveness to using advertisements to send some awareness on political issues at hand. Advertisements can influence so many people’s opinions, thoughts, and ideas. They can also be geared towards the times, specifically revolving around election times. Yet, should political ideas be included in the Super Bowl? Sometimes politics should just be left out of the dinner table discussion, as well as the Super Bowl. 

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