The Super Bowl has always been a commercial spectacle. With its advertisements, the half time performances and those who are involved both on the field and those off of it. This year the prime time slots for advertisements that are much sought after and for good reason too, with millions tuning in to watch the coveted Games, have provided fodder for much analysis and discussion.
Famous brands advertised – as usual. Sentiments were evoked in these advertisements – also as usual. However, if one observed closely, it was about the majority of the spectators voicing their views and showing discontent at the status quo. The commercials, as the advertisements are commonly referred to as, portrayed gender inequality through the wage gap issue, the long-standing notion of unity in America through its diversity and a satirical take on the growing concerns for global climate change and wildlife protection – all issues that were on the forefront during much of the lead-up to the Presidential election. The current administration has raised concerns about their stance on such issues. These commercials were unquestionably a not-so-subtle take on the present Government’s doctrine.
The Super Bowl, with its All-American packaging and promotions, has been an annual show of pomp and spectacle that seeks to reaffirm the patriotic sentiment that brings the nation together to self-proclaim themselves as the best in the world. The winning team is greeted and congratulated in the White House, which has been a customary gesture. This year, there have been claims of boycotts from the players on the winning team who have been vocal about their disregard for the newly sworn-in President. As far as making a political statement go, this is right up there.
It is worth prodding into the intention of the nature of the advertisements too. Were they undertaken by the brands to distance themselves from the ongoing political rhetoric of isolation? Or was it to take advantage of the commentary and public outcry and cash in on that? Or further still, to bring out and establish what the brands stand for and their stance in the social commentary?
It could be one or all of these reasons.
But, one thing is clear. This year’s Super Bowl was definitely more than the champions. It was about public conscience and political milieu. An overwhelming portion of the American population went out of their way to let the world know that they were bleeding red, white and blue.