Super Bowl Commercials Impart Political Commentary

Logo courtesy of Simon Berry, Flickr

Whether football fans, people dragged to a party to watch the game or obsessed Lady Gaga enthusiasts, many viewers of Super Bowl LI believed the game was historic. While watching Tom Brady solidify himself in the minds of many sports fans as the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL after winning his fifth championship ring is entertainment enough for many viewers, many people anticipated another aspect of the Super Bowl tradition just as much as the action – the commercials. Super Bowl commercials are typically known for their comedic tone and jaw-dropping time-slot price tag, however the most publicized and talked about commercials from this year’s Super Bowl were all unified by another theme: inclusiveness.

When President Trump signed an executive order in January restricting immigration from separate countries mainly populated by Muslim people, millions of Americans revolted by protesting in an attempt to tell the rest of the world that not all Americans agree with the ban. Amongst these seven banned countries is Syria, a country in ruins after a civil war and the invasion of ISIS, both of which have created one of the most devastating refugee crises in history. One controversial commercial that took a stance challenging the rhetoric coming from supporters of the ban was a from Coca-Cola.  It featured men and women of numerous nationalities and religions, including Islam, singing “America The Beautiful” in different languages. As the song was played, the faces of people from all walks of life are shown in close-up shots, with the purpose of showing that no matter where you come from, all can share and rejoice in American values.

While the commercial was meant to highlight and promote diversity, it was met with a great amount of controversy from people on Twitter and on campus. Junior Alex LaVigne said, “I just really hate when people try to stuff politics down my throat when I’m supposed to be getting entertained. It’s not even that I disagree, it’s just that I can’t seem to hide from political rhetoric, no matter what it may be.”

On the other side of things, people against Trump’s executive ban rallied behind the commercial as a way of showcasing their support for diversity on quite literally the biggest possible stage. Writer Danny Zucker took to Twitter when reacting to the commercials’ opposition, writing, “Imagine a world where Trumpsters got as angry about sending children back to war zones to be murdered as they do about a Coke commercial.”

While it is clear that people are tired of politics being thrown into just about every other facet of life that one can think of, Americans on the other end of the spectrum believe that showcasing equality during tough times will have a positive impact on the overall morale of America. Senior Julianna Spiezia said, “The commercial describes the diversity and individuality of our nation perfectly.”

“Gathering a unique group of people together and having them put their cultural spin on ‘America the Beautiful’ by singing in different languages illustrates that America is a nation of many different people coming together for the same cause,” Spiezia continued.

Coca-Cola and other commercials highlighting social issues were components of one of the most historic Super Bowls in the history of the NFL, a night where all can join together for a few hours to enjoy a universal love – football.