Super Bowl LI: The ads

06.02.2017 Super Bowl LI : Backlash Brands : Commercials
The Journey Begins by 84 Lumber, US

US – Several ads aired during the coveted half-time spot at Super Bowl LI stood out by demonstrating a Backlash Brands approach to the current political climate, tackling themes of equality and immigration.

  • Budgets for the high-profile advertising spot have exceeded those in previous years
  • The first cut of 84 Lumber’s ad, which featured a wall that blocked off America from potential immigrants searching for work, was rejected by Fox for being too political

Born the Hard Way was a surprising departure for the US’s number one beer brand Budweiser which, following its temporary rebranding as ‘America’ last year, has now firmly aligned itself with its immigrant roots by telling the story of its co-founder, Adolphus Busch, and his journey from Germany to America. The ad has prompted a boycott of the brand by some Donald Trump supporters who felt that the timing made it a direct attack on the president’s immigration policies.

Hardware chain 84 Lumber also concentrated on immigration with its two-part spot. The ad, which followed the journey of a mother and daughter travelling from Mexico to America, courted controversy much more overtly, with a concluding half deemed too controversial for tv and therefore only shown at half-time. The story ends with the pair arriving at the border to be confronted by a wall, but which they discover has been fitted with an open door accompanied by the tagline ‘The will to succeed is always welcome here’.

In line with the current conversation around female empowerment, exemplified by the recent global women’s marches, Audi has stepped forward as an advocate for a new direction with its #DriveChange campaign. The ad, which follows a young girl’s victory at a local cart race, promotes the idea that changing gender stereotypes must not just be left to women but must be driven by all sections of society.

The Big Picture

Many of the ads at this year’s Super Bowl showed a reaction against the distrust and disconnection explored in The Dislocated World.

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