Super Bowl ads, politics and current affairs

- Celebrities, sap, and stunts are typical fodder for Super Bowl ads, but in this year's charged current climate, will they also include politics?

One ad is already getting attention for its political undertones. Budweiser's "Born the Hard Way" spot tells the story of company founder Adolphus Busch's journey from Germany to the United States. As Busch is welcomed to America, someone shouts the line, "You're not wanted here!" The ad was shot months ago but debuts at a time when debate over immigration has reached a boiling point.

Other ads, like a Kia spot with actress Melissa McCarthy, promoting its eco-friendly SUV is intended to be funny, but also touches on environmental issues. It in, McCarthy is seen trying to save the whales, trees and melting ice caps. A voice says at the end, "It's hard to be an eco warrior but it's easy to drive like one."

"I think you'll see a little bit of politics, but very gentle," says James Cooper, editorial director for AdWeek. "A lot of it wasn't really intended to be a political statement, it just sort of tapped into a zeitgeist around immigration or the environment that just happened to be in the public dialogue."

Cooper says brands don't want to take a gamble on a $5 million ad spot and risk alienating viewers.

"The country is pretty evenly divided right now, so you're talking about 60 million people not necessarily liking your spot so it can be very dangerous," Cooper says.

One ad by Pittsburgh-based company 84 Lumber has already been rejected by Fox for being too controversial. It reportedly featured images of immigrants at a border wall. The company will now air a different spot during a game and post the original ad online instead.

Even brands that traditionally court controversy are playing it safe. Internet company GoDaddy told the Wall Street Journal: "We didn't want to add to what is an already politically-charged, divisive climate."

That's just fine with football fans we spoke to.

"There's a time and place for everything and that's our getaway, so let's just leave politics out," said Duke Long of Wisconsin.

Lisa Arpaia of New Jersey agreed.  "Let's leave something sacred, please, enough is enough," she said.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in - includes Advertiser Stories