The Super Bowl: is all publicity good publicity?
Controversy has always been a sure-fire way to get noticed and so it will come of little surprise that in 2017, in the dawn of Trump’s America, politics is the topic of choice. It’s guaranteed to get people talking about your brand – although often loudly, and potentially while spitting nails. With celebrations of multiculturalism, diversity, and America’s history as an asylum of the ‘tired, poor and huddled masses’ abound in this season’s commercial line-up, we saw other advertisers make overt political commentary with a story of Mexican immigrants stuck behind a towering wall, and even quips at the President Trump’s ‘do.
But while these brands have certainly received praise for their efforts – and probably gained a new set of fans from those who have taken these adverts to be salutes to tolerance and progress – they have simultaneously alienated swathes of Americans who took to social media to vent their outrage.
Does any brand plan to wake up the morning after the launch of a multimillion dollar campaign to see their brand trending on twitter with #boycott written in front of it?
Considering the amount of vitriol these brands are now receiving, it will be fascinating to watch how these campaigns will affect their sales. Will this year’s Super Bowl commercial break act as a controlled experiment to finally figure out whether “all publicity is good publicity”?
Here are some of the offenders – (or favourites, depending on which side of the wall fence you sit on):
AirBnb’s “We Accept” ad had a clear message of tolerance to some, but was seen as a defiant statement against President Trump’s policies to others
Audi managed to get themselves on the #boycott list with an advert stating that they have a workplace policy of gender equality.
Budweiser told the story of one of its founders’ (Busch) journey of immigration to the USA – the ambiguity of its message proved divisive.
Coca-Cola has re-aired their highly controversial from 2014, where America The Beautiful was sung in different languages.
It’s a 10 haircare makes a tongue-in-cheek jibe at a certain politician’s barnet.
84 Lumber perhaps sparked the biggest debate of them all with this delicately filmed homage to those who attempt to cross America’s borders.
(Image: Budweiser 2017.)