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Super Bowl commercials: advertisers fight for public attention

Kelcy Conroy

Assistant A&E Editor

Super Bowl LVIII was down to the wire on Feb. 11, with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers in the last seconds of overtime. However, through the tension of the game, different forms of entertainment helped even out playing time from non-playing time. Usher performed a splendid halftime show bringing out artists such as Alicia Keys, Lil Jon and Ludacris. One of the focal points of the night were the commercials that aired, bringing joy, sadness and controversy.

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Some commercials made us laugh, such as the Dunkin’ commercial starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez and Tom Brady, introducing us to the “DunKings,” a boy band created for the commercial which received their own menu items and merch the day after it was aired. Fans of musical theater jumped for joy when the trailer for the movie adaptation of “Wicked” starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande was released. Etsy featured a commercial following Americans giving the French a charcuterie board of cheese as a thank you for the Statue of Liberty. FanDuel edited their commercial to pay homage to late “The Mandalorian” and “Rocky” actor Carl Weathers, who was in the original commercial before his passing on Feb. 1. 

However, some commercials that aired received controversy. An ad from the Christian campaign “He Gets Us” aired a 60 second ad showing a pro-life protester and a woman outside of an abortion clinic, a police officer, a Black man, a migrant mother and a white woman. This ad closed with a message that said “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet,” as the people in the ad were doing. Instead of bringing people together however, the ad did the opposite. Left-leaning viewers noted that one of the largest donors for the campaign was the owners of Hobby Lobby, a company known and criticized for their controversial Christian views. Conservatives were critical because they believed the ad was sending the wrong message and that it doesn’t align with Christian theology. Disagreements also arose with the ad from Robert Kraft’s “Foundation to Combat Antisemitism” (FCAS). This ad featured Dr. Clarence B. Jones, the former speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many people expressed disdain for the ad due to Israel’s current attacks on numerous places in Palestine. Coincidentally during the Super Bowl, Israeli forces attacked the city of Rafah, a place that was deemed one of the only “safe spaces” for Palestinians. However, many people also argued that the commercial was appropriate as antisemitism has risen 337% in the US alone since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a series of coordinated attacks in Israel. 

Overall, the surprise of the Super Bowl lasted up until the last second, while controversy towards commercials that aired is still lingering. One of the things that should be considered more when commercials are aired, especially during a mass public event, is the audience of the commercial and how they will react to it.


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