Last night’s Super Bowl itself was lacking in any political messages — except in the subtext of the one team with three high-profile Trump supporters playing another team from one of the most diverse cities in America — but where Lady Gaga let us down by not sneaking in any overt political messages (aside from what is inherent in her music and personality), corporate America showed up. Several of the wealthiest, best known companies in America — plus, 84 Lumber — spent millions of dollars and risked their bottom line to speak against the anti-immigration messaging of our current Administration. Boycott hashtags cropped up all over Twitter in the wake of these spots, but I suspect — and these brands are banking on it — that the new support they receive will outweigh the loss of a few Trump supporters.
Here were the 5 most polarizing ads of the night.
5. Airbnb, “We Accept” — AirBnB, a company that has already been offering free housing to refugees, had a very simple, very sweet, and very effective message in their ad: We Accept. Unfortunately, not everyone was so accepting.
I want to be very clear. I do not need a room tonight. I'm in a hotel but I'm still going to book an #airbnb right now because just yes.— Josh Gad (@joshgad) February 6, 2017
4. Coke, “America is Beautiful” — This spot was straight-up outstanding, emphasizing that we are a nation of immigrants with the song “America the Beautiful” being performed in several different languages. Unfortunately, the Twitter response suggested that America is not that beautiful, sometimes.
Loved the commercial! Thank you for showing how America was made great, by diversity. #boycottcoke— Candyce Strafford (@Canbria) February 6, 2017
3. 84 Lumber — The Entire Journey — This spot was too “controversial” to air in its entirety, according to Fox, so viewers had to go the the website to catch the second half (and the website was down for a good 10-15 minutes after the spot aired due to overwhelming volume). I loved the ad’s message — “the will to succeed is always welcome here” — but I found the spot kind of confusing, like: Did 84 Lumber help build the wall? Or just the door that let those with the will to succeed come in?
Imagine being such a delicate flower that the phrase "hope for everyone" makes you boycott a company pic.twitter.com/V0ioyJM3ji— K. Thor Jensen (@kthorjensen) February 6, 2017
never heard of #84Lumber before tonight but you can bet that's where i'll be fulfilling all my wood needs from now on!— Lynn Shelton (@lynnsheltonfilm) February 6, 2017
2. Audi, “Daughter,” — One of the most powerful ads of the night came from Audi, which highlighted the pay-gap in America, offering hope of a future America where daughters won’t have to be told they are worth less than men. I have no idea how conservatives could disagree with this message — do they not want their daughters to believe they are worth as much as their sons? — but leave it to Twitter to find the ad’s hopeful message offensive.
1. Budweiser, “Born the Hard Way” — This Budweiser ad — a dramatized version of its founder’s immigration story — was perhaps the most polarizing ad of the night, because, in a Trump supporter’s mind, beer ads during the Super Bowl — the most American of all things! — shouldn’t be about foreigners, except that there is nothing more American than the foreigners who have made up our populace for 240 years.