Written by: J. Stokes – February 7, 2017
If there’s one thing people wanted to see during Super Bowl 51, it was the commercials. For years, the Super Bowl has been filled with entertaining advertisements meant to draw in customers. Companies have spent millions of dollars just to grab an audience’s attention in hopes of generating more lucrative sales. During this year’s Super Bowl, some companies chose to take huge risks. This came in the form of what many call political statements. While some may view this tactic as an innovative method of speaking out on certain injustices faced by individuals in the U.S., which could lead to more customers, others might caution against it.
For instance, Todd Starnes, an American conservative columnist, believed that “playing politics” during the Super Bowl was unnecessary. An example of such a political statement came in the form of Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial entitled “Born The Hard Way.” This 60 second advertisement briefly highlights the journey of Budweiser’s founder Adolphus Busch from Germany to St. Louis in 1857, pursing his dream of creating and distributing his own beer. One could assume that this commercial was a shot at President Donald Trump’s recent executive order aimed at keeping out “radical Islamic terrorists.” With the passing of this executive order, which we covered last week, Syrian refugees are not allowed to enter the U.S. indefinitely and six other countries, which are largely Muslim, must wait 90 days before they are allowed entry into this country. Moreover, President Trump has stated that he plans to build a wall, thus preventing Mexicans from entering the U.S. illegally (i.e. Trump wishes to create a border between the U.S. and Mexico). Given that President Trump’s stance on immigration is somewhat controversial, one could assume that Budweiser received its share of animosity and praise. Watch it below and see what you think:
Let’s address the negative side of things first. An argument some have raised is that one cannot compare the immigration of Busch to that of someone from Somalia or Iraq, both of which are among the list of countries identified in the aforementioned executive order. Dislike for Budweiser’s commercial even caused some to make a hashtag on Twitter entitled “#BoycotBudweiser.” Nevertheless, some good can be taken out of Busch’s journey to St. Louis. First, it fit the narrative of many advertisements that evening, which stressed inclusion within America. An example of this can be seen with Airbnb’s “We Accept” commercial:
Unfortunately, this commercial was met with mixed reviews as well (just check the comment section on YouTube…). Despite the back and forth between those in favor of and those against the messages promoted by advertisements during Super Bowl 51, one thing was for certain: they got people to talk. Isn’t that what companies ultimately hope for? More talk about a company means more interest, which could possibly lead to more sales. Regardless of your stance on the commercials shown during the Super Bowl, you’ve got to admit that creating a dialogue around political issues is brilliant. Nevertheless, sometimes advertisers can go a little too far.
Vizio, a privately held American company known for developing consumer electronics, is now paying (the last time we checked) $2.2 million in settlement charges for using its smart TVs to collect viewing data without consumers’ consent. Reportedly, Vizio has captured information on around 11 million consumer TVs since February 2014, concerning cable, streaming services, and over-the-air broadcasts.
This information along with certain demographic data, such as age, sex, income, and marital status, was reportedly sold to third parties for advertising and other purposes without the consent of those who used Vizio. The Federal Trade Commission is said to receive $1.5 million while the state will receive $1 million. While the actions of Vizio were supposedly meant to help companies make more revenue, you have to admit that the idea of your TV monitoring your every move does seem a bit creepy. For more information on how to navigate through this weird terrain of spying devices, especially if you have Vizio Television, check out this article here.
So there you have it; the complexities of advertising in America! Would it be weird if we told you that this post hasn’t even scratched the surface of companies, their commercials, and the various ways in which these companies use advertisements to make a profit? If you said no, then great! If you said yes, then that’s also good news. Be on the lookout for future posts highlighting this complex system of moneymaking within the realm of commercials and advertisements. In the meantime, be sure to watch out for any marketing schemes out there…and of course pay attention to these new-aged smart TVs.
**What’d you think of this topic? Did you enjoy the Super Bowl commercials this year? Let us know what you think!