Super Bowl commercials pack punch


There are three types of people that can be found on Super Bowl weekend: The football fans, the halftime show performer stans, and the commercial consumers. Never having been one for football, I happen to fall into the last category. Super Bowl commercials this year sold for $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime, and while the usual humor seemed to be lacking in this year’s lineup, the millions of dollars of advertising were not wasted. While somewhat disappointing on face value, the Super Bowl proved to have it’s usual hard hitting commercials after a bit of digging. Here are my picks for the top five commercials of the bowl.


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Honorable Mentions:

Kia’s Eco Friendly Car It was a good weekend for Melissa McCarthy, who debuted her Sean Spicer impersonation on the popular show “Saturday Night Live”, and then continued the hilarity into Sunday night with her Kia Commercial. The commercial featured an activist McCarthy struggling to “save the world,” by sitting in trees, standing on ice caps, and being chased by endangered rhinos. The end message was that while it’s hard to save the world, it’s easy to drive an eco-friendly car that will help.

The Handmaid’s Tale TV Series The Handmaid’s Tale is an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s book by the same name, and it will make you squirm while reading. The book tells the story of Offered, a woman struggling to survive in a not-so-futuristic patriarchal society. The book was creepy, and the commercial was creepier. Since the commercial, the book has skyrocketed to Amazon’s best seller list, and just by looking at the cast I’m sure this one will be an immediate hit. I can’t wait to redeem my free month trial of Hulu to watch this show.

Coca Cola The popular polar bears were missing from this Coca-Cola ad, but global warming was not the hot topic on hand. Instead, Coca Cola gave us a commercial full of beautiful visuals, and a chorus of “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages. Ranging from English to Spanish to Arabic, the commercial’s soundtrack promoted inclusion, diversity, and pride in our country.

Now that the honorable mentions are out of the way, let the countdown begin.


#5- Audi’s Equal Pay Commercial

I’m laughing at all of the people who thought we’d be able to make it through the Super Bowl, arguably the most looked forward to holiday by white guys across the nation, without any political commentary. Audi’s ad highlighted a young female derby racer destroying her male competition while her father’s voice contemplated the wage gap in the background. Heavy stuff. If there’s anything I like more than super hardcore female winners, it’s the acknowledgment that yes, the wage gap still exists. Audi’s commercial stirred up controversy with Dallas’s very own Tomi Lahren, who said in a tweet, “Hey Audi,The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, Men and women get equal pay for equal work, Stop trying to capitalize on political ignorance,” which is ironic considering capitalizing on political ignorance is literally her job. And while yes, the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, this really doesn’t mean anything, seeing as data shows there are wage discrepancies between not only men and women, but also women themselves (women of color consistently make less money than their white counterparts, male and female.) Overall, Audi’s commercial comes in 5th for its empowering female protagonist, cool cinematography, and message that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.

#4- Airbnb’s We Accept Commercial

While I would love to live in a world where preaching love and acceptance wasn’t a radical political statement, Airbnb’s simple message did cause quite the buzz. The commercial shows people of every race, age and religion staring directly into the camera. As their faces overlap, it becomes clear that the only thing Airbnb loves more than affordable housing around the world is acceptance. I may be biased in that I love Airbnb as a company, but this commercial was 30 seconds of love and diversity with any sort of advertising only appearing in the last few seconds, and I think that is what ensured the message rang clear. Within the hour of the commercial airing, #weaccept began trending on Twitter. While Airbnb’s commercial had it’s fair share of haters, overall the messages using the hashtag were in support of the ad. In addition to the commercial, Airbnb pledged to supply short-term housing to 100,000 displaced people and refugees around the world within the next five years. On their website, the company made the announcement, saying “People who’ve been displaced, whether because of war or conflict or other factors, are acutely vulnerable to not being accepted. They are, quite literally, in need of a place to belong.” This message of purity and real world action is the reason Airbnb places 4th on the list.

#3- Budweiser’s Immigration Commercial

Sure to give you goosebumps, Budweiser’s ad depicted a young German man coming to America in the 1800s, facing xenophobia as soon as he sets foot on the docks of the U.S., and rising above the struggles of his journey to find not only those who will greet him warmly, but the environment to achieve his dreams. At the end of his quest for a better life, the man finds sanctuary in St. Louis, and Budweiser beer is created. Based on the true story of the beer company’s origins, this was yet another commercial that stirred up a hashtag. #BoycottBudwiser began trending. Those who started the hashtag were none the wiser when it came to the spelling of the beer company’s name, but nevertheless, the hashtag trended. This is the commercial I especially don’t understand the negative backlash over, to be honest. I’m guessing it’s because the commercial could be seen as “pro-immigration.” Despite this, I’m assuming there is a pretty strong correlation between those who voted for Trump, and those who guzzle beer (I’m talking to you, frat bros), so I’m not really seeing the point in boycotting here. Budweiser gets a solid 3rd place in my opinion, because although it is hard to see the tough trials and tribulations faced by a good intentioned immigrant, it is a powerful and topical message that many American’s need to see.

#2- Stranger Things 2 Trailer

Oh come on, you didn’t think I’d get through this article without mentioning the trailer for the second season of “Stranger Things” did you? Listen, as a kid, I was annoyed that we didn’t get school off for Halloween. Now, at the ripe age of 17, I am livid at the notion that when the second season of this godsend TV show is released, I will be stuck in a cinderblock classroom. Even worse, Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, which means I’ll have to sit through an entire excruciating week of school before I can binge on the supernatural 80s goodness. I could write a frame by frame analysis of this trailer, starting with the classic and lighthearted “leggo my eggo,” ad that is quickly shattered by TV static and a screamed, “ELEVEN,” from none other than the fan favorite character, Mike. We see Will Turner, the boys biking frantically, we hear heavy breathing, and absolutely nothing makes sense. Possibly the best part of the trailer is the oh so adorable Gaten Matarazzo dressed in a classic ghostbusters costume, although it is hard to ignore the distressed look on his face. Questions of scary drawings, red lightning, and a sky spider are cut short as the iconicly creepy theme song is joined by a giant red “2” on the screen. While I am normally skeptical of sequels, I am willing to bet the release of season two will be the event of 2017. The only criticisms this ad seemed to face was the fact that the season will not be released until October 31. Never fear, though, Halloween is only 266 days away, and I’m sure we’ll get at least one more teaser before then.

#1- 84 Lumber’s Immigration Commercial

And coming in at #1 is the most political ad of the night, 84 Lumber’s immigration commercial. While at first confused, this ad made me cry more than a little bit when I watched the entire story unfold. Originally banned by Fox for being “too political,” the nearly six minute long commercial was split into two parts, only the first 90 seconds of which were shown on air. The ad showed a Mexican mother and daughter saying goodbye to friends and family members as they begin a trek across the country. The girl collects pieces of trash along the way, and while the journey is hard, the duo remains united in love. Around this time the ad cut off, and the words “see the conclusion,” filled the screen. Viewers across America pulled out their smartphones in curiosity, and, in just minutes, the website server crashed from the web traffic. Luckily for us, we live in a society with access to YouTube, and the rest of the ad was quickly found and watched by millions, myself included. While I don’t want to spoil the long and surprisingly cinematic ad, I will mention two more things. First of all, the reason why the commercial was deemed “too political” was the long, uncomfortable, and gut wrenching moment when the mother and her daughter face the wall. THE wall. You know exactly which wall I’m talking about. You can see the hope physically drain out of the mother’s face as she begins to cry. For many of us, we cried with her. While it is uncomfortable to face the reality of the life changing affect the wall will have on hundreds of thousands illegal immigrants, censoring the imagery of the wall allows us to live in a state of blissful political ignorance that is dangerous. The second thing worth mentioning is the end message. As we see a construction worker driving away from the border, we are met with the words, “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” Since it’s birth, America has been regarded as a country of innovation and potential. I think in recent years we have begun to forget that. 84 Lumber’s poignant message, surprisingly cinematic commercial, and incredibly human story is the reason it ranks #1 on the list.