VOL. MMXIII..No. 209

BOLD MOVES | Strategy in Perspective

Super Bowl 2017: Immigration Themes Major Commercials


Thanks to our not-so-legitimate president, you can expect a much more political tone to this year’s Super Bowl.


Hot on the heels of Trump’s 20, largely divisive executive orders — including one that bans immigrants from entering our immigrant country — comes a retinue of Super Bowl ads that will no doubt have more staying power than just Monday’s water cooler conversation.


“This year, some brands will be purposefully political because they feel they know the values of their customers,” says Mark DiMassimo, chief creative officer at DiMassimo/Goldstein. “It’s also because they feel their customers yearn for the expression of those values. This is a risky but potentially successful strategy.”


This year’s Super Bowl is just as high stakes as ever, with an expected 112 million viewers. Budweiser has already received media attention with its right-on-target story of a young Adolphus Busch, who founded the brewery in the 19th century.


{ “2017 is different. It’s a combative, noisy, divided, angry, shocked, stunned, and fearful, audience.” }



“Budweiser framed the spot as an ‘immigrant story’ and the sense of conflict, risk, and courage added energy while the ability to easily slot this advertising story into the dominant frame of the news cycle — conflict over immigration — made it the winner.”


To DiMassimo’s point, the ad is a winner not just because it’s memorable, but because it conveniently can be interpreted as “political.” The opening line we hear is, “You don’t look like you’re from around here.”  Trump supporters have already taken offense and created a boycott of the ad, with the hashtag #boycottbudweiser. It’s certainly more compelling than the usual Clydesdales.


What’s more divisive than an Avocado? Maybe a Mexican Avocado.


Yes, even Avocados from Mexico is getting in on the immigrant story, albeit a fruit migrant story. And while the company claims its ad has nothing to do with Trump’s imposed trade tariffs on Mexico imports, it will certainly help underscore the point when everyone is stuffing their face with chips and guacamole.


{ What’s more divisive than an Avocado? Maybe a Mexican Avocado. }



There will be plenty of levity with the usual assortment of celebrity endorsement spots, but it remains to be seen which will keep people talking once the initial thrill is gone.


“The exceptional use of celebrities in Super Bowl advertising is expected, but there has to be something special in order to create a winning Super Bowl season for an advertiser,” says DiMassimo. “It’s got to be a larger story that extends the: 30 seconds of attention and interest to a week or longer of multi-platform engagement.”



As usual, celebrity-fronted spots will dominate at this year’s Super Bowl. From top: Justin Timberlake for Bai, Tom Brady for Intel, and Melissa McCarthy for Kia.

This year, expect to see Tom Brady, John Malkovitch, Adam Driver, Melissa McCarthy, Justin Timberlake, and Drake, as well as cameos from many others.


And unlike 2012, when Clint Eastwood brought everyone down and out with the disastrous Chrysler spot, “Halftime in America,” these celebs were hired to get laughs.


“2017 is different. It’s a combative, noisy, divided, angry, shocked, stunned, and fearful, audience. But it also includes Millennials, who are much more positive and less cynical about institutions and advertising. So the winning advertisers will find common ground in positivity.”

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