By Maleeha Coleburn
Super Bowl LI was an intense game as the Falcons faced off against the Patriots Feb. 5. It was a seat-gripping game, filled with mind-blowing plays and catches.
While the actual Super Bowl games are famous, the advertisements are notorious. It is the real reason many people watch the game, whether they admit it or not. The Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for advertisers, and this year’s Super Bowl commercials did not disappoint. Companies did not shy away from calling out President Trump and his politics, both subtly and not so subtly. A few commercials stood out from the rest, common themes being immigration, diversity and acceptance.
Airbnb, the home-sharing company, had one of the most outright political ads of the night. Close- ups of people of various ages, races and genders were shown with a message of togetherness. It was simple and elegant.
“We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful, the more you accept.”
It was a beautiful message. A message necessary in today’s political climate, especially when hate and divisiveness are common.
Using the Super Bowl, Airbnb has highlighted its dedication to acceptance. Airbnb has committed to provide short-term housing for 100,000 people in need over the next five years, including refugees, victims of natural disasters and aid workers. The company has also pledged to donate $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee, a group that helps displaced people around the world.
Airbnb is not the only company that shared a powerful message during the Super Bowl advertisements.
84 Lumber, a building supply company, aired a controversial ad. The original ad was rejected for its depiction of a Spanish-speaking mother and daughter confronting a border wall between the United States and Mexico. An edited version without a wall was aired, though it prompted viewers to watch the full version. This tale of courage and hope was tear-worthy.
The beer giant Budweiser ran the ad “Born the Hard Way,” telling the story of founder Adolphus Busch and hinting at the discrimination he faced as an immigrant in the United States. It was a clear response to President Trump’s anti-immigration stance.
Shortly before the Super Bowl, Coca-Cola revived a commercial from the 2014 Super Bowl. It features people singing a multilingual version of “America the Beautiful,” showcasing a diverse population. While the moving ad is not new, it had an entirely different effect given the current national conversation around diversity and immigration.
While the argument against companies becoming political is understandable, do these large companies not have a moral obligation to stand up for inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity? Should they not use their large voice to help those whose voices are silenced?
A large round of applause goes to Airbnb, 84 Lumber, Budweiser and Coca-Cola for taking a risk with their ads. Major props to 84 Lumber who did not back down from ensuring their message be seen. In addition, Audi and It’s a 10 Haircare ran important political ads dealing with equal pay and diversity.
Even though these companies may have lost a few customers, they have gained numerous allies in their public show of commitment to acceptance and love.
Featured Photo Credit: As the day moved on, so did the attention of many protesters from the spectacle from outside the Trump International Hotel. Perhaps for the best, as today was not about Donald Trump, but instead about decency toward perspective American citizens, and basic human rights. (Joe Duffy/Bloc Reporter)
Maleeha Coleburn is a freshman journalism and government and politics double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.