Super Bowl advertisers used the massive platform to lecture Americans on a number of topics — from using clean energy and respecting the media to the proper treatment of mermaids in the age of #MeToo.
CBS, the network that hosted the big game, promoted “girl power” with an ad about girls playing football — and sponsor Budweiser took the time to note that the world-famous St. Louis-based company is now brewing its signature beers with wind power. (RELATED: The Robots Have Taken Over — The Super Bowl Ads)
Spiked Seltzer’s spot featured two mermaids pitching their idea to sharks — but the mermaids were quite literally buttoned up. Instead of the typical seashell-bra top made famous in any number of depictions of mermaids, the two in this particular ad wore shirts that bared a little midriff but were otherwise buttoned all the way to their necks.
Google advertised its translation feature with an ad focused mainly on how the ability to understand each other can bring people closer together. The image it showed when talking about how some language can be hurtful or divisive — police officers in riot gear at a protest — did not go unnoticed.
The Washington Post topped them all, however, taking out a multi-million dollar spot to talk about the importance of a free press. Featuring several journalists who have been killed for doing their jobs — including WaPo’s own reporter Jamal Khashoggi — it painted journalists as unbiased sources of information necessary to secure the freedoms Americans enjoy every day. (RELATED: WaPo Runs Super Bowl Ad Worth Millions Promoting Free Press Amid Mass Media Layoffs)
The ad, narrated by actor Tom Hanks, was a sore spot for several who got wind of it before it aired. Given the current climate in media and the fact that a number of outlets have recently faced layoffs, some felt that the choice to take out an ad — particularly one that was so expensive — was “in poor taste.”