By: Alana Walker
We all look forward to Super Bowl Sunday, not just because of the game itself or half-time show, but because of the millions of dollars spent on Super Bowl commercials. It’s the one time of year big brands spend big ad dollars to produce something buzz worthy to be talked about and shared long after their :30 seconds of air time. This year, each spot cost the advertiser $5 million dollars, which doesn’t include the cost of producing the commercial.
Leading ad agencies use market research to produce creative that is intended to connect with the viewers, but much of the time we see creative spark controversy around whether or not the brand took it too far. Here is a peek at our top 5 most controversial ads of all time, ending with 2018’s biggest “Uh Oh.”
2007 General Motors
General Motors saw it’s fair share of controversy with a commercial surrounding a suicidal robot. Yes the spot spoke to the brands quality but did nothing for the brands integrity, having ignited much backlash for the company.
2010 Focus on the Family
This 2010 commercial shared the pregnancy of famed MLB and NFL athlete Tim Tebow. The commercial stars Tebow’s mother as she shares her decision not to abort her son despite being advised to. For obvious reason this commercial was not well received.
In this adorable commercial, entitled “Gracie,” a dad sits down with his daughter to share the exciting news of a new baby. What was meant as a special moment in a family’s life sparked instant uproar in the last few moments when we saw that the mother was Caucasian. Who would of thought that in this day and age this would spark such racist criticism?
2015 Nationwide Insurance
This Nationwide commercial has us baffled. Yes the little boy starring in it is undeniably adorable, but once we found out his tragic fate of having died at an early age, to say we were disheartened would be an understatement.
2018 Chrysler Dodge Ram
Sunday’s most controversial ad was for Dodge Ram. The car company decided to use an excerpt from a Martin Luther King, Jr., sermon, titled “The Drum Major Instinct,” with montage of videos showing family values. The contrast of the two sparked much criticism on the Internet. Many tweeted and shared this criticism saying that it takes a dig at King’s words and uses his speech as propaganda to sell trucks.
Regardless of opinion we can understand how the above ads could be seen in poor taste. However much they sparked controversy the ads were in a sense effective—the reason Super Bowl spots can carry a hefty price tag—these spots extend beyond the standard 30 seconds of air time with their buzz worthy creative, despite backlash. Rarely do brands seek to produce controversial ads, but all brands seek to capture viewer attention before and after the airing on Super Bowl Sunday.
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