One of this year's most talked about Super Bowl advertisements had viewers widely agreeing on its merits, while other ads inspired stark disagreement.
With over 100 million people tuning in to Sunday night's Super Bowl, companies shelled out upwards of $5 million to NBC for 30-second commercials highlighting their brands, products, and causes. Below are three of the most talked about ads aired during last night's game.
1) Tide detergent perhaps had one of the funniest and most innovative commercials of the evening. The company, which was recently the target of unwanted attention after social media users filmed themselves participating in the fully ill-advised "tide pod challenge," poked fun at the often expected advertisements, such as the "typical Super Bowl car ad," "hilarious beer ad," and a "cold, refreshing" soda ad. Ultimately, Tide determined it could overcame those barriers to make any ad a Tide ad because they could all feature clean clothes.
The 60-second ad begins with "Stranger Things" star David Harbour driving a car across a sunlit landscape. The actor turns towards the camera and says, "Just your typical Super Bowl car ad." Before long Harbour is making his way through a number of different scenes, each evoking a generic style and feel normally associated with commercials marketing a particular products. The sequence shows a "hilarious beer ad" with a group of smiling actors laughing in a bar, what one can assume is an ad for home exercise equipment, and an ad for an Alexa-like device, amongst others.
Does this make every Super Bowl ad, a Tide ad?" Harbour asks at the end of the commercial.
2) Mobile communications company T-Mobile aired a commercial that broke with expectations by tackling racial equality and equal pay during its 60-second Super Bowl appearance. The highly politicized commercial, narrated by "Scandal" actress Kerry Washington, took the form of life advice given to a group of smiling babies of diverse backgrounds.
"You come with open minds and the instinct that we are equal," Washington narrates. "Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable. You'll love who you want, you'll demand fair and equal pay. You will not allow where you come from to dictate where you're going. You will be heard, not dismissed."
"Change starts now," Washington adds.
Responses to the commercial fell along political lines on social media. Liberal activists, celebrities, and organizations affiliated with the progressive movement tweeted their praise for the commercial.
— NARAL (@NARAL) February 5, 2018
— Reese Witherspoon (@RWitherspoon) February 5, 2018
Meanwhile, conservatives on social media criticized the commercial and the inherent politicizing of the Super Bowl.
Two thumbs down for T Mobile’s lame SJW commercial. #SB52
— Amanda Prestigiacomo (@AmandaPresto) February 5, 2018
Worst commercial award: @TMobile by far.
Americans are tired of people politicizing sports. It’s one area where Americans can come together and @TMobile says nope.
It will backfire on them.
— Dr. Milton Wolf (@MiltonWolfMD) February 5, 2018
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 5, 2018
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the company wanted this year's Super Bowl ad to reflect the company's belief that "we all started in the same place" and are "more alike than different."
This year, we wanted to use our #SuperBowl airtime to share that @TMobile believes we all started in the same place. We are more alike than different. And we are unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/piNDVYloAN
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 5, 2018
3) Vehicle manufacturer Ram Trucks recieved some backlash for running a commercial that used a portion of a sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. Fiat Chrysler, the parent company of Ram, released a statement shortly after the criticism started that explained the company worked closely with King's estate to receive the proper sign-off for using his words.
— RamTrucks (@RamTrucks) February 5, 2018
The statement didn't seem to appease many liberals on social media who saw the use of the sermon as offensive and disrespectful of their interpretation of King's vision.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 5, 2018
— Justine Bateman (@JustineBateman) February 5, 2018
It’s incredibly disgusting for Dodge to exploit Martin Luther King’s words to sell Ram trucks. Tone deaf as hell.#SuperBowl
— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) February 5, 2018
Organizations associated with the progressive movement delivered some of the harshest rebukes.
Shame on @RamTrucks. When MLK talked about service he was talking about serving movements and serving people, not serving corporations.
— People For Bernie (@People4Bernie) February 5, 2018
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) February 5, 2018