Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Super Bowl Commercials Annoy the Family Research Council

Super Bowl commercials always make for good entertainment. Perhaps in response to the political events preceding Super Bowl LI, several of the ads that ran this year had pro-diversity, pro-immigrant, and pro-environment themes. From the 84 Lumber commercial depicting a border wall, to the Airbnb commercial encouraging racial and religious acceptance, to a Budweiser commercial telling the story of an immigrant who endures bigotry, to the Kia commercial featuring Melissa McCarthy as an eco-warrior, this year's ads stood in contrast to the policies and attitudes promoted by Trump and his supporters

Naturally, some members of the Religious Right were unhappy with these progressive messages. In a February 7th Washington Update, senior Family Research Council writers complained that "a surprising number of companies chose to inflame instead of entertain". The commentary on the "parade of liberal businesses" included observations on "subliminal messages" in Google's ad and the low likelihood of 84 Lumber winning over conservatives with its "attack on Trump's immigration crackdown in its commercial bashing a Mexican border wall".
"Just as in football, there are winners and losers from Sunday's corporate blitz. Like me, most people tuning into the Super Bowl were probably hoping for a break from Washington. Instead, they got a front-row seat to an all-out political assault from some of America's best known brands. As most experts will tell you, these companies took a huge risk using one of the world's largest stages to throw their lot in with the liberal crowd ...

While a lot of executives are busier than a laundry machine spinning the reviews of Sunday's crusade, the results weren't nearly as positive as they'd like you to believe. As Fox News pointed out yesterday, the YouTube version of some of these commercials had more thumbs downs than thumbs up. Either these executives haven't learned their lesson or they're willing to tank their revenue to make a political point (which isn't exactly a popular option with shareholders). They underestimated the power of the consumer before the election -- and even now, after watching the stocks of outspoken CEOs freefall, they're stubbornly plowing ahead with a business model destined to alienate half of their customers. If CEOs want to enter the culture wars, that's their prerogative. But they shouldn't be surprised when shoppers settle the score."
I checked the official YouTube videos for several commercials, and almost all of them had more "thumbs ups" than "thumbs down", so I don't know where the FRC writers are getting their information.

Also, the companies mentioned above are making sound business decisions by appealing to progressive values rather than right-wing values. Large swaths of the American public are concerned about the environment, welcoming of diversity, and offended by Trump's rhetoric and policies. A smart corporation will air commercials that appeal to this growing demographic so as to win their business. Why on earth would they choose to alienate millions of consumers with right-wing ads instead?

Once again, the world is changing, and the Religious Right cannot accept it. Business have noticed that many consumers have enlightened values and have targeted their advertising accordingly. Xenophobia, intolerance, and disregard for the environment aren't cool anymore, and organizations such as the FRC must come to terms with that.

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