Why is Trump's $5.6 Million Super Bowl Ad Sparking Outrage?

Published February 3rd, 2020 - 07:27 GMT
Donald and Melania Trump (Twitter)
Donald and Melania Trump (Twitter)
Courtney Effinger, watching the game with her family outside of Detroit, Michigan, liked the ad.

President Trump's $5.6 million Super Bowl ad is sparking outrage, with football fans taking to Twitter to blast the 2020 re-election campaign commercial. 

The 30-second advertisement - which aired during the first-quarter - depicted Trump as an advocate for criminal justice reform by relaying the experience of Alice Marie Johnson, a black prisoner whom he pardoned back in 2018. 

The ad was blasted by former South Carolina Rep. Bakari Sellers, who called it an offensive 'I freed a Negro' ad'. Meanwhile, another viewer took to Twitter to accuse the President of making 'a tacky play for the black vote'. 

The controversial commercial was one of 77 which aired during the Super Bowl, with billion dollar brands including Amazon, Hyundai and Google also forking out seven figures for coveted ad space.

Advertisements were bolstered by big names including Chrissy Teigen, John Kransinski and Ellen DeGeneres - which helped to generate buzz on social media. 

Fox raked in an estimated $400 million in ad sales for the Super Bowl LIV, which had an estimated audience of 100 million. 

Below is a look at the most talked-about commercials that aired during the broadcast. 

The ad stated the 'Thanks to President Trump, people like Alice are getting a second chance. Politicians talk about criminal justice reform, President Trump gets it done'. 

The ad showed Johnson being reunited with her family as she was released from prison. 

Some viewers took issue with the optics - as the President has previously been condemned for separating immigrant families at the border. 

'Trumps trash advert talking about how he's been reuniting families. That tw*t has been tearing them apart the minute he got into office,' one wrote. 

Others appeared less than impressed by having politics intrude on Super Bowl Sunday. 

Former Democratic speechwriter Jake Maccoby posted a Tweet calling out what he perceived to be the President's hypocrisy, writing: ''Don't bring your politics into sports!' Trump screamed at black athletes while purchasing a million-dollar super bowl ad'. 

But it wasn't all negative buzz on Twitter. 

Thousands of other Super Bowl viewers relished the ad, with one posting: 'Powerful! Well done sir!'.

A second user remarked that it was 'simply brilliant'. 

Meanwhile, Alice Marie Johnson herself took to Twitter to share the commercial.  

'Two Super Bowls ago I was sitting in a prison cell. Today I am a free woman and my story was featured in a Super Bowl ad,' she wrote. 

'I will spend the rest of my life fighting for the wrongly and unjustly convicted! God bless America she wrote. 

Kim Kardashian - who lobbied President Trump for Johnson's release -  also tweeted about the ad. 

'So proud of you!!!! @AliveMarieFree,' she cooed.  

Elsewhere, there was another non-celebrity ad that managed to gain a considerable amount of traction online.  

Google aired a tear-jerking commercial featuring an elderly man reflecting on happier times before his wife passed away. 

The man is heard asking his Google Assistant device to show him photos of the pair together and to record sweet memories from when his wife was alive. 

At the end, Google Assistant pulls up a record of all the man's notes. The oldest one, from May 2017, reads: 'Loretta always said, don't miss me too much, and get out of the dang house.'  

News reporter Vic Vela was left in tears by the commercial, writing on Twitter: 'Google demonstrated that ads can be about more than just overpaid celebs and cheese-stained fingers. This was absolutely moving and beautiful, and for anyone who has experienced love and loss.' 

Courtney Effinger, watching the game with her family outside of Detroit, Michigan, liked the ad.

'It struck the heart chords,' she told Associated Press. 

The ad worked because not many ads took the 'quiet' approach this year, said Paul Argenti, a Dartmouth College professor of corporate communication.

'That´s why it stands out, it´s a little bit slower and focused on a social theme,' he said.

President Trump wasn't the only politician to fork over millions of dollars for a Super Bowl spot. 

Democratic hopeful Mike Bloomberg outdid Trump by doubling the President's 30 second of airtime and splashing out $11 million to secure a 60-second commercial during the broadcast.  

Like Trump's commercial, Bloomberg's election campaign advertisement - which honed in on gun violence -  garnered mixed reviews. 

'I am not a Bloomberg fan, but I can acknowledge a really good ad when I see one, even if it is not for whomever I am supporting,' costume designer Terry Dresbach wrote. 

However, Fox News reported that the advertisement featured misleading statistics.   

 '2,900 CHILDREN DIE FROM GUN VIOLENCE EVERY YEAR' Bloomberg's ad stated, however the number was not attributed to any source. 

However, Fox claims 'a recent report from the Bloomberg-founded group Everytown for Gun Safety came up with that same number -- but only when it included teenagers ages 18 and 19 in the calculation. They are technically not children. 

Super star couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend lent their star power to a commercial for Hyundai's luxury vehicle brand Genesis. 

In the 30-second ad, the couple appear at a glamorous party where Teigen pokes fun at herself for having plastic surgery as she addresses a crowd of attendees to tell them about a new car. 

'To the woman who hasn't had any plastic surgery, I saw you in the waiting room,' Teigen states, trying to get the lady's attention. 

The model's self-deprecating sense of humor went over well with viewers, with one Twitter user describing it as 'f**king hilarious'.

Actors Chris Evans and John Krasinski also lit up the small screen in a commercial for Hyundai. 

The stars, who were both born in Massachusetts, adopted thick New England accents in the ad, which the Sonata's new Smart Parking feature. 

The commercial shows Evans and comedian Rachel Dratch watching as Krasinski steps out of his shiny new sedan and watches it park itself in a tight spot. 

A postman standing nearby raises alarm that no one is at the wheel to which Evans responds: 'That's all right, he's got Smaht Pahk!' 

Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, AKA Big Papi, then appears nearby and calls the feature 'wicked smaht'.   

Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi welcomed viewers into their home in a Super Bowl commercial for Amazon Alexa. 

The power couple were seen using Alexa as they get ready to leave their house before DeGeneres asks de Rossi: 'What do you think people did before Alexa?'  

The ad then launches into a fake history lesson featuring old-timey maids, court jesters, newsboys, friends, secretaries and people with names similar to Alexa who are asked to do everything the device does. 

The long-winded lesson cuts off as DeGeneres and de Rossi get in their car and the latter comments: 'Yeah, I don't know what people did before Alexa.'  

Tom Brady's cryptic tweet that sparked speculation the NFL superstar was about to make an announcement about his future was actually just a Super Bowl commercial for online streaming service Hulu.

The New England Patriots quarterback tweeted a single black and white image last week that showed him walking onto an empty field at his home stadium in Massachusetts.

It immediately caused fans to speculate on whether Brady was about to announce his retirement or if he had signed with a new team for next season. 

But it turns out the frenzy was just a way to drum up buzz for Hulu. 

'They say all good things must come to an end... That the best just know when to walk away,' Brady said in the somber commercial. 

So to my teammates, my family and most of all my fans, you deserve to hear this from me.' 

The 42-year-old six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback then suddenly changed course and started giving details about Hulu's services. 

'Hulu doesn't just have live sports. According to the script they just gave me, Hulu also has your favorite cable channels, plus the greatest shows, movies and originals of all time. 

'So it's time to say goodbye to TV as you know it. 

'But me? I'm not going anywhere.' 

Doritos made an unexpected remix of rapper Lil Nas X's record-breaking 2019 hit Old Town Road for one of its ads on Sunday - bringing in Sam Elliott to perform a cover.  

The 75-year-old actor is seen entering an old saloon and reciting the song's opening lyrics in his trademark drawl as fellow patrons scowl.  

The base line of the original version of Old Town Road begins to play, shaking the bar as Elliott stands up and exits the saloon without a word. 

Planters shocked customers last week when it killed off its 104-year-old mascot Mr Peanut in a teaser for a Super Bowl commercial.  

The ad shows Mr Peanut and actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh getting into a scary car accident in the NUTmobile that leaves them hanging over the side of a cliff.

Mr Peanut, who was introduced as the brand's mascot in 1916, saves his road trip companions by letting go and plummeting to his death. 

On Monday Planters announced that it is putting the campaign on hold in light of the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday. 

Super Bowl Sunday was held on February 2 - officially Groundhog Day -  and Jeep paid tribute to the special date. The company painstakingly recreated the 1993 movie 'Groundhog Day,' including the town square and other locales, with original actors Bill Murray, Brian Doyle Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky. 

The twist: instead of a Chevrolet truck, Murray uses a Jeep Gladiator truck. FCA Group marketing chief Olivier Francois said the ad worked to demonstrate the versatility of the Jeep truck since Murray does something different every day. 

WWE superstar John Cena inspires late night host Jimmy Fallon to get in shape in Michelob's new Super Bowl commercial.  

The 60-second ad begins with 45-year-old Fallon trying to work out with 42-year-old Cena - though it's not going so well.

Fallon gives up and the pair retreat to a nearby bar, where Cena convinces Fallon to get back in the gym as the pair sip on Michelob Ultra beers. 

Bryan Cranston and Tracee Ellis Ross recreated the iconic 'Here's Johnny' scene from the 1980 film The Shining in an ad for Mountain Dew. 

Cranston channels Shining star Jack Nicholson's demented hotel caretaker Jack Torrance as he carries an axe around a hotel and ominously calls 'Come out, come out, wherever you are....'

He then taps on the door as Ross hides behind with a bottle of Mountain Dew, saying 'I've got new Mountain Dew Zero Sugar.'

Cranston then proceeds to attack the locked door with an axe, before poking his face through the hole in the door and putting his own spin on the movie's iconic line: 'Here's Mountain Dew Zero!'

A terrified Tracee stops screaming and takes the drink while casually saying: 'I am thirsty'.

The ad's final shots show Mountain Dew pouring out of the doors of an elevator, in a twist on the original film's waves of blood. 

Jason Momoa poked fun at his image of a tall, sculpted film star in this Super Bowl ad which shows him heading back to his luxurious mansion and decompressing after a long day, as he explains the virtues of home.

'What does home mean to me?' the Honolulu, Hawaii native, 40, said in the clip. 'It's my sanctuary. It's the one place I can let my guard down.

'It's where I can just kick back and be totally comfortable in my own skin.'

At that point, the 6ft4 screen star removed a pair of shoes that were adding to his height.

Momoa removed a dark T-shirt to reveal a slim frame - and not the chiseled look fans of the Aquaman actor have been accustomed to seeing.

'Rocket Mortgage understands that home is where I can be myself,' said the actor, who then pulled on his mane to reveal he was wearing a hairpiece. 'And that feels pretty darn good.'  

Budweiser has a penchant for pulling at heart strings in Super Bowl ads - often using adorable puppies and, of course, its herd of majestic Clydesdales.  

One of this year's ads is no different, featuring heartwarming real-life footage of people helping each other as a narrator reads off common complaints about 'typical Americans'. 

'America, look beyond the labels. You might be surprised by what you find,' the brand wrote in a Facebook post with the full commercial.  

However, the ad has been met with criticism in North Carolina for including protest footage from the 2016 Charlotte Uprising civil unrest which some say opened old wounds.

Hard Rock International went all in on its first Super Bowl ad. 

It enlisted Michael Bay for a frenetic commercial showing a frenzied heist caper involving halftime performer Jennifer Lopez and her fiance Alex Rodriguez.

DJ Khaled, Pitbull, and Steven Van Zandt also made a cameo in the big budget ad. 

The soft drink giant brought attracted star power for a commercial spruiking the launch of Coke Energy. 

The ad showed actor Jonah Hill rallying to meet Martin Scorsese at a party by drinking the company's new energy drink. 

Coca Cola forked over more than $11 million for the 60-second spot, but its unclear how much they paid funnyman Hill and legendary director Scorcese to star in the clip.  

Cheetos bought a Super Bowl slot for the first time in 10 years - hoping to make a splash by featuring MC Hammer.   

The 90s hip-hop star brings back his iconic line 'Can't Touch This' to promote the brand's new Cheetos Popcorn. 

Hammer is seen popping out of various objects behind people as they avoid performing mundane tasks like doing office work, helping carry things and holding babies because their fingers are covered in orange dust. 

Microsoft's Super Bowl commercial sends an uplifting message by celebrating San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers, who will become the first woman to coach in the big game on Sunday.  

The ad shows Sowers, who is also the first openly gay person to coach in the Super Bowl, reflecting on her childhood love of football and her rise through the NFL coaching ranks. 

At the end, she tells the camera: 'All it takes is one, and then it opens the door for so many,' before text on the screen reads: 'Thanks Katie for being the one

Little Caesars seizes on the age-old saying 'best thing since sliced bread' in its first-ever Super Bowl commercial promoting its new delivery service.  

The ad stars Office alum Rainn Wilson as the disgruntled CEO of 'Sliced Bread, Inc'  who implodes in the wake of Little Caesars announcing that customers can now get pizzas delivered to their door.  

Wilson delivers the same intensity and incompetence fans loved from his Office character Dwight Schrute as the Sliced Bread headquarters descends into chaos after Little Caesars took over as 'the new best thing'. 

Winona Ryder went back to Winona, Minnesota - which she is named after - to create a website for the town in this Super Bowl Sunday ad.  

The cutesy commercial showed Ryder in a snowdrift on her laptop being confronted by a 'Fargo'-like cop.

The Edward Scissorhands star is also involved in a separate marketing campaign for the company. 

On Wednesday, Bud Light released two commercials - both featuring the superstar rapper - that fans can choose from to run during the big game.

Both of them show him downing Bud Light Seltzer, which the beer giants released earlier this year to try and keep up with brands like White Claw and Truly.

The first ad show Malone going into a store to buy Bud Light before he notices the seltzer. 

This then sets off a fight in his brain between tattooed characters over which one he should choose. In the end, he decides to choose both because he is 'rich'.

In the second spot he is in a bar and tries the mango-flavored Bud Light Seltzer for the first time. 

The taste sets off another battle in his brain where 'workers' ask all of his senses how the 100-calorie drink tastes.

Sabra hummus set out to show how versatile its dip can be by featuring a wide range of celebrity characters in its Super Bowl commercial.

A teaser for the ad made headlines last week after it was revealed to be the first time drag queens have appeared in a Super Bowl commercial.   

The teaser featured Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, who appeared on RuPaul's Drag Race, getting ready for a performance. 

'I hope this doesn't give me helmet hair,' Miz Cracker says as she tries to pull a helmet over one of her massive wigs.  

Another teaser featured feuding Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and Caroline Manzo coming together to enjoy a bowl of hummus.  

Rapper T-Pain is expected to make an appearance in the full commercial airing during the Super Bowl. 

'We're bringing a diverse group of personalities to the table and demonstrating just how incredibly versatile, relevant and relatable hummus is today. We think we've got something for everyone,' said Jason Levine, chief marketing officer for Sabra.

Kellogg's went for quirky  in this commercial starring Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness. 

In a pseudo infomercial, Van Ness was seen describing  the new Pop Tarts pretzel snack.  

The ad appeared to work on one viewer, who wrote on Twitter: 'I am NEVER struggling to snack but if Jonathan Van Ness says I need pop tarts then bring me 500 of them immediately'.

Avocados from Mexico have carved out a niche with humorous ads featuring avocados, but they may have veered a little too far into 'random' territory with this effort featuring a home shopping network with fake products such as a baby carrier-like device for avocados. 

'I thought the Avocados from Mexico spot felt like a random and gratuitous use of celebrity,' said Steve Merino, chief creative officer of Aloysius, Butler & Clark in Wilmington, Delaware. 

'Not only did it not make sense to have Molly Ringwald as your spokesperson, it was also a bit of a distraction.'

The Super Bowl always attracts automakers launching a new vehicles, and this year nearly every carmaker touted an electric car.

Audi showed 'Game of Thrones' actress Maisie Williams singing 'Let it Go' from the Disney smash Frozen to promote Audi´s suite of electric vehicles.

'Maisie Williams, Frozen, and electric cars. Three of my favorite things in life in one commercial. Selective marketing did its job with this one,' one thrilled viewer posted to Twitter.

A tinge of surreal weirdness crept into several of this year's advertisements - including one from Snickers. 

 The chocolate company imagined a world where people sing on a hilltop (an homage to a famous 'Hilltop' Coke ad) about digging a giant hole and putting a giant Snickers in it because the 'world is out of sorts.'

Laundry detergent label Tide made an impact on viewers by running a commercial that featured characters attending a Super Bowl party. 

The relatable ad featured a woman (Emily Hampshire) accidentally smearing a friend's white shirt with sauce after she excitedly watches her team make a touchdown. 

Thanks to Tide's Power PODS, the guy with the smeared shirt (Charlie Day) is able to wait 'until later' to do his laundry, as the cleaning product is able to remove old stains. 

' I have always believed in the #LaundryLater mantra. Tide just legitimized it. Great ad,' one viewer posted. 

Pringles enlisted Adult Swim's animated 'Rick and Morty' duo with a meta ad in which the characters realize they're stuck inside a commercial.

'A long way from the old campaign of 'Once you Pop you Cannot Stop!' That's a good thing. Very funny, perfect for the target consumer, and should sell a bunch of Pringles,' tweeted Jim Stengel, the former global marketing officer of Procter & Gamble. 

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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