Top 10 Super Bowl Ads: Cultural and Political Propaganda … or…? [video]

Craig Huey Marketing, Media 1 Comment

The Super Bowl game this year was a let-down … unless you are a Patriots fan, and you like low-scoring games dominated by defense.

But many people watch just to see the commercials. The ads are highly anticipated, and have a significant impact on culture – and sometimes, they even make political or religious statements.

This year, Some Super Bowl ads were downright offensive, and alienated Conservatives.

Hulu’s anti-God ad, for example…

Another company – Zaxby’s – ran an ad making fun of Chick-fil-A for being closed on Sundays…mocking Christians.

Others were simply pure entertainment. And many of them featured celebrities: musicians, comedians and actors.

As far as actual advertising goes, the ads were not successful. Most were pure entertainment: they didn’t sell anything, or give the viewers anything to respond to. At $5 million a slot, this was a major waste of money.

Still, the Super Bowl ads gave us insight into our culture now… and told us what we should know as the cultural and political battle escalates.

Let’s take a look at 10 Super Bowl ads that every Conservative should know about – the most talked about, the most entertaining, and the most controversial – and sometimes offensive.

A few reminders as we do so:

  • I have an advertising agency.
  • I’ve won 87 marketing and awards.
  • I publish a weekly marketing and advertising newsletter … plus this one.
  • I speak worldwide on marketing and advertising in my spare time.
  • I’ve created over 300 commercials and videos, and 13 infomercials for my clients.

So, let’s take a look:

#1: “Expensify This” – Expensify app

“Expensify This” relied on a bizarre, big-production commercial that showed an over-the-top parody of the life of a wealthy rapper. The ad was slightly disturbing, and showed the decay of traditional values. For example, it showed a rapper “marrying himself” … and an assistant with a “third eye” – a New Age belief.

#2: “The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 3 Teaser” – Hulu

This was terrible…offensive…and alienating.

I love streaming services. But after seeing Hulu’s commercial for the Superbowl, I’ll stick to Netflix and Amazon. Hulu’s commercial parodied Ronald Reagan’s classic “Morning in America” speech … and gave it an ugly twist for a teaser for the TV show, “A Handmaid’s Tale.”

The feeling was that the speech would be given in an authoritarian, dictatorial society where no one has any rights. Finally, the ad ended with a Cross that is meant to look sinister.

Hulu made a terrible decision with this ad – They alienated a giant part of the population, including Conservatives and Christians.

#3: “Democracy Dies in Darkness” – The Washington Post

It’s clear that the media and journalism have become extremely politicized and biased, especially against President Trump. But The Washington Post attacked this reality with their controversial ad, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

This ad was just one more proof of media manipulation and collusion to indoctrinate people into thinking that news stations are unbiased … and if anyone disagrees, they are fighting against “truth.”

Very disturbing.

#4: Pepsi “More Than OK”

“More Than OK” took on the line that servers ask at restaurants when Coke isn’t available – “Is Pepsi OK?” and argued that Pepsi is “More Than OK”! It featured comedian Steve Carell and rappers Lil John and Cardi B, and was certainly clever and entertaining.

Pepsi’s fun, upbeat commercial shows us that people still love to laugh, and that music stars have a lot of pull and influence – especially rapper Cardi B, who has been featured in other large-scale marketing campaigns, including Amazon Alexa.

#5: “Human Canine Show” – Avocados from Mexico

“Human Canine Show” had nothing to do with avocados. The ad showed a role reversal of humans and their pets in a dog show, with the grand prize being a table full of avocados. Very odd – but memorable.

People respond to quirky humor…and, they love their pets.

#6: “Game of Thrones”/Bud Light commercial

The “Game of Thrones”/Bud Light commercial was a surprising partnership of the famous TV series with Bud Light, spoofing a Game of Thrones scene with a Bud Light theme.

One of the most talked-about ads, the commercial played on the wild popularity of the TV show “Game of Thrones” – a fantasy drama with a medieval twist. It’s also a pretty violent and graphic television show…giving us disturbing insight into what people want to watch at the end of the day.

#7: “What’s for Dinner?” – T-Mobile cell phone service

“What’s for Dinner” was funny and relatable, following a texting conversation between a couple about “what’s for dinner.”

At the end of the commercial, on-screen text pops up: “Get What You Want – Free Tacos Every Week.” From a marketing perspective, this was the best ad. People love free stuff…and they love to eat.

#8: Hyundai “The Elevator”

Hyundai’s “The Elevator” showed an elevator bringing people to different levels of misery, including the middle seat on an airplane, jury duty and car shopping.

The ad was great because every viewer – no matter their age or background – can relate to how miserable these things are.

#9: “Not Everything Makes the Cut” – Amazon Alexa

“Not Everything Makes the Cut” showed the hilarious (fictional) consequences of what happened when Amazon employees put “Alexa” voice technology into different appliances and machines.

The ad spoofed the accidental “global impact” of Alexa at the end – hinting at Amazon’s incredibly powerful influence.

#10: “Big Game “Easy” – Skechers

Skechers’ commercial for their slip-on footwear featured Tony Romo – an ex-NFL quarterback explaining why he loves his Skechers slip-ons. The ad was clever and entertaining, and it featured some futuristic technology that could very well become reality in the next few years (such as a floating device that carries drinks).

What did you think about the Super Bowl ads?

Email me at

Here are the rest of this week’s articles:

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