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Super Bowl ads steering clear of controversy following backlash

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Companies are ponying up $5.05 million for 30 seconds of your attention during the Super Bowl. But this year, the message is starkly different than in years past, despite social activism that’s headlining other big awards shows.

With 110 million Americans watching the game, brands are buying your attention and hoping to shatter the competition.

Aaron Moses is the Creative Director of the Henderson-based agency, MassMedia. He said, “Super Bowl ads are as much a part of the American fabric as the game itself.”

The weeklong sneak peeks create a big buzz, but some have also created backlash like the Budweiser ad in 2017 that touched on immigration.

“You saw a lot of messaging involving inclusion and community, sort of a response to that whole political environment," said Moses.

Dr. Erika Abad, an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Gender & Ethnic Studies at UNLV said, “It’s tricky in terms of consumer culture like the Super Bowl to take or not take a stand.”

The NFL did take a stand in 2015 with an ad focused on ending domestic violence. But this year, Super Bowl 52 likely won’t include any hot-button issues.

“Advertisers are sensing the national, the mood of the country and the need for something a little bit more light and positive and more of a distraction," Moses told us.

But, Dr. Abad said there is always a message, regardless of the overt intention. “Whether its who’s in the commercial, who’s not in the commercial or what they’re selling.”

She said the biggest message this year, is the halftime show.

“What does it mean that a person who is wearing the Time’s Up pin is now performing at the Super Bowl within the lifetime of adults who saw him accidentally remove Janet Jackson’s clothing?” She added, “Where does that put women?”

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