The Super Bowl ad roster is usually filled with commercials for beer, candy and snacks. There will also be at least one focused on something more serious.
The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, an advocacy group backed by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, will run a 30-second spot during CBS’ February 11 broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII, ensuring that a serious note will sound amid many silly ones.
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Kraft’s group launched its efforts in 2023, committing at least $200 million to fight hatred against Jews in the U.S. The group says 3,291 antisemitic incidents were reported in the U.S. in the last three months alone, marking an increase of almost 400%. The commercial will call upon viewers of all backgrounds to stand up against prejudice and hate against Jews.
“With the horrific rise in Jewish hate and all hate across our nation, we must stand up and take urgent
action now,” said Kraft, in a statement. “For the first time, FCAS will air an emotive ad during the Super Bowl, football’s ultimate championship game which brings people of all backgrounds together, to showcase examples of how people can stand up to Jewish hate and inspire more people to join the fight against all hate.”
Others have tried to use commercials to create somber moments at the Super Bowl. Last year, a group backed by wealthy Christian donors ran two ads that directed viewers to a web site called “He Gets Us,.” The spots were aimed at people who might be open to more spirituality in their lives. In 2017, in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election that put Donald Trump in the Oval Officer, a lesser-known supplier of building materials known as 84 Lumber, ran a spot centered on a Mexican mother and daughter as they try to journey to the United States that urged viewers to check out the ending — in which the pair are blocked from crossing the border by a large concrete wall — online. In that same year, Airbnb ran a commercial that focused on diversity and told viewers: “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”
But the tactic isn’t new. In 2010, an anti-abortion advocacy group called Focus on the Family ran an ad centered on the mother of Tim Tebow, the former NFL quarterback. The spot told viewers how she decided to keep her son even though she had been advised not to. In 2015, Nationwide Insurance ran a heartbreaking spot about a dead child that many believed was the feel-bad commercial of the year.
TV networks typically try to keep politics, religion and advocacy out of their Super Bowl broadcasts, which tend to reach the broadest swaths of audience. As such, the networks are loath to spur offense. But in recent years, as Super Bowl ad prices have soared, the networks have had to rely more heavily on new categories of advertisers, including those who may not be as seasoned or temperate in how they deliver a message.
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