Ad Agencies Take On Trump And Extremism






With an eye-watering price for prime slots, Super Bowl ads are always sure to make a mark. And this year many did by taking a pop at the United States President – mainly by promoting the legacy of immigration and tolerance that made America great – in a rather different way than the one Donald Trump promises.

Though the NFL and Fox who air the event ban explicit politicisation, the adverts paying a record $5 million for a thirty second slot in America’s most watched sporting event appeared to be trolling Trump by celebrating all the President and many of his supporters seem to hate, namely diversity.



Coca-Cola re-ran its advert from 2014 celebrating America’s ethnic diversity with people singing “America, The Beautiful” in various languages.

Which clearly wasn’t to every Super Bowl fan’s taste:


AirBnB’s advert was perhaps unsurprisingly obliquely critical of Donald Trump’s immigration ban and anti-immigration policies.



Silicon Valley corporations have expressed opposition to the president’s regressive anti-immigration stance. AirBnB, perhaps the most controversial disruptive tech firm in the world, have been keen to prove their do-gooding credentials by committing to providing short-term housing for 100,000 people in need including refugees and donating $4 million to the refugee assisting International Rescue Committee.



Building supplier 84 Lumber’s much lauded advert tackled Trump’s wall and demonising of Mexicans in the most direct fashion in an ad which had to be cut to appear on TV during the Super Bowl – above is the un-cut version. The Fox network which aired the Super Bowl asked for Trump’s wall to be cut out of the version that appeared as political ads are banned from the event.



This Budweiser advert told a fictionalised story of the immigrant brewers Busch and Anheuser who  went on to make America’s most famous beer after a perilous journey to the USA, with racists shouting “We don’t want you here” and “go home,” as Adolphus Busch arrives.

The pro-immigration ad perhaps caused the most ire with Trump fans taking to Twitter to vent their spleen with a #BoycottBudweiser hashtag. Which of course was immediately hijacked to mock their racism and inability to spell one of their favourite drinks.



In an environment where people are increasingly polarised and stirred up on the issues of multiculturalism and immigration, it is no surprise that even adverts for household brands are taking sides and nailing their colours to the mast.

On the eve of the US election this Johnnie Walker US advert was an emotional reminder of the place of hispanics in US society with a controversial Spanish version of the great Woody Guthrie’s political folk protest song “This Land Is Your Land” used to devastating effect:

What famously teetotal Donald Trump made of these adverts we can only guess but he was venting his spleen about “FAKE NEWS media” again this morning after polls showing he has the lowest approval rating of any new President were covered by various news outlets.

In other news The Times revealed today that the UK government worried about the growing threat of alt – right extremists views spreading on social media is paying M&C Saatchi £60 million to fight back on social media.

Freedom of Information requests uncovered a secretive Whitehall unit dedicated to monitoring the subversive behaviour by far right movements in Europe. An insider was quoted in the paper revealing that the Tories favourite ad agency would be helping to challenge “people who read Breitbart”.

Far-right website Breitbart has constantly been criticised for white supremacist views, antisemitism, islamophobia, mysoginy, false-news and stirring up hatred of immigrants and figures on the left of centre. It was run until recently by Steve Bannon, who left to work on Donald Trump’s election campaign and now as his Chief Strategist. Bannon who has been linked with allegations of domestic violence and antisemitism in the past is perceived to have supplanted conservative figures on Trump’s team and to be behind some of Trump’s more controversial moves in the past fortnight.

Brands have been pulling adverts from Breitbart concerned about its content, and the Sunday Times revealed this weekend that big brands are also deserting Russian channel RT over concerns that it is spreading “propaganda and false news” to further Vladimir Putin’s destabilising aims.



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