Top 5 Most Impactful 2017 Superbowl Ads

by Katherine Zhang, Winged Post Asst. STEM Editor

  1. 84 Lumber: The Entire Journey

A young girl stares at the towering, gray wall, her hands hanging limply at her sides. Her mother looks on, forlornly clutching an American flag crafted from scraps of plastic. A mixture of emotions cross their faces as they slowly realize that their arduous journey may have been in vain. While other ads just barely skirted political issues or avoided them entirely, 84 Lumber took the Superbowl as an opportunity to display their political views. In fact, the ad was so politically charged, that Superbowl sponsors refused to air all of it. This, however, did not deter 84 Lumber from crafting a touching story about a young girl and her mother searching for a better home in America. The ad follows the two on their journey to the Mexican border. Viewers can understand and sympathize with their exhaustion, euphoria, and most of all, their relentless belief in the American dream. After journeying along and feeling their hope, the audience feels crushed when they finally reach the border, only to find that it has been blocked off by a wall. And when they discover a door in the wall that will lead them to the place that they have been dreaming of, the viewer breathes a sigh of relief. By showing a suspenseful, emotional story that is highly pertinent to American politics, 84 Lumber not only stirred up conversation, but also created an ad that will be remembered for its message for years to come.


  1. Audi: #DriveProgress

While many of the other Super Bowl ads focused on immigration and used their air time to send a political message, Audi chose to use its ad to focus on equal pay for men and women, doing so through a sweet and moving story. The ad begins with a young girl driving on a race track as her father looks on from the sidelines. As she races with a group of boys and slowly pulls ahead of them, her father muses in the background, wondering whether he should tell his daughter that men are worth more and will always earn more than women. As he leads his victorious daughter to an Audi car, he says, “Or maybe, I can tell her something different.” The sweet image of a young, ambitious girl goes hand in hand with the uplifting message that equality between genders is achievable. Audi successfully uses this ad to bring the issue of equal pay to light in a way that will resonate with parents and families across the country.


  1. Airbnb: #weaccept

Even in the title “#weaccept,” Airbnb makes its message clear: it is willing to welcome all people, notwithstanding their racial background, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. The ad juxtaposes the faces of different people while white letters flash across the screen, saying “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.” The ad aired just days after President Trump signed the executive order that temporarily closed America’s borders to all refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Though it does not explicitly refer to Trump’s ban, Airbnb has been vocal about its opposition to the executive order and its support of immigrants in the past, and this ad provides a powerful yet simple way to spread a message of tolerance.


  1. NFL: Inside these lines

An African-American player and his white coach walking together. A line of players of all races standing on the sidelines. Screaming fans rising up from the bleachers, united under their team colors. The NFL commercial, “Inside these Lines,” connects a series of images showing football players, coaches and fans of all ages and races bonding over the game. As the images flash past, the narration – “Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there is more that unites us” – drives home the message of the commercial: that while America is comprised of people of all backgrounds, the things we share, such as football, can transcend our differences and unite us.


  1. Budweiser: Born the Hard Way

From sitting in the dark, damp hold of a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean to being insulted by grizzled workers on the streets of New York, the Budweiser ad “Born the Hard Way” details the full journey of an American immigrant. The images are so vivid that the viewer can almost feel the spray of salt water as the ship crosses the ocean and can sympathize with the immigrant who is ostracized from the moment that he steps across the American border. At the same time, a closer look at Budweiser’s ad will show a subtle promotion of legal immigration over illegal immigration – one defining moment occurs when the immigrant’s visa is stamped, showing that he has come to the country legally. What makes this ad so interesting is that not only is it one that many people can relate to, but it is also unclear whether the ad is meant to promote accepting refugees or if it is meant to highlight the importance of immigrating legally.