Brands go political to spark conversation during the Super Bowl

Ads from Airbnb, Coca-Cola, 84 Lumber and Anheuser Busch took on controversial political and social issues to become the focus of online buzz last night and watercooler talk today.

The New England Patriots’ unprecedented comeback victory wasn’t the only upset that got people talking (or tweeting) during the Super Bowl.

For marketers and PR pros, what happens off the field can be the most anticipated element of the Super Bowl, reflected in ad spots and game-day efforts. This year-amid Cards Against Humanity’s fake Super Bowl ad stunt and a flurry of tweets from organizations’ social media teams hoping to attract consumers’ attention during the big game—several ads took on a more somber tone.

Many organizations—including Airbnb, Budweiser and Coca-Cola—ran spots dealing with political issues such as immigration, but an ad by 84 Lumber upset efforts by several large brands to become the focus of on- and offline buzz.

The lumber company crafted a video called, “The Journey Begins,” which depicts a Mexican woman and her daughter traveling to the United States. Upon their arrival, they’re met with a border wall—at least, in the original video.

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