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.

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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.

Fox rejected the ad for its controversial elements, and the 84 Lumber replaced it with a shorter video that ended with the message, “See the conclusion at”

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