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Super Bowl ads get political and discuss 'four years of bad hair'

A number of ads touted inclusiveness and diversity.

hair 'It's a 10' ad Source: Screengrab/YouTube

MESSAGES ABOUT AMERICA, inclusiveness — and, even “four years of awful hair” — kept bubbling up in Super Bowl 51 ads from Airbnb, the NFL and a line of personal care products.

As the New England Patriots edged out the Atlantic Falcons on the field in Houston, Airbnb touted inclusiveness with an ad showing faces of different ethnicities and the copy: “We all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

Coca-Cola aired a previously run ad during the pre-game show in which people sing America the Beautiful in different languages. Even a hair care brand dipped into politics: The ‘It’s a 10′ hair brand indirectly referenced President Donald Trump’s famously unruly do in its Super Bowl spot.

Source: Le GUIZMO/YouTube

Advertisers who paid $5 million (about €4.6 million) for 30 seconds of airtime had to walk the line with ads that appealed to everyone and didn’t offend. Some were more successful than others.

“Anxiety and politics just loom over this game, so anybody who gives us the blessed relief of entertaining with a real Super Bowl commercial wins,” Mark DiMassimo, CEO of the ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein, said.

“Brands used to worry about whether their ad could be interpreted as right or wrong, Kelly O’Keefe, a marketing professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said. “Now they have to worry about whether it will be interpreted as right or left.”

Plenty of ads walked that line.

An NFL spot conveyed what all advertisers hope the Super Bowl becomes: a place where Americans can come together. “Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognise there’s more that unites us,” Forest Whitaker said in a voiceover as workers prepped a football field and gridiron scenes played.

“The Super Bowl is shaping up as a counterpoint to the divisiveness in the United States,” Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University, said.

Airbnb’s ad was one of the more overtly political, showing a variety of different faces with the tagline “We accept.”

Source: Superbowl TV/YouTube

Some thought the ad was a hit. “Kudos to them for making a strong statement,” O’Keefe said. But others, such as Villanova University marketing professor Charles Taylor, thought it didn’t have a clear enough link to the brand and risked coming off as a “purely political statement”.

Some advertisers took the safest route possible by re-airing ads they’ve used before — an unusual, though not unprecedented, move. Coca-Cola, Google and Fiji water all aired rerun ads.

During the pre-game show, Coca-Cola ran It’s Beautiful, an ad featuring people around the country drinking the fizzy beverage and singing America the Beautiful in different languages.

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A debut Super Bowl spot by the ‘It’s a 10′ hair care brand introduced its line of men’s products by joking about Trump’s hair.

Source: itsa10haircare/YouTube

“America, we’re in for four years of awful hair, so it’s up to you to do your part by making up for it with great hair,” a voiceover stated as black-and-white photos of people with a wide array of hairstyles flashed by. “Do your part. … Let’s make sure these next four years are ‘It’s a 10.’”

Snickers got press by airing a live ad in the third quarter. On a Wild West set, actor Adam Driver seemed to now know the ad was live — and then the set fell apart (on purpose). “You ruin live Super Bowl commercials when you’re hungry,” the ad’s tagline read.

Ads with light humour and stuffed with celebrities were popular. Honda’s ad made a splash by animating the yearbook photos of nine celebrities ranging from Tina Fey to Viola Davis. They make fun of their photos — Jimmy Kimmel is dressed in a blue tux and holding a clarinet, for example — and talk about The Power of Dreams, Honda’s ad slogan.

T-Mobile’s spots — which featured Justin Bieber dancing , Kristen Schaal in a 50 Shades of Grey parody and Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg mixing talk about T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan with innuendo about Snoop’s marijuana habit, got people talking — as did an ad from antioxidant drink maker Bai featuring Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken.

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Associated Press

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