There's no shame in watching the Super Bowl for the ads or the halftime show or just because Donald Trump bet on the Patriots and you became a fair-weather Falcons fan.
But this year -- amidst political turmoil, daily protests and corporate boycotts -- those ads took on a whole new meaning, and more than a few corporations made an effort to share an inspiring message through their multimillion-dollar ad spend.
The political undertones this year included things like inclusion, equal pay and the American Dream. In any other year, these topics would be near-universally celebrated. But in our politically divisive environment, anything construed to be in favor of either side of the aisle was bound to elicit partisan feedback and derision on social media.
These ads prove that it's now up to corporations more than ever to take a stand for the things they believe are ethical and right.
"What do I tell my daughter?" the dad ponders. "Do I tell her that her grandpa is worth more than her grandma? That her dad is worth more than her mom? That despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets? Or maybe I'll be able to tell her something different."
Audi's executive team explained that it's possible to enlighten and entertain at the same time:
"You can entertain by doing one of two things to speak to all America but still do something that you can be proud of as a luxury brand," Loren Angelo, vice president of marketing for Audi of America, told Forbes.
The ad was actually a repeat from a 2014 ad that has been replayed numerous times with much less controversy.
The ad depicts Budweiser’s German founder Adolphus Busch traveling to the United States with the dream of brewing beer. Along the way, Busch is treated poorly because he doesn’t “look like he’s from around here.” The ultimate message is that “nothing stops your dream.”
Image credit: Flickr/Texas.713
Jo Piazza is an award-winning reporter and editor who has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, New York Magazine, Glamour, Marie Claire, Elle and Salon. She has appeared on CNN, NPR, Fox News, the BBC and MSNBC. Her novel, The Knockoff, with Lucy Sykes became an instant international bestseller and has been translated into more than seven languages.
Jo received a Masters in Journalism from Columbia, a Masters in Religious Studies from NYU and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed If Nuns Ruled the World and Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money.
She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and their giant dog. Her latest book <a href="http://www.howtobemarried.us">How to Be Married</a> will be released in April.