Super Bowl LI’s Advertising: An iHeart MKE Review

Lady Gaga’s half-time show appearance at  Super Bowl LI broadcast wasn’t the only politically electric performance that aired Sunday evening; this was also mirrored by the unprecedented campaign strategies put forth by every major brand who shared advertising space. The key to driving buzz, the key to relevancy, the key to creating long-lasting conversation, the key to gathering the most audience participation through user-generated content, was providing viewing experiences that allowed audience members to feel a sense of “Americanism,” according to the Los Angeles Times.  As our friends over at Jacobs Media put it,

“This may signify that the accepted norms of content and marketing may be changing.”

For the first time in history, the world’s key brand players in every industrial sector imaginable provided 111.3 million viewers with a sense of patriotism via the most revolutionary approaches possible. Here are a few of our favorites:

 Johnny Cash’s, That Ragged Old Flag rendition was brought back to life in full force. The FOX6 Sport’s pregame short-film captivated viewers through its uplifting patriotic inspirational memorandum of three historically major wars.  In a year full of high emotion, it accomplished its objective by restoring feelings of American spirit and pride, and strategically primed its viewers to feel unified prior to the star of their Super Bowl spectatorship.  Get an exclusive peek into behind-the-scenes footage of the short film’s production here.

Ford. “Ford Go Further.” The brand exhibited an experience offering that reflected the ambiguous nature of the current political chatter that is also recognized in inexact future of the impact technologies innovation and expansion will have on the automotive industry at large.  Ford has perceptively positioned itself at the hands of technology; its product and customer service offerings will grow with these changes. This was showcased through the assortment of 2017 amenities: traditional cars, electric cars, self-drive cars, shuttle services, bike sharing, and ride sharing. See it here  for yourself.  More generally, Ford is allowing its customers to, “Move through life,” in any way that supports their lifestyle’s needs.

Audi. “Daughter.” What do we tell our daughters?  The question that most parents were asking themselves post-election. The question that has most recently ignited the largest group of protesters in history to march for civil rights here in the U.S. and around the world two weeks ago. The ad used exceptionally compelling story-telling, with the concluding tagline, “Progress is for everyone.” The ad’s highly awaited unveiling struck a therapeutic chord within audience members in its forward messaging; that which, embraced social value and touched on feminism through its gender pay equality references. Watch it here.

84 Lumber. The brand broke the internet yesterday evening when part one of a two-part 6:00 minute ad series premiered. According to USA Today, Lumber’s site crashed when it provided viewers the directive to navigate to the brand’s homepage to find out what happens to a mother and daughter in their immigration journey. The brand remained entirely anonymous throughout the first part of the politically dense narrative. While the brand maintained little visibility in its introductory moments, the messaging was crystal clear when the ad cut to an image of the mother and the daughter entering through large wooden doors attached to a wall built at the American-Mexican border with the concluding statement “The will to succeed is always welcome here,” printed in the foreground of the shot. 84 Lumber has disrupted the advertising ecosystem. Watch it here

It’s A 10 Haircare. “Four More Years.” Comedy has always been a Super Bowl staple, and what better way to insert humorous undertones into an emotionally heavy ad lineup than to request American viewers (with hair) to participate with the movement in a new way, “do your part” to make the next four years of Trump’s presidency great “hair” years. The ad’s lighthearted undertones were both refreshing and comedic.  Watch it here.

To conclude, the 2017 Super Bowl commercial line-up was comprised of content that was believed to be relevant based on whether or not their stories could channel Americanism or embrace controversial dogmatic topics. Topics that motivate our everyday conversations through social feeds, emails, podcasts, radio talk shows, or face-to-face discussions.

What were your favorite Super Bowl LI moments? Share with us on our LinkedIn page!

This blog was written by Digital Development Coordinator, Lauren Keepers.


Benner, Katie. “In Airbnb’s Super Bowl Ad, Implied Criticism of Trump’s Travel Ban.” The New York Times. IBM, 5 Feb. 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017. <;.

Jacobs, Fred. “CES – A Radio Guy’s Perspective.” Jacobs Media Strategies. Jacobs Media Strategies, 9 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Jan. 2017. <;.

Jacobs, Fred. “The Politics of Super Bowl Ads.” Catching Up Over Coffee. Jacobs Media Strategies, 5 Feb. 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017. <;.

James, Meg. “Super Bowl 2017 Ads Navigate Fraught Political Landscape.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 2 Feb. 2017. Web. 6 Feb. 2017. <;.

Pallotta, Frank. “More than 111 Million People Watched Super Bowl LI.” CNN Media., 6 Feb. 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017. <;.

Rossman, Sean. “84 Lumber Website Crashes After Commercial About Immigration.” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 05 Feb. 2017. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <;.

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