The Conclusion to This Super Bowl Ad Was Deemed Too Controversial for TV

From Budweiser to Avocados From Mexico to 84 Lumber -- the ads from this year's Super Bowl got pretty political.
The Conclusion to This Super Bowl Ad Was Deemed Too Controversial for TV
Image credit: 84 Lumber | Youtube
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The Super Bowl is not just about football. In fact, most people get more excited about the commercials. Whether good, bad or controversial, even after the game, people are still talking about these memorable ads.

For all those who missed it, you've come to the right place. From Joe Flacco the “party pooper” to DJ Khaled the “personal trainer,” these celebrity-infused ads are hilarious, witty and top-notch. For many companies, Super Bowl ads are an opportunity to change how their brands are perceived -- in fact, nearly 40 percent of people say that these ads have the power to do that, according to data by ad network MGID.

Related: What Super Bowl Ads Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Marketing

Many of the commercials released during the big game on Sunday were politically driven. Budweiser’s ad, “Born the Hard Way,” about its co-founder's journey from Germany to America, was the most tweeted-about ad with more than 95,00 mentions. The tweets weren’t all pleasant, though. According to social intel company Talkwalker, more than 8,000 of those tweets used the hashtag “#BoycottBudweiser.”

Of the 10 most tweeted about ads, five of them were considered “political.” 84 Lumber’s ad, which took on on President Donald Trump’s order to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, generated more than 3 million views on YouTube and caused its website to crash.

Take a look at some of the most talked about Super Bowl 51 ads.

1. 84 Lumber

With its political “The Journey” commercial, 84 Lumber made a ruckus at the Super Bowl.

In the ad, a mother and daughter say goodbye to their family in Mexico and make their way to the U.S. in search of freedom and a better life. As they trek towards the Mexico-U.S. border, a group of construction workers are building a wall -- ordered by President Trump -- to prevent anyone from coming into the country. The mother and child eventually reach the border, see the newly constructed wall and their hopes to make it to America are crushed ... until they see a massive wooden door in the middle of the wall -- a gateway to freedom. With hope, they push the door open and joyously enter the U.S.

The ad ends with the line, “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”

Apparently, before airing, Fox deemed the commercial too controversial, so the company made a few changes and cut the ending. In the ad that aired during the Super Bowl, the ending is never revealed and instead the company told viewers to go to its website to watch the rest. People were so intrigued by the ad that they did in fact head over to 84 Lumber’s site -- enough so that it wound up crashing.

The company is being both praised and scorned for its controversial ad, with people claiming the company is “pro-immigration.”

2. Airbnb

Airbnb’s Super Bowl 51 commercial had a beautiful message for America: acceptance. The ad is simple yet impactful, with a string of different faces of people from different nationalities, religions and walks of life. The ad makes the statement, “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong.”

Its subtle political stance against President Trump’s immigration ban is elegantly portrayed, and the ad ends with some strong words: “The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

3. Ford

From rush hour traffic to forgetting your house keys, the daily simple struggles we all face are the basis of Ford’s Super Bowl 51 commercial. In its ad, Ford presents a solution. During the commercial, as a skier gets stopped on a chair lift, a young girl’s kite gets caught in a tree and a surfer struggles to take off his wetsuit, Ford explains how “no one likes being stuck.” Ford then claims it's creating new ways for people to get through life faster as it shows a new app, self-driving car and more.

4. Bai

No wonder drink company Bai’s Super Bowl commercial was a hit -- it featured Justin Timberlake and Christopher Walken.

In the beginning, Walken -- sitting in an oak library in front of a fireplace -- dramatically speaks a few lines from the boy band N-Sync’s hit song “Bye, Bye, Bye.” He then looks over to Timberlake, a former N-Sync member, who’s seated next to him. The ad ends with the chorus of the song, which is pronounced the same as the company’s name -- “Bai, bai, bai.”

5. Avocados From Mexico

In Avocados from Mexico’s ad called “Secret Society,” a group of people meet in a top-secret room to discuss how someone has been spilling their confidential info to the public. With a cameo from Jon Lovitz, a comedian and contestant on the Celebrity Apprentice, the ad pokes fun at today’s political climate. The ad is about how we live in a society that can’t keep secrets -- so the secret that avocados are actually “healthy fat” is out.

By the end of the commercial, the group snacks on avocados (i.e. guacamole), which may face a high import tariff if President Trump gets his way.

6. T-Mobile

T-Mobile went all out with its Super Bowl commercials this year -- hiring celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart and spending tens of millions on multiple spots throughout the game.

Its first ad, called “#UnlimitedMoves,” stars Bieber as a “Celebration Expert.” He explains the different ways people have celebrated throughout history -- the first being the high five, which is demonstrated by star athlete Rob Gronkowski as a caveman. Bieber goes on to explain the “unlimited” ways people have celebrated in the past, then referencing to T-Mobile’s unlimited data plans.

The second ad features Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg called “#BagOfUnlimited.” In the ad, through a string of clever weed puns, the two converse about T-Mobile's unlimited data plan.

In its last ad, “#Punished,” actress Kristen Schaal stars in a 50 Shades of Grey-like commercial. The ad shows a Christian Grey-inspired character showing Schaal new Verizon phones and explaining how “Every time you go over your data limit you get punished.” That’s where T-Mobile’s unlimited plan comes into play. The company released a second BDSM-inspired ad starring Schaal during the game called “#NSFWireless.” In the commercial, Schaal is seen calling Verizon Customer Service, where she is asks a sales rep if she will be punished for going over her data.

Verizon didn’t take T-Mobile’s words lightly -- after the Super Bowl, the companies have tweeted back and forth about the ads.

7. Audi 

Audi’s Super Bowl ad features a young girl blazing to a first-place finish in a go-cart race while her father, standing on the sidelines, wonders how he can explain to his daughter why it is that men are paid more than women. The end of the minute-long commercial ends with a message: “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. Progress is for everyone.”

While the car company clearly wants to take a stance on and do something to ameliorate the gender pay gap, the commercial has garnered criticism on social media, with some saying that Audi’s hiring practices don’t reflect the message of the likely well-intentioned ad.

The company’s six-person Board of Management is made up of entirely men, and of the 14 members of Audi USA’s executive team, only two are women. However, the company responded to comments to that effect on its Facebook page, writing, “Audi has diverse hiring practices to ensure equality across our staff and we pledge to put aggressive hiring and development strategies in place to increase the number of women in our workforce, at all levels.”

8. Budweiser

Although it claims it’s not making a political statement, Budweiser sure did drop this commercial at the right time. In the midst of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and the controversy it has caused, Budweiser has released its Super Bowl 51 ad, which tells the story of company co-founder Adolphus Busch’s 1857 journey from Germany to the United States.

The campaign, called “Born the Hard Way,” takes place on the Mississippi River, where Busch (played by Sam Schweikert) jumps off and makes his way to the shore of St. Louis. The ad shows his difficult journey to the land of freedom, and the commercial ends with Busch having a beer with his “new friend” and co-founder, Eberhard Anheuser.

The immigrant story was inspired by stills from The Revenant and Peaky Blinders to create a “gritty, compelling short film,” AdWeek reports.

9. Tide

Tide’s Super Bowl 51 commercial is bound to be a hit -- considering it stars football hunk Rob Gronkowski, also known as “Gronk.” The ad takes Gronk out of his natural habitat -- he’s not playing football or partying, but running a dry cleaning shop.

When a customer, played by Jeffrey Tambor, comes in to pick up a shirt, he finds Gronk’s cleaned it in a way he didn’t quite expect.

10. Tostitos

Tostitos is taking a stand this football season. Instead of gearing towards a fluffy, funny ad, it’s taking a more serious approach. The ad starts out with pro football player Delanie Walker sharing a tragic story of his aunt and uncle being killed by a drunk driver. The ad debuts Tostitos new “party safe” bag, which can detect if someone has been drinking. If the bag senses even a drop of alcohol, a red steering wheel will appear, reminding the person not to drive and giving them a $10 Uber code.

11. Wendy's

As Wendy’s constantly reminds us: its beef is never frozen. Just because it’s the Super Bowl doesn’t mean the company’s not going to bring this up.

To Foreigner’s “Cold As Ice,” the commercial features a man working in a meat freezer, using a hair dryer and attempting to defrost the pounds and pounds of patties located throughout the fridge. Without much success, the ad ends with the line, “Don’t settle for frozen beef.”

12. Snickers

Snickers is changing it up this year with the country’s first ever live Super Bowl ad. The 30-second clip will kick off the third quarter and star Adam Driver. The ad will come after a 36-hour livestream from the commercial set, hosted on SnickersLive.com, which will run from Thursday, Feb. 2, until midnight on Friday, Feb 3. Snickers will continue to stream other live content before, during and after the big game.

The commercial will be a "fully integrated 360 campaign to reinforce the brand's connection to hunger satisfaction before, during and after Super Bowl LI," the company told AdWeek.

13. Pepsi

Every Super Bowl party has a party pooper. In Pepsi's new ad, professional football player and “former party pooper” Joe Flacco address a very serious issue: party pooping. But for all you party poopers turning down the music or using a selfie stick -- there’s hope … thanks to Tostito’s and Pepsi. “Go from ‘not him again’ to top of the guest list,” with these tasty products, Flacco says.

Flacco gets emotional as he recalls his party pooping past, but he offers a solution to all those out there with the similar issue.

14. Skittles

In a cliche story about “young love,” Skittles takes on Super Bowl 51. To get “Katie’s” attention, a teenage boy throws Skittles at her bedroom window in the middle of the night. Katie, her parents, her grandmother, a robber and even a cop take turns catching the Skittles in their mouths. Sounds odd -- but Skittles gets some brownie points for cleverness.

15. TurboTax

Who knew a tax commercial could be so entertaining? TurboTax’s Super Bowl ads feature a number of celebrities such as Kathy Bates, DJ Khaled and David Ortiz. In one ad, Kathy Bates has just moved into a new home, which appears to be haunted by creepy children. She contacts TurboTax through its app to ask if she can claim them as dependents. In the next ad, baseball star and “tennis coach” David Ortiz appears to be hitting tennis balls -- but his swing is so hard the balls end up cracking windows, disrupting weddings and even breaking his tennis rackets. He consults the TurboTax app to see if these “business” expenses are covered. In the third sequence of ads, DJ Khaled has launched a personal training program in his crazy-fancy mansion where a group of people run on a golden treadmill. He too consults the app to see if these luxurious amenities he calls “business expenses” are tax-deductible.

Related: You Can Do Super Bowl Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

16. Lexus

As a sleek car company, Lexus stays true to its reputation with its Super Bowl 51 commercial titled “Man and Machine.” The ad, which isn’t too wow-worthy, features dancer Lil Buck showing off his moves around a 2017 Lexus LC model to Sia’s song “Move Your Body.” After a minute of dancing, a woman’s voice -- which happens to be Minnie Driver's -- introduces the new model.

17. Wix

Wix is participating in its third Super Bowl this year, revealing an action-packed ad that takes place in a restaurant called Chez Felix. While a man (played by Jason Statham) and a woman (played by Gal Gadot) seem to be causing havoc in the restaurant, the owner, Felix, is completely oblivious because he’s too focused on putting together his Wix website.

18. Intel

Watch football stud Tom Brady brush his teeth and flip pancakes in Intel’s Super Bowl 51 commercial. These simple actions look epic -- in part because of Intel's new 360 feature … but mainly because of Tom Brady.

Related: The Best and Worst Ads of Super Bowl 50

Can’t get enough? Don’t worry -- the commercial has a replay.

19. Squarespace

Squarespace is making its fourth Super Bowl appearance this year. In its new spot, actor John Malkovich attempts to create his personal website at JohnMalkovich.com only to find that the URL is already taken. Angered, the actor types an email to this other John Malkovich.

20. Tiffany & Co. 

From an acting debut in American Horror Story to belting out “The Hills Are Alive” onstage at the Grammy’s -- Lady Gaga’s repertoire is impressive. Soon, you’ll see her on stage during Super Bowl 51's halftime show.

And that’s not the only time you’ll see her during the big game. Lady Gaga is the star of luxury jewelry brand Tiffany's Super Bowl commercial.

The ad features Gaga promoting Tiffany's new HardWear collection in a black-and-white format. This new Super Bowl ad will mark the first time in 20 years that Tiffany’s is partaking in the big game.

But hey, did you know? The company has been responsible for creating the Super Bowl trophy since 1967.

21. Sprint

Expensive phone bills are enough to drive anyone off the edge -- literally. In Sprint’s new Super Bowl ad, a man is seen faking his own death to get out of his Verizon contract. In the end, this wasn’t quite the best option. Sprint spokesperson (and former Verizon spokesperson) Paul Marcarelli appears and tells him how he could have avoided this if only he’d used Sprint’s services.

22. Buick

Buick’s new Super Bowl ad features football star Cam Newton and Australian model Miranda Kerr. In the video, a group of parents are watching their kids play a pee-wee football game when a fancy new Buick pulls up to the field.

In awe of its beauty, one of the fans in the crowd doesn’t believe it’s really a Buick -- saying that if that’s a Buick, his kid is Cam Newton. Next thing you know … well, you'll see in the ad yourself.

23. Nintendo

Nintendo is using the Super Bowl in a big push to promote its new Switch console, which will be available on March 3 for $299. This is the first time Nintendo has ever participated in the big game, and the company does an excellent job portraying the complexities of the new product.

In the video, people play on the Switch console in a number of different scenarios -- dueling at a party, a father and son boxing in their living room and students taking a break between classes to play Splatoon tournaments.

24. GoDaddy

Not only is GoDaddy’s “Good Morning” ad fun to watch, but it’s also a scavenger hunt with memorable memes scattered throughout. In the ad, GoDaddy introduces the world to The Internet, a character who represents all the fun and humor that the internet has to offer. The meme-laden commercial also promotes GoDaddy’s new GoCentral product and is the first time in two years that the company has participated in the Super Bowl.

25. KFC

In KFC’s first ever Super Bowl commercial, actor Billy Zane takes the spotlight -- decked out in head-to-toe gold body paint. The ad features two colonels -- Zane as one and Rob Riggle as the other. Riggle plays KFC’s typical white-haired Colonel, and Zane is the gold Colonel -- promoting KFC’s new Georgia Gold Chicken. 

Edition: March 2017

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