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Looking back: Commercials at the Super Bowl

Natalie Starr | Contributing Writer

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On Jan. 15, 1967, the first ever Super Bowl was played. Over the fifty years that have passed since then, the Super Bowl has transformed into a widely celebrated holiday for most all Americans. While the Super Bowl of 1967 may not be comparable to the extravagances of today’s time, it created a foundation for an even better tradition. As time progresses, the event seems to become more and more spectacular.

According to Reuters, 113.7 million people, slightly over one-third of the United States population, tuned into last Sunday’s Super Bowl. For years now, the Super Bowl has been the most-watched event in American history. Meanwhile, trying to picture the masses of 113.7 million people is completely mind-boggling. From the emotionally charged football game to the classic advertisements and halftime show, Super Bowl Sunday is an American favorite that forms a universal bond across the country. 

Although the football game is why many people watch, others tend to watch the Super Bowl for the commercials. This year, most people were tuned into the Super Bowl for Lady Gaga’s rather extravagant halftime show and, of course, for the commercials. The Patriots made one of the greatest comebacks in American history this year; however, it seemed to be overshadowed by the many commercials.

Years ago, commercials were much cheaper to air. Nowadays, a 30-second commercial costs $5 million, reported The Columbian. The Super Bowl is the one time people truly look forward to commercials because they are always creative and relatable to American society. 

This year’s commercials, especially, seemed to drive away from the typical funny commercials, and took more of a political and social viewpoint to convey their messages. It may be a mere reflection of how political and outspoken we are as a country at this moment, but some commercials seemed to intensify reality.

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

This year, a majority of the commercials from big companies were found to be overtly political. 

Throughout the past several decades, commercials have transformed from memorable, laughable moments to attempts if relating to a majority of society and motivating viewers to buy the advertised product. These commercials seem to have a great impact on American culture. They chase after that “American Dream” mindset and that idea resonates with most people.  

It was rather interesting that big companies were choosing such a vivid political stance, especially on an event viewed by a large percentage of the society. Many companies have stayed uninvolved with controversial topics, but lately more have been sharing their opinions. It is interesting that the company may not even have the viewpoint that they are advertising, but use it because it is what a majority of the population agrees with. 

As society continues to change, so does the media. The media adheres to our beliefs and did especially to a majority of the population’s beliefs on Sunday night, which was supposed to be Super Bowl Sunday.

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The news site of UNC Wilmington
Looking back: Commercials at the Super Bowl