Super Bowl LI had a lot of exciting moments. The Patriots won with a remarkable comeback, Lady Gaga blew everyone out of the water with her halftime performance and a few commercials got politically touchy.
Coca-Cola, Lumber 84, Audi, Budweiser and Airbnb sparked a national debate concerning political messages in ads after their commercials aired during Super Bowl LI. Each company incorporated diversity and immigration in some way into their commercials. Audi took the feminist route, saying that they support equal pay for equal work among genders. While some viewers were agitated that the companies were trying to pass along a political message, others were cheering them on for using their voices to express what they felt was important.
The moment I watched each of these commercials, I was filled with joy. I was joyful because these huge companies were standing up for what they believed was right, and to me that’s so powerful. But I know that not everyone thinks the same way.
I also know that the legality of involving political messages in standard commercials plays a pretty big role in this debate. So I will be discussing my findings regarding the rules and regulations of TV advertisements.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a list of guidelines that each commercial has to meet before the company can send it in to the broadcast network of their choice. After the commercials are made according to this list of guidelines, FCC, Fox and the National Football League team up to review each commercial before choosing what will air.
So when it comes to getting your ad on television, the process isn’t easy, especially during the Super Bowl. If the government begins to put more restrictions on what is allowed, then our freedom of expression will slowly begin to dissipate.
Advertising allows companies to provide a free flow of information to the public, this is called the marketplace of ideas. If companies want to share a political message that legally reflects the beliefs they hold, then I don’t understand the problem.
Not everyone is going to agree on every single political issue, but we can respect one another’s opinions. I think that’s one thing a lot of us here in America take for granted: the value of being able to freely express your opinion. So, all that being said, I believe it is okay for companies to include political messages in their commercials as long as it is done respectfully and peaceably, which the something the companies who used their Super Bowl air time to take political stands excelled at.
This article was written as part of an “opposing viewpoints” series. The article expressing the opposite viewpoint can be found here.