The Super Bowl Ads were Dark and insufferable. Here is why it matters:

February 9, 2021

My Dear Reader,

I understand that football conversation is not something we would normally expect from a financial newsletter, but I believe there are a couple of important lessons we can glean from Sunday’s super bowl game.  I’m not talking about the intangibles that were on display, such as leadership, toughness, and resilience, nor will I discuss corporate America’s sudden interest in small business; but I do want to discuss the corporate attitudes that were on display all night long.

To start, I felt that the introduction of Joe Biden before the start of the game was oddly political.  While Joe Biden is obviously a politician, an address from the president does not have to be political in nature. Yet this was not the feeling that I got from the decision by Viacom and CBS to air Biden’s address, I don’t recall ever hearing an address from Donald Trump, and not because he didn’t like sports, he clearly does, but I don’t the leadership at CBS and Viacom would ever want to air him any more than they had too.  Some may argue that this is their right as a private company, but it does create a society in which one side never feels fully represented or respected.

To further drive home this point, many of the advertisements have shifted away from comedy and many companies have taken the approach that their advertisements should “empower” people. Yet instead of contradicting each other, with companies each expressing their own opinions, it feels as though they are all conforming to a certain point of view.  For instance, Logitech’s new marketing campaign was to “defy the logic of the past”  Either they are implying that their past products were inferior and poorly constructed or they are making a larger societal point. I don’t know about you, but cooperation attempting to persuade me to abandon the American Ideals of the past does not make me want to buy a new computer mouse.  Sure, the game was nice and I’m glad that Tom Brady was able to get the win, but what this year’s game showed me was the fact that the divide in this country is a societal one and not one that can be crossed by another Jeep ad.

To Your Creation and Potential,

Kevin Prendiville