Big-name companies are reportedly skipping the Super Bowl this year over fears of striking the "wrong tone" in advertisements during an era where the "wrong tone" can set off a wave of backlash. The fear is more pronounced than ever given the long pandemic, high unemployment, and heightened political tensions.
Several brands who regularly run ads during the big game have decided to sit out Super Bowl LV given the current environment.
"For the Super Bowl, you generally go big or go home. I think brands are going home rather than spending tens of millions of dollars and not getting it right. They’re saying, 'let’s wait until this s–storm clears,'" Bill Oberlander, co-founder and executive creative of ad agency Oberlander, told the Post.
Coca-Cola, who has advertised in every Super Bowl since 2006, with the exception of advertising only in the pre-game show in 2019, said the company would be taking a break this year.
"This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times," the company said while explaining its decision.
The report also notes companies that do stick around are expected to tread lightly given the current environment.
"Every client conversation I’ve had these days is about who is going to be offended by this ad," said Rob Schwartz, chief executive officer of ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day. "There’s a lot of discussion about risk mitigation. What that tends to do is that it makes things very bland and not effective or it forces you to look at universal topics like hope or humor."
Ford, Hyundai, Olay, Avocados From Mexico, and Little Caesars have all decided to sit out the game this year.
Sports should offer tired Americans a refuge from the issues that divided us, but the NFL and other sports leagues have partnered with woke activists who push a left-wing agenda at a time when many Americans just want to watch a sports game.
The Super Bowl is known for its commercials. Hopefully, outrage culture doesn't ruin that too.