CampaignUS is reporting that brands are veering towards humor and nostalgia for their Super Bowl ads, steering clear of topics that could be polarizing for an audience already exhausted by political discourse. While last year's line-up included several ads that addressed immigration, prognosticators are predicting that brands will avoid this and other topics at the center of the current culture wars.
Brands typically have to walk the fine line between being part of the cultural zeitgeist and not offending any large segment of their consumer base. No where does this tightrope walk become more apparent (and difficult) than with the expensive ads produced for millions of Super Bowl viewers.
The broad demographics of the Game mean that there is likely no one ad that will appeal to everyone. Demographic obstacles are compounded by the sentiment of the day. An ad that may have worked last year may not work this year. For example: in the age of #MeToo and Trump politics, ads of a sexist or political nature will likely end up polarizing many or, at best, just fall flat with audiences. Thus, with its huge audience and huge costs, Super Bowl is not the branding silver bullet many think it is.