Commercials from the usual suspects featured a new twist this year
This year’s Super Bowl was predestined to establish one of the great progressive narratives of the year 2020. A year that Bud Light dubbed a “lemon” in advertisements for its new lemonade seltzer (the Rover does not endorse this product), 2020 was full of political strife and noise, largely centered around removing a president unfriendly to the elite class which had become accustomed to having their own way. Thus, in a USA Today opinion piece titled “CBS has a responsibility to set a progressive tone with its Super Bowl 55 coverage,” Jarrett Bell wrote, “It’s no wonder that Sean McManus, chairman of CBS Sports, maintained that America ‘needs the Super Bowl’ as he hailed the game’s potential as not only a thrilling competition but also as a ‘unifying moment’ for the nation.” CBS certainly displayed unity with the companies whose ads they played during game stoppages and timeouts—but was it a unifying moment for the country? No. Rather it was an attempt to sell a progressive narrative to America, not in a spirit of bipartisanship but rather in a spirit of “join-or-die.”
M&Ms featured their product as the ultimate apology tool in a series of injustices, often given without repentance but thereby absolving the guilt of the aggressor in the progressive rite of apology. A gentleman on an airplane tells the man sitting in front of him, “I feel bad for kicking your seat on purpose.” A man tells his female colleague, “I’m sorry for mansplaining. That’s when a man—,” to which she replies, “I know what it is.”
Uber Eats featured celebrity cameo Cardi B—famous mostly for her music videos—in a spoof on the comedy Wayne’s World. In it, she sneers at the camera, “Yeah, eat local!” Never mind that Uber Eats hurts local restaurants by charging absurdly high delivery fees (30 percent). States and cities have hastened the demise of local restaurants by preventing or severely restricting in-person dining, and so the only way for restaurants to make any money is through the DoorDash and Uber Eats platforms. Thus, Uber Eats uses Cardi B to destroy local restaurants while pretending to do the opposite.
All these products unconsciously feature a progressive mindset which lacks humor and any sense of subtlety, but Jeep crossed a line with their Bruce Springsteen ad. Springsteen, a progressive demagogue who has famously spoken against Trump, invites Americans to the middle while costumed as a cowboy. As he rides his high horse, he announces, “So we can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert, and we will cross this divide. Our light has always found its way through the darkness, and there’s hope, on the road, up ahead.” The ad closes with a fadeout which layers the words, “To the ReUnited States of America,” over a map of the continental United States.
Amazon has become more and more powerful over the last five years, and they made 2020 a year to remember. For a short time, they refused to allow sponsored ads for Abigail Shrier’s well-reported book on a social epidemic of transgender ideology among young girls. Later, they removed Parler, the libertarian alternative to Twitter, from their web hosting service. Last week, they decided to stop selling Ryan Anderson’s book titled When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement. This year, their Super Bowl ad featured Michael B. Jordan in a risqué performance as Alexa, the voice-command service. The ad depicts a wife who cannot keep her eyes off Alexa, as she asks it for more and more. The end of the ad features the wife in a bathtub with Jordan as he recites some nondescript piece of erotic prose. The ad gives the viewer no new information about Alexa and seems to have been made simply as an excuse to loosen taboos against sexual infidelity and other aberrations. In Amazon and Jeep’s ads, the progressive narrative of Super Bowl 55’s commercial programming is made most clear, and it is a shift that does not bode well for contemporary media and entertainment.
Zef Crnkovich is a junior studying Classics and PLS. He loves watching beautiful, uplifting movies with friends. Please send movie recs and commentary to firstname.lastname@example.org.