VIDEO: Advocacy Ads Rule Super Bowl

Clarence Jones
Clarence Jones, wearing a blue pin from the #StandUpToJewishHate campaign, during the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism's Super Bowl ad. | Image by Foundation to Combat Antisemitism

With a significant part of the audience that tunes in to the Super Bowl interested in what airs in between the downs, some ad slots this year were taken by issue advocates that presumably paid the $7 million necessary to expose their ideas to the traditionally largest television audience of the year.

Super Bowl LVIII social media was set abuzz by an antisemitism awareness campaign, a Kennedy for president spot, and two ads by Christian groups that seemed to be geared to different aspects of ostensibly the same faith.

The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, founded by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, aired a spot featuring Clarence B. Jones, a former speechwriter for the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., urging people to be more vocal in confronting antisemitism.

“Sometimes I imagine what I’d write today for my dear friend Martin,” Jones ponders before answering. “I’d remind people that all hate thrives on one thing: silence. The people who will change the nation are those who speak out, who refuse to be bystanders, who raise their voices against injustice.”

The ad comes at a time when anti-Jewish sentiments are rising in America in response to the conflict happening in Israel and Gaza, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Many on social media praised Kraft for his efforts, including a well-known tech columnist who wrote, “People like him restore my faith in humanity. … Light in the darkness.”

Perhaps the spot that caused the most confusion was put forward by a Political Action Committee in support of long shot presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The ad was made to mimic a 1960 campaign ad by his uncle, the late President John F. Kennedy.

Some observers, like user @Jaylee2076, took offense that RFK Jr. would invoke the memory of his Democrat uncle when many of his own family members are against his presidential ambitions.

Others, like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), were complimentary of the ad:

“Don’t mistake RFK for a Republican. He agrees with conservatives on a few narrow issues, but he’s a progressive. He’d push for an even bigger government than we have now. That said, his Super Bowl ad was a huge W. Emotive. Nostalgic. Positive. Really well played.”

For his part, RFK Jr. posted a message on X apologizing for any “pain” his family may have experienced due to the ad, which he claimed he had no role in making.

“I’m so sorry if the Super Bowl advertisement caused anyone in my family pain. The ad was created and aired by the American Values Super PAC without any involvement or approval from my campaign. FEC rules prohibit Super PACs from consulting with me or my staff. I love you all. God bless you.”

A Christian organization’s outreach ad, “He Gets Us,” featured images of Christians washing the feet of, amongst others, a member of the LGBTQ community, a woman in front of an abortion clinic, and a woman who appears to represent unlawful migrants.

The ad was largely panned by those on the right, who viewed it as a repackaging of leftist ideology in Christian garb.

“There’s a reason the ‘He Gets Us’ commercial didn’t show a liberal washing the feet of someone in a MAGA hat, or a BLM protestor washing an officer’s feet,” Joel Berry, managing editor of The Babylon Bee, posted to X. “That would’ve been actually subversive. Because they were strictly following oppressed v oppressor intersectionality guidelines. This tells me they were either: A) trying to sell Jesus to Leftists by hinting Jesus thinks just like them, or B) cynically using Jesus to sell a political movement.”

Some took issue with the way the advertisement seemingly endorsed the behaviors being portrayed.

“The ‘he gets us’ feet ad about Jesus seems to imply that Jesus was cool with all kinds of sinful behavior. He wasn’t. He didn’t go hangout [sic] with prostitutes or any other sinner because he accepted the choices they made, he did it to inspire them to change. ‘Go and sin no more,’” Robby Starbuck, a producer and director, posted to X.

The He Gets Us ad was not the only ad related to Christianity. Actor Mark Wahlberg did the voice-over for an ad promoting the Catholic prayer app Hallow, which strives to connect an online community of Christians through prayer.

Many traditional Catholics and other Christians registered their approval of the ad for its sincerity and timeliness.

“It was great to see Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, a Catholic, encouraging over 100 million people to pray during the Super Bowl through a commercial ad sponsored by Hallow app, the number one prayer app in the world,” posted journalist Sachin Jose.

However, some criticized Hallow, claiming it should have taken the millions spent on the spot and a celebrity endorsement and used it instead for charity.

“Hallow just spent $10 million dollars [sic] on a commercial with Mark Wahlberg praying when they could have just given that money to poor people lol,” posted user @DJLeMVP.

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