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Scoot: Super Bowl commercials + controversy

January 28, 2020 - 12:50 pm

Super Bowl commercials never fail to spark controversy – and this year will be no exception.

The scheduled commercials with Planters’ Mr. Peanut dying in a fiery car crash and his funeral have been scrapped in the wake of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and 7 others when Kobe’s private helicopter crashed on Sunday.

Actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh are part of the Planters’ campaign, with the death scheduled for an earlier part of the game with the funeral commercial airing in the 3rd quarter.

I can be very critical of America’s overly sensitive society, and I could argue that Mr. Peanut is a make-believe character that bears zero resemblance – physically or professionally – to the great Kobe Bryant. But I am tempted to agree with Planters’ decision to hold back for now.

One thing that always must be considered with TV commercials – is the emotional response from the viewers. If the death of Kobe Bryant in a fiery helicopter crash is fresh in our minds and a TV commercial aired featuring the death of any character in a fiery crash – the emotion invoked will relate deep sadness to the product, and that is not the bond marketers strive to achieve with the audience.

Another commercial will make history during the Super Bowl, and it will cause controversy. Drag queens will appear in a Super Bowl commercial for the first time!

To promote their line of hummus – Sabra is featuring two drag queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The two drag queens – Kim Chi and Miz Cracker – will break boundaries when they appear in a brief 15-second tease commercial with one enjoying Sabra hummus while the other starts to put on a football helmet hoping it doesn’t give her “helmet hair.”

The commercial with the two drag queens is humorous and I find nothing shocking about it in the context of the society in 2020. But that will not be a view shared by everyone. Keep in mind that the sabra Super Bowl commercial will bring drag queens into the homes of close to 100 million viewers – many of those viewers have a strict opinion of the effect such content can have on the minds of young people watching this great American event.

Truthfully, any concerns about the impact of a commercial with two drag queens in a Super Bowl commercial are based on ignorance rather than reality. In reality, if parents don’t make a big deal about it – most young people will probably see it as silly and will attach no sexual reference to the content.

If there was a teen or preteen that was so inspired by the sight of two drag queens in a commercial to don girls’ clothes – then that would be more a symptom of a predisposed instinct and not inspiration from the commercial.

You can enjoy the Super Bowl and the commercials without the fear that a commercial will make anyone do something they don’t really want to do. A persuasive TV commercials will not make you do something you don’t want to do. If you do not eat red meat – even the most graphic visual of a medium-rare filet sizzling on a plate as butter cascades over the side will not drive you to abort your diet and become an eater of red meat.

Also consider that Saba hummus is targeting an audience that is more likely to support the LGBTQ community. Advertisers don’t really care about those who complain because the complaints tend to come from people who are not in the company’s target audience.

So – for the record – the Sabra TV commercial will not turn your kids into drag queens!

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