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Super Bowl

Smokes, Pot and Pills: When Super Bowl Ads Just Say No

By Published on .

The Super Bowl isn't only about selling: Its expensive ad time frequently goes to a crusade against something or another. Most often that "something" has been cigarettes; "or another" was drugs.

The results have sometimes been powerful. In the fight against smoking, for example, American Legacy Foundation's Truth campaign and Arnold Worldwide delivered the guerilla-video "Ratman" to the 2002 game:

Truth also deployed humor and sarcasm to great effect in Super Bowl ads such as "Squadron" and the new classic "Shards O' Glass" from 2004:

An earlier American Legacy Foundation shocker, "Electrolarynx," resembles more closely the harsh tone of anti-drug ads from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Those included "I Helped," 30 seconds of unsparing linkage between "harmless" partying and drug violence:

Other dead-serious ONDCP big-game trips included "AK-47," "Rewind" and the twist-ending "Pregnancy Test":

Among cause advertising in the Super Bowl, however, don't forget "Text Talk," Super Bowl 50's powerful ad about domestic violence from Grey and the group No More:

From the files of the Super Bowl Ad Archive. Originally published January 2017. Previously: Remember When the Super Bowl Had Beer Wars?

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