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Super Bowl

Despite Rejected Border Wall Spot, Super Bowl Ads Are Often Political

By Published on .

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Fox may have rejected a Super Bowl ad depicting a giant border wall for being too political, but national and international affairs show up pretty often on game day.

President Obama gave interviews to air before every Super Bowl that he was in office, for one thing, a tradition being assumed by the incoming President Trump. And five days into the Reagan administration, the 1981 Super Bowl pregame show celebrated the end of the Iran hostage crisis, aided by a huge yellow ribbon wrapped around the Louisiana Superdome.

So of course the ads also reflect current events. Chrysler, Wieden & Kennedy and Clint Eastwood in 2012 addressed the U.S. recession with "Halftime in America," an instant if slightly controversial classic (Karl Rove did not care for it):

Budweiser and Monster.com in 2002 paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks with "Respect" and "Thank You, America," respectively. That's the ex-"America's Mayor" speaking for Monster.com.

Marketers also embraced the end of the Cold War in ads from Pepsi (the punk-rock "Glasnost," shot in Moscow) and Sprint ("A New World," about Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution).

Shearson Lehman Hutton in 1988 addressed Black Monday; Coca-Cola in 1991 scratched a Super Bowl contest amid the first Gulf War.

Former politicians are a Super Bowl mini-genre of their own, from Mario Cuomo and Ann Richards for Doritos in 1995 to Bob Dole for Pepsi in 2001.

And now, it turns out, there is a possibly budding genre of Super Bowl ads starring future presidents.

From the files of the Super Bowl Ad Archive. Previously: Stars in the Super Bowl Before They Were Famous.