Michael Bloomberg's Super Bowl ad spotlights a mother who lost her son to gun violence
Michael Bloomberg's 60-second Super Bowl LIV spot, released this morning, spotlights the heartbreaking story of Calandrian Simpson Kemp, a Houston, Texas mother who lost her son, George Kemp, Jr., to gun violence in 2013 when he was 20 years old.
The ad starts with Simpson Kemp talking about her son's love of football, with photos of him as a smiling kid on the football field going in and out of screen. "He had aspirations about going to the NFL," she says. Then she reveals he was shot on a Friday morning and "didn't survive."
The Big Game spot calls attention to the national gun violence crisis, with a harrowing statistic flashing across the screen: 2,900 children die from gun violence every year. In the spot, Simpson Kemp, an active member of Moms Demand Action, praises Bloomberg's efforts to end the crisis—which include taking on the gun lobby and fighting for common-sense gun safety measures.
The ad, titled "George," was produced by Siegel Strategies, a production and branding shop that has created a host of political ads on gun control and other progressive issues.
“I chose to devote the entire 60-second ad to gun safety because it matters to communities across the country and it will be a top priority for me as president,” Bloomberg said in a statement. "Calandrian’s story is a powerful reminder of the urgency of this issue and the failure of Washington to address it. People will be rooting for different teams in the Super Bowl, but virtually all Americans—including people in both parties and a majority of gun owners—support universal background checks and other common sense gun laws."
The Bloomberg campaign said it will be sharing additional videos featuring survivors of gun violence from 12 states over the coming week. During the first week of February (National Gun Violence Survivors Week), Bloomberg's campaign said the media mogul and former New York City mayor will also begin a bus tour in Florida and travel up the East Coast to draw attention to the issue.
According to the Bloomberg campaign, Kemp, Jr., was attending Universal Technical Institute when he was killed. He played free safety on both his college and high school football teams. In 2017, Corey Coleman was convicted and sentenced to 34 years in prison in connection to his murder, while Brandon Lacour was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 10 years probation.
Simpson Kemp first met Bloomberg at an event in Austin, Texas, in January 2019, according to his campaign.
Bloomberg's spot coincides with The National Football League's own Big Game ad from 72andSunny tackling the politically charged issue of police shootings of black men, which first aired during the conference championship games.
The Bloomberg spot belies earlier reporting that suggested Bloomberg would use the $10 million Super Bowl LIV buy to take aim at President Donald Trump, who is also airing a spot in the Big Game. A November Politico report, citing FCC filings, stated that the ad "mentions running against Trump 3x within creative."
Ad Age previously reported that Fox would be isolating Trump’s and Bloomberg’s Super Bowl spots so other Big Game advertisers won't appear in the same commercial breaks as the politicians.
Ad Age also reported on Wednesday that industry vets like Goodby Silverstein & Partners Co-Chairman-Partner Jeff Goodby, BarrettSF Founder-Executive Creative Director Jamie Barrett and former GroupM North American CEO Tim Castree are independently from their agencies lending expertise to the Bloomberg campaign (though they did not work not this Super Bowl spot). People close to the matter also said creatives are either resigning or taking sabbaticals from agencies like McCann, Edelman and VaynerMedia to work on the overall presidential campaign.